Hugh Mackay AO

Ambassador-photo_Hugh-Mackay-webHugh Mackay AO is one of Australia’s best known social researchers and the author of sixteen books – ten in the fields of social psychology and ethics, and six novels. Hugh’s most recent book, ‘The Art of Belonging’, explores the reasons why some communities thrive and others break down, and explains how community engagement enriches us all.

In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, Hugh was elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW and Western Sydney universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015. He is a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre, and was the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board.

Hugh’s message for Neighbour Day is:

“We all want to lead a good life, at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust, and within an environment of mutual respect. Neighbour Day gives us an opportunity to reach out, to connect and to become more engaged with our local community.

Being by nature ‘social creatures’, we need to feel that we belong to strong communities, but those communities also need us. Neighbourhoods, communities – even entire societies – can lose their ‘soul’ unless community-minded people are prepared to become involved in the life of the local community. It’s up to each one of us to take responsibility for the places where we live by engaging, volunteering, joining up and joining in.

Neighbours don’t have to be best friends – but the role of neighbour is a distinct and precious one. Knowing the people around us increases our sense of emotional security and physical safety, and our local neighbourhood networks help to define and sustain us – in both the good times and the more challenging moments of our lives.

This Neighbour Day, I encourage you to get up, get out, have a chat, organise a neighbourhood catch-up, attend a community event or reach out to someone nearby that needs a hand. You’ll feel better for it and you’ll be helping to nurture and support a community – and that benefits all of us. After all, ‘the state of the nation’ starts in the street where you live.”

Hugh Mackay, AO
Neighbour Day Ambassador