Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan

Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan

Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Law, 1979, Hon LLD 2011) is a Malaysian barrister.

Her proudest professional moment was her election as President of the Malaysian Bar in 2007. Six months later she organised a peaceful Walk for Justice, calling for judicial reform.

She believes passionately in the rule of law, fair elections, equality, religious tolerance and human rights. As Co-Chairperson of the organisation Bersih 2.0 – the Coalition for Clean and Fair elections, Ambiga organised a rally of thousands of people in Kuala Lumpur. This led to her arrest and that of many other supporters.

“In seeking to inspire change, one must always endeavour to articulate one’s cause with courage and based on a solid foundation of truth and justice,” she said.

Ambiga’s passionate belief in standing up for principles can be traced back to her childhood.

“My parents have been my inspiration as they lived a life that was true to their values of integrity, courage and compassion,” she said. “I am also inspired by the lives of Gandhi and his peaceful resistance campaign, by Mandela and his statesmanship and by Mother Teresa and her compassion. Theirs was always a message of peace.”

Ambiga received a US International Women of Courage award in March 2009, from the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

“Inspiring change” is such an apt theme for International Women’s Day. It is a theme that underscores the inherent strengths that women possess to inspire change whether in the family unit or in society,” she said.

“I have had the honour of working with many women who have led change in Malaysia. I am myself grateful to have been a part of a movement that has raised the awareness of the people of Malaysia of the importance of free and fair elections.”

Asked what she enjoys most in life Ambiga replied: “What brings me joy is knowing that there are so many things that bring me joy.”