Vaxxas recognised in inaugural Embassy of Australia Awards Gala

January 23, 2024

Embassy of Australia, Washington Media Release

Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, the Hon Dr Kevin Rudd AC, has recognised five outstanding Australians for their innovations and achievements at the inaugural Embassy of Australia Awards.

The gala event, hosted in the new Australian Embassy at Scott Circle, shone a light on Australian excellence in areas of bilateral importance, including Science, Technology, Cyber Security, Sports and Culture. Each of the awardees is a leader in their field, and a proud representative for Australia on the international stage.


Dr. Abigail Allwood is an Australian geologist and astrobiologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory who studies stromatolites, detection of life on other planets, and evolution of life on early Earth.

Mr. David L. Hoey is the President and CEO of Vaxxas, a company that is developing a needle-free vaccine technology.

Dr. Rebecca Johnson is the Associate Director for Science and Chief Scientist at the National Museum of Natural History, responsible for overall leadership and administration of the museum’s research and collections activities.

Mr. Mohan (“Mo”) Koo is widely recognised as a thought leader in cybersecurity, with a specific passion for bridging the gap between security and privacy.

Mr. Patty Mills is a professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks in the US NBA, and an advocate for Australian Indigenous youth and culture.

Ambassador Rudd said the five awardees were all showcasing the best of Australia in the United States. “Each of these outstanding Australians reaffirms that Australia is a world leader when it comes to talent, innovation and ambition. Working in one of the most competitive environments in the world, they’ve made it to their top of their respective fields, and make all of Australia proud.”

The gala event brought a taste of Australia to Washington DC, with Channel 10 Australia presenter Narelda Jacobs as Emcee, musical performances by Australian/American singing duo Boyd Meets Girl and Australian soprano Amy Manford, and a menu that included Australian fine wines and meat.

The Embassy of Australia Awards Gala is part of a Season of Opening Events, which celebrates the opening of the new, state-of-the-art Embassy in Washington DC. Built on the site of the original Embassy, which had hosted Australia’s diplomatic presence in Washington since 1969, the building is designed to achieve the highest global environmental credentials, and to provide a home for visitors to experience Australian arts, culture and hospitality.

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