The Sydney Institute’s Annual Dinner has become the leading intellectual event of its kind in Australia. Beginning in 1990, a year after the Institute was formally opened by NSW Premier Nick Greiner and then NSW Opposition leader Bob Carr. The Dinner celebrated its 25th year in 2014.

The Annual Dinner is an occasion for a prominent personality to present a serious lecture to an audience of some 900 paying guests – after they have enjoyed dinner and over an hour of networking.

The Annual Dinner’s presentation is the highlight of the evening. Guests look forward to the hush and silence of a packed room of colleagues and business professionals taking in the thoughts and experience of a figure of stature and international recognition.

In the recent past, writers and intellectuals Amanda Foreman, Melvyn Bragg, Simon Schama, Kate Jennings, Clive James, William Shawcross and Tom Friedman have given the Annual Dinner address, as well as Australian prime ministers Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Across the years, Sydney Institute Annual Dinner guests have also heard from prominent Australians such as Julie Bishop, Shirley Hazzard, George Miller, David Malouf, Peter Doherty, Andy Thomas, Helen Garner, Simone Young, Richard Tognetti, Jill Ker Conway and Peter Cosgrove.

In 2016, the Annual Dinner lecture was given by  UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid.