The below UQ guidelines apply to ALL UQ staff and students as stipulated in the UQ Policy and Procedures Library for events involving dignitaries.

The University protocol was developed to ensure all invitations to dignitaries and VIPs are:

  • Considered strategically in the context of the University event/activity,
  • Monitored to ensure dignitaries are not being overwhelmed by multiple invitations from different areas of the University,
  • Managed through a single point of contact (the Protocol team in OMC), and
  • Approved in advance by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

Inviting dignitaries

Invitations to dignitaries should be discussed with the relevant Executive Dean, Director or equivalent within the work area. This is to ensure the University is inviting the most appropriate person to attend the particular event, based on their role, background and links with the activity and/or work area.

Protocol and expectations:

  • If an area of the University invites a dignitary to an event, the dignitary must be offered a role in the official proceedings, and an opportunity to address guests. This should be stated in the letter of invitation.
  • If the dignitary accepts their invitation, the Chancellor and/or the Vice-Chancellor and President or his representative will also need a role in the official proceedings as the host.
  • For building openings or events where government funding has been provided, the relevant dignitary should be provided the opportunity to open the building or make the official announcement. In these instances all UQ staff are required to forward a copy of the funding agreement to Protocol, to ensure that ministerial expectations can be noted and that event requirements of the contract are met.

Letters of Invitation

A dignitary, as listed in the Know when to involve Protocol page, must receive a letter of invitation from the Vice-Chancellor and President inviting them to attend and/or participate in an event/visit on campus. Dignitaries are not to be sent electronic invitations, or letters of invitation signed by someone else from the University. Alternative means of extending informal or formal invitations must not be made directly to the dignitary or their office. In addition, any invitation (letter or electronic) which references the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor and President, must be approved by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor before being distributed.

Process and responsibilities

Lead times

1. The hosting UQ area provides Protocol with a draft letter of invitation for the dignitary.

A minimum of six weeks prior to the event date is required for all letters of invitation to dignitaries.

Late requests for invitations are approved at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor and President.

2. Protocol submit the finalised letter of invitation to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for consideration and signing. When sending draft letters of invitation to Protocol, please allow 2-3 days for Protocol process your request.
3. The Office of the Vice-Chancellor sends the letter to the dignitary.

Please be aware it may take up to two weeks for your invitation to be considered and sent from the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

4. Protocol receives a response from the dignitaries' office and advises the hosting UQ area;

OR Protocol ensures the letter has been received and advises you of the status of your invitation.

Depending on the dignitary, it may take several weeks for their office to process and reply to the invitation.

Communication and correspondence with the dignitary

For consistency and to ensure a coordinated approach to the University’s interactions, Protocol will be the sole point of contact with the dignitary and their office. All arrangements will be coordinated by Protocol in conjunction with the hosting area.

Event budget

The costs associated with an event/function must be covered by the host area, unless otherwise agreed by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor or other area as applicable. Protocol does not assist with providing financial support to the host area.


The Office of Marketing and Communications (OMC) can help ensure coordinated communication to the media. The OMC Communications team is the sole point of media-related liaison (including inviting media) with the offices of Ministers and other dignitaries. If you have been approached directly, please contact OMC Communications at prior to agreeing to the request.

OMC will issue all University press releases in connection with the activity, as per the University’s Media Policy.


UQ Security should be advised of all events held on campus. Events involving dignitaries will require extra levels of security.

Commemorative Plaques

At UQ, plaques are generally reserved for Official Opening events and must be organised through Protocol. There is a set design template that must be used and wording must be approved by the Vice-Chancellor (via Protocol).

Associated costs are the responsibility of event owner/ host area.

Internal plaques (aluminum) are:

  • used to unveil at an official opening event (requires a plaque stand to be hired)
  • made of aluminum and are not weather-proof
  • take a minimum of three weeks to manufacture
  • must not be fixed to the external walls of buildings
  • can be mounted on the internal walls of the building/facility/institute after the opening event (in the absence of an external plaque)

External plaques (bronze) are:

  • mounted on the external walls of the building/facility/institute
  • made of bronze and are weather-proof
  • take a minimum of six weeks to manufacture
  • complemented by the unveiling of an internal plaque at the opening event