Australia US Alliance Conference in Canberra Australia-US: The Alliance in an Emerging Asia" ended last night with dinner in the Australian War Memorial (AWM). This was a slightly surreal experience, with a lone piper high up on the the AWM welcoming the delegates. Tables were set up underneath Lancaster Bomber "G" for George. My seat looked out on the bomb load, which was a little disconcerting (presumably these are inert). The harpist was next to a field gun. We all stood for the arrival of the Governor General and for the singing of the Australian and US national anthems by an opera singer.
The most useful part of the conference was a discussion at dinner with one of the students of the United State Studies Centre, who is on their way to study international relations in China. I suggest the organiser should reformat the next conference to allow for delegates to hear from researchers and students. This years conference had all the time devoted to politicians, senior academics and lobbyists. I suggest limiting speaking time for such "leaders" to one third of the event and devote a third to hearing about actual research and a third to hearing about educational initiatives and from the students.