Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Not Draining the Swamps of the Middle East

Greetings from the Australia 360 Conference at the Australian National University in Canberra. Professor Gareth Evans, ANU Chancellor, said in his opening address that no nation should think they can "drain the swamps of the Middle East". I assume that this was intended as a metaphor to say that there were no easy solutions to unrest in the Middle East. Of course  previous Iraq government did literally drain the Mesopotamian Marshes to drive the population out of the area. Professor Evans also criticized the current government for cutting the aid budget to Africa and thereby reducing Australia's influence in that region and reducing support for Australian initiatives in international forums.

The delegates are tweeting from the conference with hashtag #ANUAustralia360

Program for the Conference

08:30- 09:00     Opening remarks - Prof the Hon Gareth Evans ac qc , ANU Chancellor

09:00- 10:30     Panel One: Contexts
Moderator Michael Wesley
The Political Context – Laura Tingle, Political Editor, Australian Financial Review
The Security Context – Rory Medcalf, Head, National Security College, ANU
The Economic Context – Warwick McKibbin, Professor, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

10:30-11:00     Morning tea  

11:00-12:30     Panel Two: Regions and Relationships
Moderator Hugh White
PNG and the Pacific – James Batley, Distinguished Policy Fellow, State, Society & Governance in Melanesia Program (SSGM), ANU          
Southeast Asia – Greg Fealy, Head, Department of Political and Social Change (PSC), ANU
Northeast Asia – David Envall, Research Fellow, Department of International Relations (IR), ANU
South Asia – David Brewster, Visiting Fellow, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), ANU       The United States – William Tow, Head, IR, ANU

12:30-13:30    Lunch  

13:30-15:00     Panel Three: Policy
Moderator Jacinta O’Hagan
Diplomacy and Institutions – William Maley, Professor of Diplomacy, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy (APCD), ANUDefence and Security – Andrew Carr, Research Fellow, SDSC, ANU
Environment and Development – Meg Keen, Senior Policy Fellow, SSGM, ANU
Trade and Finance – Brendan Berne, First Assistant Secretary, Trade, Investment and Economic Diplomacy Division, DFAT
Law, Values and Humanitarian Concerns – Luke Glanville, Fellow, IR, ANU

15:00-15:15     Afternoon tea

15:15-16:45 Panel Four: Australia’s Prospects
Moderator Kieran Gilbert      
Michael Wesley, Director, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU
Hugh White, Professor of Strategic Studies, SDSC, ANU
Jacinta O’Hagan, Director of Studies, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU

16:45-17:30     Drinks and networking

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