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Australia’s Best Independent Think Tank Moves North

Published 29 Mar 2022

The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), the nation’s longest running institute on foreign policy and most highly rated independent think tank, has established a branch in Darwin. Previously the AIIA’s events in the Northern Territory were run by the institute’s national office in Canberra with the assistance of local volunteers.

AIIA Northern Territory President Abi Rajkumar is “excited” about the foundation of the new branch. “It’s great to be welcomed into the AIIA family, and we are planning a schedule of events and activities that speak to Territorians’ sense of where Australia sits in the world.”

“The territory is a diverse, exciting, and international environment, and we look forward to welcoming anyone with an interest in international affairs as a member of our branch.”

According to AIIA National Executive Director Dr Bryce Wakefield, the establishment of a branch in Darwin is a “significant step.”

“Situated at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, Darwin is in many ways Australia’s gateway to international markets,” says Wakefield. “The Northern Territory also plays a crucial role in the nation’s defence. We’re really looking forward to our team in Darwin leading the public conversation on international affairs in the territory.”

The move has been welcomed by local political leadership. Luke Gosling, MP for Solomon, says that he “commends AIIA for opening this new branch, which is an acknowledgement of Darwin’s linchpin location in our Indo-Pacific region.” According to Gosling, “Darwin’s multicultural population will really benefit the important research and advocacy of the AIIA.”

Wakefield says the move to establish a branch in the territory also “holds special significance for the institute” and is the “culmination of a long-term plan” to extend the institute’s activities nationwide. “Engagement with the Australian public is at the core of this institute’s mission, and we now have active independent branches in every Australian state and territory capital city.”

The website of the AIIA notes that the institute provides “platforms and opportunities for Australians from all walks of life to learn, discuss, and become involved in international affairs.” The institute was the most highly ranked Australian think tank in the “Top Think Tanks Worldwide” and the “Best Independent Think Tanks” categories of the most recent Global Go-To Think Tanks Index published by the University of Pennsylvania.

Northern Territorians wishing to join the AIIA should visit the institute’s website: