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President's Desk

From the President

The challenging year of 2020 is winding down for AIIA, albeit no doubt individual members may be contemplating their own end-of-year festivities.

Thank you to all our members who came to our first face-to-face meeting for many months, our AGM at the University Staff Club. It was so good to see familiar faces we have missed over the past seven months, and together to share in the loss of our late Secretary Barry Holmes, and to pay an appropriate tribute to him together.

There is one final event on the AIIA calendar for 2020, a webinar on November 26 at 5pm. This will be a different, and challenging, topic, Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery and the Multilateral System, to be given by the Hon Lisa Singh. Lisa is well known to us as a former Senator for Tasmania, and an active participant in AIIA. Her topic arises from both her long-standing advocacy against human trafficking while in the Federal Parliament, and from her current position as Head of Government Advocacy for Walk Free. Lisa will be talking about the effectiveness or otherwise of the UN’s approach in dealing with modern slavery, which includes people trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage and child labour. This topic has been the subject of a Four Corners program from the UK about two months ago, as well as the most recent series of the crime thriller Shetland, so there is an increasing level of awareness of how widespread modern slavery remains.

If you haven’t registered for the webinar yet, the link is here:  https://www.utas.edu.au/events/2020/november/human-trafficking,-modern-slavery-and-the-multilateral-system?SQ_DESIGN_NAME=new&SQ_PAINT_LAYOUT_NAME=new

The Tasmanian AIIA Council will be meeting in December with UTas Events to begin planning a program for 2021, which will include the deferred Government House lecture and the Plimsoll Lecture. We have a number of speakers deferred from 2020 and topics ranging from Afghanistan to Brexit, Palestine to Myanmar, fallout from the US elections to trade and China, Russia and much more. Any ideas from members on topics and speakers will be greatly appreciated! It is hoped next year’s events will be ‘hybrid’, i.e. both in person and by livestreaming. Hopefully the December newsletter will have more detail for our diaries.

As discussed at the AGM, the webinar format forced on us by the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how popular Tasmanian branch events were both inside Tasmania, nationally and internationally. In addition the webinar format gave us capacity to access events nationally by other AIIA branches and organisations like the Lowy Institute. If we can build on this, and add the ‘live’ mix, that will be terrific.


Kim Boyer

November 2020v