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President's Desk

Newsletter September 2021

AIIA members both here and interstate have expressed their sadness at the death last month of former AIIA state President and stalwart Prof Peter Boyce. They have also celebrated his huge contribution to AIIA specifically, and international relations generally during his rich lifetime. We hope to hold a special event in honour of Peter in the future.

As the challenges of COVID present themselves diversely nationally and internationally, AIIA in Tasmania continues to plan for both webinars and live events for the remainder of 2021, and ongoing into 2022, in the hope that they may continue, and that our members and supporters remain safe.

Looking back, on Wednesday August 11 Prof Sara Davies presented a fascinating and superbly researched webinar for us on COVID: How Did We Go and What Comes Next? Sara is internationally recognised for her expertise in pandemics and global health governance and her perspectives on where international co-operation worked, and where it fell apart, in the managing of COVID and the immunisation programs were fascinating, as well as options for a way forward. If you missed this webinar, it is well worth catching up on either the University of Tasmania Island of Ideas website or the national AIIA website.

Our special event this month is one of our ‘flagship’ events, the 2021 Plimsoll Lecture. On Thursday September 2  at 5.30pm Elaine Pearson, head of Human Rights Watch, will deliver this joint DFAT/UTas/ AIIA lecture Human Rights and Diplomacy: the right mix for the Indo-Pacific. Unfortunately, this will be by webinar only as Elaine is unable to travel to Tasmania due to lockdown. She is a compelling speaker and the topic is of great significance for us. If you haven’t registered yet, the link is Human Rights and Diplomacy: Getting the right mix – Events | University of Tasmania (utas.edu.au).

We are also seeking, through the good offices of Prof James Chin and colleagues at UTas, to arrange a webinar round table on the future for Afghanistan; if this is feasible, we will let you know!

Our October event will be the AGM, to be held on October 27 at 5.30 pm at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. Our speaker will be one of our members, former journalist and now academic Dr Geoff Heriot, who will share some insights into The Quad: What is it and Why Does it Matter? Members will be able to buy drinks from the RYCT bar and AIIA council will ensure quality finger food is available. Again, a link to the AGM will be circulated early in September so that we can ascertain numbers for catering.

The 2021 Government House lecture will be on Monday November 22 at 6pm. Our lecturer for this flagship event will be Dr Julie Fedor from Melbourne University, who is recognised nationally and internationally as an analyst o Russian foreign policy and politics.  We are hopeful the Melbourne lockdown will be over by then and Julie can join us in person. So mark the date in your diaries and more information will be forthcoming in early October.

The national AIIA conference was planned for Canberra on October 18. However, unsurprisingly, given the COVID situation the 2021 Conference has been deferred to February 14, 2022, again in Canberra. (We see a semblance with Tokyo 2020 being held in 2021!!) A fine line-up of speakers will be mustered for the conference, and masterclasses will be held on February 13. More details next month.

The national call for nominations for Fellowships of AIIA is now out and nominations close on October 1, 2021. Each year since 2008 AIIA has recognised individuals with ‘a strong connection to Australia who have achieved a very high level of distinction in, and made a distinguished contribution to, international affairs’ by making them Fellows of the Institute. Any member of AIIA can nominate a candidate for this highly prestigious award. (Prof Peter Boyce was the last Tasmanian to be appointed as a Fellow). Selection is made by an independent committee appointed by the AIIA Board. If you want to nominate a candidate, the online nomination form is provided at www.internationalaffairs.org.au/fellows

I look forward to catching up virtually at the Plimsoll on Thursday and in person at the AGM!

Kim Boyer

AIIA State President

August 30, 2021