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President's Desk

Newsletter May 2022

Nearing the end of May already, and early Winter frosts are with us, albeit with some brilliant sunshine!

After a start to the AIIA year which was confounded by the odd obstacles and challenges, we have a raft of great events for the rest of the year, COVID-willing!

Coming up in June, we have two special events. The first is a one day seminar on Antarctic Security on June 16 at the Stanley Burbury Theatre at UTas, organised by Dr Tony Press from IMAS and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), which AIIA is co-badging and supporting. This seminar has a great range of speakers and panellists and some provocative discussions are sure to occur. More details of the event, and the registration link is here The security challenges of Antarctica Tickets, Sir Stanley Burbury Theatre, Sandy Bay | TryBooking Australia.

At the second June event, on June 29, we will be hosting former Foreign Minister and international relations policy guru, the Hon Prof Gareth Evans. This event, from 5.30pm to 7pm at the Stanley Burbury Theatre, is the second of our joint events with College of Arts, Law and Education (CALE) at UTas, as well as being accessible online. Gareth will be discussing The World Order post COVID—What Role Should Australia Play? He will also be launching his new book in Tasmania, Good International Citizenship: The Case for Decency, and copies will be available (thank you Fullers) for purchase and signing at the event. We are truly lucky to welcome someone of Gareth’s standing to Tasmanian AIIA, and registrations for the event are now open at this link The World Order Post Covid – What Role can Australia Play? | Australian Institute of International Affairs – Tasmania | TidyHQ

I’m happy to let you know that the High Commissioner for Canada in Australia, H E Mr Mark Glauser, whose April event was deferred due to his getting COVID, will give us another try. This time it is a lunch event on Thursday May 21 from noon to 2pm at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. The High Commissioner will discuss the fascinating topic of Canada’s relationship with the U.S: it’s more than just the President. A light lunch with juice will be provided by AIIA; drinks and coffee will be available from the bar before and after the event. Members free, guests/non-members $10. The registration for this event will open in early June so keep a watch for it, as the April non-event was booked out very quickly.

You will be pleased to know that a distinguished speaker for the 2022 Plimsoll Lecture has been confirmed. She is Dr Heather Smith, Professor at the ANU National Security College and previously a senior bureaucrat; her previous post in Canberra was as Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and she also has leadership roles in Communications and the Arts, Prime Minister and Cabinet and Office of National Assessment, among others. A firm date has yet to be set but watch this space!

Our other flagship event, the Government House Lecture, will be a special event indeed. The event will be on November 21, and our speaker will be the Hon Warwick Smith AO, former Federal Minister and now a leader in the corporate and international relations sector, particularly in relation to China. At the event Warwick will be awarded his Fellowship of the AIIA and our national President, Allan Gyngell, and Vice President, Zara Kimpton, will be here to share the evening with us.

The date for our AGM has also been set at November 8, and guest speaker Dr David Agnew, executive secretary of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will provide some fascinating insights into the role of CCAMLR and its challenges.

Yet another date for the diary is September 20 when Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds will host us at the Town Hall and talk about the role of local government leaders in international relations.

We have more events in the planning stage for August and October, focussing on the Asia Pacific and China, and on AUKUS from the perspectives of Asia and India. Other events may ‘emerge’ from Europe and the UK, depending on potential visits to Tasmania by senior consular leaders.

Reflecting on events since my last newsletter, Jennifer Donovan, who has recently returned to Australia from Afghanistan where she worked with the United Nations as Chief Technical Advisor—Afghan Safety and Security, spoke to a small member’s lunch event on Monday May 16. Thanks to DFAT for hosting this event, which was a rare chance to hear from a brave woman on the front line of international community capacity building.

With Ukraine in the forefront of our minds, members appreciated the insights from our Russian specialist speaker, Dr Julie Fedor, on April 19. Sadly, I missed this event (COVID struck again) but I hear the small audience was fully engaged. You can watch a recording of her event here War and Memory in Putin’s Russia – YouTube. It was also good to see a smattering of AIIA members at the Europe Day celebrations at which the local Ukraine community took centre stage.

Last, but not least, I’m sure members will be pleased that I have passed on congratulations to our new Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon Senator Penny Wong. Remembering the Government House lecture in 2021 which became the Republic Bar lecture, Senator Wong holds special memories for and within Tasmanian AIIA!!

So, after a bumpy start to the year, things look busy for us as the year progresses.  I look forward to catching up in person at these diverse events!


Kim Boyer

May 26, 2022