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President's Desk

Newsletter March 2023

After a great start to our events for 2023 with former senior diplomat and intelligence chief Nick Warner on February 15 we have locked in some more excellent events for the first part of the year.

But first, a recap on the Nick Warner event. This was a great opportunity for the 60 or more members and friends to hear one of Australia’s leading players in diplomacy and intelligence tell, in a Chatham House environment, his personal experiences and his views of the state of world affairs. It was also excellent that Nick chose to have his Fellowship of AIIA presented in Tasmania, with members of his wider family present. I have received many comments from members on how rich in both content and humour Nick’s talk was. Thank you to members Dick Warner for helping to arrange this event and Therese Taylor for arranging the venue.

Now, looking forward….

Our March event, on Wednesday, March 15, is a webinar-only event shared with AIIA WA on Malaysia-First 100 Days of the Anwar Government—How Many More? The speakers are own own Prof James Chin, Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania and a leading scholar of contemporary Malaysian politics. He will be joined by Jahabar Sidiq, who runs the online news portal Malaysian Insight and has been a journalist covering the region since 1988. The webinar will be chaired by WA AIIA President Brendan Augustin and will explore the political situation in Malaysia which is emerging from the elections of November 2022, and the emergence of a ‘patchwork’ coalition led by long-term former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. This event promises some important insights into the political situation in Malaysia. Given it is coming from WA, where it will start at 6pm, for us in Tasmania it will be a 9pm start…a perfect time for a nightcap and political analysis!

The link to the event is Malaysia Anwar Government First 100 days

We have worked with the College of Arts, Law and Education to determine our four shared events for the year and three of these promise to be somewhat different from previous years.

The first will be from one of our regular and special speakers, an expert on all things Antarctic, Dr Tony Press AO and FAIIA. Tony will discuss Reflections in the South: how will the Antarctic Treaty System meet the challenges ahead? on Tuesday, April 4; this will be a hybrid event, with the in-person part to be held at IMAS from 5.30pm. Thanks to UTas we will have some refreshments on site. Assisted by a panel of young researchers, Tony will explore scenarios which may lie ahead for the southern continent in an uncertain and conflicted world. Tony will also be presented with his Fellowship of AIIA at this event.

The link to register for this event—both in person and online, should be available in a week or so.

The second joint event, to be held on Tuesday, May 9, takes a different perspective, exploring the potential for sport to influence diplomacy and international relations in both positive and negative ways. We have been lucky to attract a great speaker for this event, sports journalist and commentator Stephanie Brantz, who chairs the Sports Diplomacy Advisory Council for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The actual venue is yet to be decided, but this will also be a hybrid event; more details and registration will be available in early April.

The final two AIIA/CALE events, for later in the year will feature:-

  • The approach of other jurisdictions to indigenous sovereignty, especially leading up to The Voice referendum
  • The challenges ahead for nuclear non-proliferation

More on these events as speakers, dates and venues are decided!

In addition to the joint events with CALE, AIIA has a plentiful line-up of events and themes including soft power and the media, economics of climate change, great power rivalries in 2023, potential ambassadorial visits, an update on the outcomes of the special CCAMLR international meeting (as discussed at our last AGM) and the green economy. And let’s not forget our flagships, the Government House Lecture and the Plimsoll Lecture.

We will also be working with the new Alumni Ambassador for the New Colombo Plan, Ayden Cleghorn, on enhancing student and NCP relationships.

The departure of our events co-ordinator, newsletter editor and treasurer Ian Baxter, to NSW left several holes to be filled in our noble volunteer band. Ed Kremzer has taken over as treasurer, John Hayton as newsletter editor, and James Chin and Bruno Arpi as events co-ordinators. Many thanks all round.


I hope you enjoy the Malaysian webinar and look forward to seeing you at the event on security and environmental challenges for the future of the White Continent.


Kim Boyer

March 2023