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President's Desk

Newsletter December 2021

2021 is speedily drawing to a close, and this will be the final newsletter in what has been another tumultuous year. We have lost some wonderful friends and supporters of AIIA, we have worked towards a changed relationship with the University of Tasmania, and we have tried to continue our rich heritage of beguiling and informative events, both in person and by Zoom. We’ve had remote access to some great events from other branches too.

We ended the year of events on a high with our Government House lecture and the wonderfully engaging former diplomat Sue Boyd. Not only was Sue a much appreciated speaker, we cemented the tradition of the annual Government House lecture with our new Governor, HE Barbara Baker and husband Professor Don Chalmers, who enjoyed the occasion as much as our members did. We are already working on the 2022 lecture!

Our working through of the new relationship with the College of Arts, Law and Education (CALE) is proceeding. It has been agreed that the Plimsoll Lecture 2022 will remain as opne of the few UTas Island of Ideas events, and will hopefully have an agreed date and speaker for that by February. In addition we have agreed that there will be four joint AIIA/CALE roundtable events during the year, focussing on climate change, world order in the wake of COVID, China and Australian development and aid issues in the Pacific. The University’s events team will also continue to promote our public events on their emails broadcasts.

The first of these joint AIIA/CALE events, on climate change issues post Glasgow, will be in March. The venue will be at UTas, and we will let you know the date and speakers for this panel early in 2022.

Prior to that, we will definitely hold an event in late February, but, apologies, I can’t be more definite about who, when or where as we are still juggling options! April is a bit more definite! We have finally managed to get a firm date for our Russian expert, Dr Julie Fedor, from University of Melbourne, who will be presenting to us on April 19 at 6pm. Before that, in the week April 4-7, we will be presenting a joint event with the UTas Media School and Friends of the ABC, with noted news film maker David Brill. This should be a great event, with some new partners.

We are looking at a range of possible venues for events during 2022, depending on the nature of the theme of the event, the speaker, and whether the event will be a member-only or broader public event. There will still be some events at UTas, but at times we may be better served elsewhere. The Royal Yacht Club, where we held the AGM, remains as a possibility for some events but  we will ensure we avoid the chaos of conflicting with the noise of ‘family night’ at RYCT which was rather disconcerting at the AGM. There are quieter rooms upstairs, but no lift,  so can members please let us know if a flight of stairs would make attendance at an event prohibitive. The benefits of RYCT include its parking, its bar (for those winding down at the end of the day) and quality nibbles, plus a free venue!

Just as a taster of possible events in the planning mix, apart from the AIIA/CALE events, include speakers on India and its views on the Quad and AUKUS, Malaysia’s changing political landscape, trade and international relations, cybersecurity, local government in global affairs, and ethical issues in international relations.

My thanks to a great local AIIA Council, and to all of you as members who have kept AIIA buoyant in an unpredictable year.

Stay safe and engaged as the festive season unfolds, and I look forward to catching up in 2022.


Kim Boyer

December 15 2021