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President's Desk

Newsletter June 2021

With Winter now upon us a number of special events await, both in person and by webinar, including the rich webinar offerings from other AIIA branches.

Recapping on May, the webinar link to Beijing for the webinar on May 14 with Australia’s Ambassador to China, HE Graham Fletcher, and Austrade’s General Manager for Greater China, Daniel Boyer, attracted a significant audience locally, nationally and internationally, even though it was held at lunchtime in Australia’s eastern states. If you missed it you can watch it by the link On the Ground in China: Representing Australia – YouTube

Events secretary Ian Baxter and I enjoyed afternoon tea on May 25 with the outgoing Governor, HE Prof Kate Warner, to thank her and Mr Warner for their support of AIIA. We are thrilled that the Warners have accepted our invitation to become members of AIIA when they depart Government House. We will also be writing to the Governor-Designate, , Ms Barbara Baker, to seek her support both to be patron of AIIA Tasmania and to host the Government House lecture either late this year or early in 2022.

Coming up very shortly is our first joint ‘hybrid’ event with the University of Tasmania, which will be both live and by webinar. On Wednesday June 9 at 6pm Prof Amin Saikal from ANU will be speaking on the highly topical The Middle East: A Zone of Turmoil and Challenges. Prof Saikal is internationally recognised as a researcher and commentator on the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Arab World. The ‘live’ event will be in the Stanley Burbury Theatre and university COVID protocols will need to be observed; we will have council members there to help with this. Unfortunately the University is unable to provide catering for this event, and most likely for future events this year, but you are welcome to bring your own water bottles! If you haven’t registered, either for the live on online event, the link is here The Middle East: A zone of turmoil and challenges | Australian Institute of International Affairs – Tasmania | TidyHQ

Next up will be a special event on Antarctica on Tuesday July 20 at 5pm. Titled The Antarctic Treaty at 60: Australian Contributions and Future Directions, this event will be a panel discussion of emerging Tasmanian researchers led by Prof Marcus Haward from IMAS. While this event is primarily by webinar as part of the University’s Island of Ideas program, we are working with the University to make this also an in-person event for AIIA members only, to be held at IMAS. We plan to hold this in a seminar room, drinks and nibbles provided by AIIA, watching the webinar together and then meeting up with Marcus and the panel when the official webinar is over. This is our first attempt at this different sort of event and, if members’ feedback is positive, we may use it for future events. Registration for the event, and further details about the speakers, will be out  in mid June.

Wednesday August 11 sees a webinar-only event from Prof Sara Davies 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 what comes next will be fascinating.

On Thursday September 2 Elaine Pearson, head of Human Rights Watch, will deliver the 2021 Plimsoll Lecture. COVID meant the cancelation of the 2020 Plimsoll so we are happy to see this flagship event back on the agenda. Elaine is an excellent and engaging speaker and her topic will be of great importance and significant interest.

The national AIIA Conference will be on again in Canberra on October 18, with the theme Towards Recovery, focussing on regional health recovery, trade and economic recovery and the survival, or otherwise, of the rules-based international order. More information about the conference, and how to register, is available on the national AIIA website and is constantly updated.

Our social media presence continues to grow, so find us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/AIIATAS) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aiiatasmania/). Members may also be interested to know particularly those who have struggled with our online joining or rejoining of AIIA) that, at a national level,  there is to be a major overhaul of the AIIA  online platforms, and Council members Ian Baxter and Steven Phipps have generously agreed to be part of the working groups managing this overhaul.

And last, but certainly not least, our AGM is planned for October 27. More details on time, venue and speaker to come!

Kim Boyer

31 May 2021