The #AIIANextGen Network is a unique and global network of emerging professionals interested in international affairs and Australia’s role in the world, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. The national office of the institute launched the network in June 2021. At an operational level, the activities of the network manifest in educational and networking opportunities, usually in Australia, including side meetings in conjunction with major events such as the AIIA National Conference, the premier annual event on Australian foreign policy. In addition, the network currently offers opportunities for its members to meet outside of Australia on study tours, and to participate as observers in roundtable and other expert meetings that the institute organises abroad. By creating a cohort of early career professionals who meet regularly, the #AIIANextGen Network creates cohesion around the institute’s various national-level activities.
The network is an ongoing program, distinct from the various organisations, events and projects which cater mostly to graduate students in the international affairs and defence space. Indeed, while that demographic will be represented in the network, entry to the network is only by application or invitation, and target participants are early career professionals who have a clear interest in international engagement, but who have not necessarily studied the formal academic theories or methods of International Relations. Participants in the network have access to special in-network opportunities for five years. Overseas participants have the opportunity to join, but residents and citizens of Australia will form the core of the network. The network currently stands at around 70 members. The national office will be recruiting 25 further members per year to join the network.