Australia’s role in the world
A provocative new series of lectures and events titled Australia’s Role in the World, aimed at promoting public engagement and debate on global issues, is to be hosted by the University of Melbourne through this year.
The series is a partnership initiative of the University of Melbourne, the Australian Institute of International Affairs and UN Youth Australia and will feature topics such as eradicating global poverty, fair trade, and the rights of the child.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) Professor Sue Elliott, who launched the series on 22 March, said the series was a bold initiative aimed at engaging the University and the wider community to open up difficult issues affecting the world.
“Through our partnerships and excellent speakers we will be able to draw the public and the University community in to discuss and hopefully to find some ways to tackle the big issues like poverty and global health,” she says.
“It is going to be an exciting series.”
Professor Elliott said Australia’s Role in the World lecture series and initiative aimed in particular to engage young people in dialogue on key international issues.
The lecture series is one element of the Initiative which will also use the website www.australiasroleintheworld.org.au as a learning and interactive hub with regular updates of latest news, opinion pieces by key global thinkers, polls and educational information on topics of global interest.
“We hope to capture and promote youth opinion and engagement with Australia’s foreign policy priorities and positions, to advance knowledge and enrich appreciation of the concept of global citizenship,” Professor Elliott says.
The website will include footage of talks, debates and panels held at the University of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of International Affairs, social media links and links to partner organisations and other relevant events.
The first event of the series, “Vaccines to Change the World”, organised in collaboration with the Nossal Institute for Global Health, featured Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. Dr Berkley joined the GAVI Alliance as CEO in August 2011, as it launched its five-year strategy to immunise a quarter of a billion children in the developing world with life-saving vaccines by 2015.
The event was compered by ABC reporter Ben Knight who has spent the past four years covering news in the Middle East.
He was joined by a panel of experts including Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia; Sir Gustav Nossal, The University of Melbourne; and Dr Kate Taylor, a Visiting Fellow at the Nossal Institute for Global Health and Ormond College.
Upcoming events include a Q&A session on the theme “Does Australia Deserve a Seat on the UN Security Council?”, featuring a panel with Robert Hill, Chancellor of the University of Adelaide and a former Australian ambassador to the United Nations; John Langmore, Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, a former Federal MP and the former Director of the UN Division for Social Policy and Development in New York; Melissa Conley Tyler, National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs; and Andrew Hewett, Executive Director of Oxfam Australia.