An Academy for Social Sciences in Australia workshop

Convened by David Lowe, Kate Darian-Smith, Jon Piccini and Melanie Oppenheimer

Ten years after the 2012 White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century, it is time to assess what has become of some of the major components of the people-to-people aspect of Australia’s engagements in its region, noting that this was the subject of most submissions to the White Paper process in 2012.

Australia’s advancement of educational and training opportunities within the Indo-Pacific has been core to nation-building, regional co-operation and public diplomacy, but these patterns of educational exchange — and the associated economic, social and cultural benefits — have recently been disrupted by the COVID pandemic and shifting international relations.  Drawing upon past and present case studies, this workshop brings together those from government, NGOs and academia to understand the evolving role of public and private actors in shaping international education for Australians at home and abroad, and to identify new and innovative ways to conceptualise the role of NGOs in future educational policy and public diplomacy initiatives in the Indo-Pacific.

This two-day workshop will contribute to the expansion of knowledge about the complex roles of public and private organisations in the development of education and training in shaping Australia’s role in its immediate region, identifying how the COVID pandemic and shifting international relations, particularly with China, will determine policy over the next decade. It will:

  • reflect on the past, present and future of international education, and what this means now for educational and diplomatic policy directions, and for Australia’s capability and capacity to benefit from historic regional and global connections and to build new capacities and capabilities.
  • bring scholars together with key stakeholders, including from government and other organisations, and to strengthen partnerships and networks across academia, government and the private sector.
  • explore new paradigms for policy directions in international education, regional co-operation and educational and cultural exchange.
  • provide professional development and training for early and mid-career researchers by linking scholarly research with policy formation.
  • produce a range of scholarly and public outcomes, including policy briefing.

November 21-22 Deakin Downtown, Collins Street, Melbourne.

Program: Post Pandemic Positions – Draft program 16 Nov

Invitation-only. For further information, please contact David Lowe (



Cover photo: International Students Conference, 1970. © Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia) 2019.