Russia’s war in Ukraine is now well into its second year. Ukraine’s much-foreshadowed counter-offensive is developing more slowly than expected. Meanwhile, Russia’s leadership was rocked by the recent failed mutiny by the private Wagner paramilitary group.
The Lowy Institute hosted Mick Ryan and Zoya Sheftalovich earlier in 2023 for an update on the Ukraine war. In July 2023, with Ukraine on the offensive and Russia’s internal political instability, we again hosted these two compelling experts to discuss how the war in Europe is evolving. The conversation was hosted by Executive Director Dr Michael Fullilove and included questions from the audience.
Major General (Ret’d) Mick Ryan is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. His book, War Transformed: The Future of Twenty-First-Century Great Power Competition and Conflict, was published in 2022.
Zoya Sheftalovich is a contributing editor for POLITICO, based in Sydney. She is a regular commentator on the Ukraine war for ABC News 24.
More Australians feel safe than last year, their belief in democracy remains strong, and they are relatively hopeful about Australia’s economic outlook. But what do Australians see as the key threats to the nation? How do they view China in the context of thawing Australia–China relations? What do they think of AUKUS and nuclear-powered submarines? And do they think Australia’s ties with the Pacific are improving?
At our event in Sydney we unpacked the findings of the 2023 Lowy Institute Poll with a panel of Lowy Institute experts.
Now in its nineteenth year, the Lowy Institute’s flagship 2023 Lowy Institute Poll is the longest-running and broadest survey of Australian public opinion on foreign policy and global events. It is the key resource for anyone seeking to understand how Australians see the world and their place in it.
Our panel of experts included: Damien Cave, Australia Bureau Chief, The New York Times; Dr Meg Keen, Director of the Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute; and Hervé Lemahieu, Director of Research, the Lowy Institute. The discussion was chaired by Ryan Neelam, Director of the Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program and the author of the 2023 Lowy Institute Poll.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated global digital connectivity, and the Pacific region is witnessing a surge in digital transformations. With increasing internet access, mobile phone usage, and government-led digital initiatives in health, education, and financial data, Papua New Guinea is experiencing a growing digital footprint.
However, there are still challenges to overcome, and Australia can play a pivotal role in supporting PNG’s digital connectivity through investment, capacity building, partnerships, technical assistance, and regional collaboration.
The 2022 Aus-PNG Network Emerging Leaders Dialogue explored these issues and more.
The evening of Tuesday 13 June marked the launch of our Dialogue Outcomes Report, Building the Australia-PNG Digital Ecosystem.
Featured a live panel discussion with Dialogue alumni:
Jack Growden, Founder & CEO, LiteHaus International, on digital education
Sarah Bornstein, Global Emergency Care Advisor, on digital innovation in health
Clare Akauma, Assistant Site Manager, Graincorp, on digital innovation in sport and agricultural development.
The event was chaired by Mihai Sora, Aus-PNG Network Project Director.
Rugby league is a shared passion in Australia and Papua New Guinea, and, potentially, a powerful connector between the two countries. Sports diplomacy transcends borders, fosters mutual understanding, and promotes shared values. Half of all Australian National Rugby League players have Pacific heritage.
As Australia looks to build closer ties with Papua New Guinea, the prospect of a PNG team joining the NRL has emerged as one way to strengthen people-to-people links. The PNG bid represents an effort to increase the presence of Papua New Guinean players in professional rugby league. If successful, it would make PNG the only country outside Australia and New Zealand to have a team in the NRL. But the bid is not without its challenges.
On Tuesday 27 June, the Lowy Institute's Aus-PNG Network hosted this lunchtime event to explore the latest in Australia-PNG sports diplomacy.
The Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, delivered an address and then took part in a panel discussion alongside:
- Amelia Kuk, former PNG Orchids and Brisbane Broncos player
- David Mead, former PNG Kumuls captain, Gold Coast Titans and Brisbane Broncos player
The event was chaired by Mihai Sora, Aus-PNG Network Project Director at the Lowy Institute.
Amelia Kuk is an accomplished former rugby league player and a pioneering figure in women’s sport. Recognised for her time with the PNG Orchids and Brisbane Broncos, Amelia has not only made her mark through exceptional athletic performances but also as an advocate for inclusivity and the advancement of women in rugby league.
Born in Port Moresby, David Mead moved to Australia when he was 12. David played 172 games in the NRL and 58 games in the English Super League before retiring at the end of 2022 NRL season. An alumnus of the Gold Coast Titans, the Brisbane Broncos and the Catalans Dragons, David also represented PNG on 15 occasions across 3 rugby league world cups. A devoted ambassador for his homeland, David has consistently championed rugby league at the grassroots level in PNG.
China’s remarkable economic rise has long been a key factor in global geopolitical discussions. But how soon and at what height will China’s economy peak? What are the implications for China’s ambitions in the world?
For years, predictions suggested that China's economic power would surpass that of the United States by the end of this decade. However, recent developments, backed by Lowy analysis, have challenged this assumption.
In this event in which we unpacked the findings of original Lowy Institute research and explored the concept of ‘Peak China’ with the Lowy Institute’s Lead Economist Roland Rajah, Senior Fellow for East Asia Richard McGregor and Nonresident Fellow Dr Jenny Gordon.
The event was moderated by Director of Research Hervé Lemahieu. Our panellists discussed the implications of this potential turning point and what it means for China's future prospects, as well as the repercussions it may have for the rest of the world.
Roland Rajah is Lead Economist at the Lowy Institute and the Director of the Indo-Pacific Development Centre. A development economist by background, Roland has extensive experience working across both emerging Asia and the small island developing states of the Pacific. He has previously worked for the Asian Development Bank, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Roland is the co-author with Alyssa Leng of the influential Lowy Institute Analysis paper Revising down the rise of China.
Richard McGregor is Senior Fellow for East Asia at the Lowy Institute. He is a former Beijing and Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times and the author of numerous books on East Asia including Xi Jinping: The Backlash (2019) and Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century (2017). His 2010 book, The Party, on the inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party, was translated into seven languages and chosen by the Asia Society and Mainichi Shimbun in Japan as their book of the year.
Jenny Gordon is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute and former Chief Economist at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Dr Gordon is a member of the Australian International Agricultural Research Centre’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisory Panel, and the Asian Development Bank Institute’s Advisory Committee. She is also an Honorary Professor at ANU's Centre for Social Research and Methods.
WHEN & WHERE:
Thursday 22nd June | 12:00pm for 12.15pm to 1.15pm
31 Bligh Street, Sydney
Sri Lanka defaulted on its external debt for the first time in its history in April 2022. Sri Lankans faced acute shortages of food, fuel and other basic supplies as government responses took hold, including stringent capital controls introduced to preserve dwindling foreign reserves.
Almost a year later, the International Monetary Fund approved a US$3 billion program to boost Sri Lanka's reserves and assist with debt servicing. The road ahead for Sri Lanka is still uncertain: the country needs to strike a deal with creditors, including its biggest bilateral lender, China — and also ensure that a domestic debt restructure deal is settled beforehand.
An event hosted by the Lowy Institute brought together a range of experts to discuss Sri Lanka’s debt crisis. The panel included Indrajit Coomaraswamy, former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Brad Setser, a sovereign debt restructure expert at the Council of Foreign Relations, and Mariza Cooray, Research Fellow and senior economist at the Lowy Institute’s Indo-Pacific Development Centre. The discussion was hosted by Roland Rajah, the Lowy Institute’s Lead Economist and Director of the Indo-Pacific Development Centre.
Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy was the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka from 2016 to 2019. He has more than 40 years of experience in policymaking and economic advisory services on both macroeconomic and structural issues at national and intergovernmental levels. A year into his term, Dr Coomaraswamy was recognised as the “Central Bank Governor of the Year for South Asia” for 2019 by Euromoney Institutional Investor Group PLC. He served as the Deputy Director of the Secretary-General's office as well as the Director of Economic Affairs during his tenure at the Commonwealth Secretariat between 1989 and 2008. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex and a BA from the University of Cambridge.
Dr Brad Setser is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. He served as a senior adviser to the US Trade Representative from 2021 to 2022, where he worked on the resolution of a number of trade disputes. He also served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for international economic analysis in the US Treasury from 2011 to 2015, where he worked on Europe’s financial crisis, currency policy, financial sanctions, commodity shocks, and Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, and as a director for international economics on the staff of the National Economic Council and the National Security Council. He is the author of Sovereign Wealth and Sovereign Power (CFR, 2008) and the co-author, with Nouriel Roubini, of Bailouts and Bail-ins: Responding to Financial Crises in Emerging Economies (Peterson Institute, 2004). He holds a BA from Harvard University, a masters from Sciences-Po Paris, and an MA and PhD in international relations from Oxford University.
Mariza Cooray is a Research Fellow and senior economist in the Lowy Institute’s Indo-Pacific Development Centre. She has a decade of experience living and working in the Pacific and Indonesia for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, USAID and the Asian Development Bank. She has also worked as a Country Economist for the World Bank in Sri Lanka and began her career in international development in Sri Lanka. Her research interests include public finance, debt management and crisis, poverty and inequality, growth and emerging markets. Mariza has postgraduate qualifications in Mathematics from the Australian National University, a Master of Science in Development Economics from the London School of Economics, where she was an LSE PJD Wiles Scholar, and a BA in Economics from Wilson College in Pennsylvania in the United States. She speaks Sinhalese and Spanish and understands Mandarin.
On 19 April, the Lowy Institute hosted the launch of the 2023 Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities survey report with author and Lowy Institute Research Fellow Dr Jennifer Hsu, along with guests Samuel Yang and Lucy Du. The event was chaired by the Director of the Institute's Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program, Ryan Neelam.
Dr Jennifer Hsu is a Research Fellow and the Project Director of the Multiculturalism, Identity and Influence Project at the Lowy Institute. After completing her PhD in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, she researched and taught development studies, political science and sociology in universities in North America and the United Kingdom. Jennifer is also a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Social Policy and Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. Her research expertise covers state-society relations, state-NGO relations, the internationalisation of Chinese NGOs, civil society and the Chinese diaspora and she has published widely in these areas.
Samuel Yang is a Chinese-Australian bilingual journalist and presenter. He is currently a co-host of China Tonight on ABC TV. He joined the ABC in 2018 and has previously worked as a business reporter and presenter in Sydney, and a bilingual reporter and producer in Melbourne. He has lived across the Asia-Pacific including in China, Singapore and New Zealand. His work has won the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Public Interest Award and he was nominated for Young Journalist of the Year in 2020.
Lucy Du is the CEO of the Australia-China Young Professionals Initiative (ACYPI), the single largest young professionals organisation in the Australia-China space. She began her career in Canberra and then went on to work in China for one of Australia’s big four banks and later for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Shanghai. She is currently Head of Community at Belz Family & Associates, a global private assets investment platform for Asian and Australian investors. Lucy is bilingual in English and Chinese and has completed studies at the University of Melbourne, Australian National University and Tsinghua University.
Ryan Neelam is Director of the Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program and is Project Lead on the annual flagship publication, the Lowy Institute Poll. Before joining the Institute, Ryan spent 14 years as an Australian diplomat including as Deputy Consul-General in Hong Kong, and at the Australian Mission to the UN. Ryan has contributed to policy development and international agreements on economic, climate change, human rights and security issues.
With the announcement of Australia’s pathway towards nuclear-powered submarines, and the forthcoming release of the Government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review, this event offered the rare opportunity to hear from Australia’s most senior military officer about the international security environment and how Australia is responding to it. After his remarks, General Angus Campbell AO DSC spoke in conversation with the Lowy Institute's Executive Director Dr Michael Fullilove AM.
General Campbell joined the Australian Army in 1981, graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1984. In 2005, he joined the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as a First Assistant Secretary to head the Office of National Security and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Secretary and appointed to the position of Deputy National Security Adviser. Upon his return to the Australian Defence Force in early 2010, he was appointed to the rank of Major General. In 2015, he was appointed Chief of the Australian Army, and in 2018 appointed to command of the Australian Defence Force.
The announcement of Australia’s preferred technology pathway for the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines has been described as the most significant shift in the country’s strategic outlook since the Second World War. Coupled with the forthcoming publication of the Defence Strategic Review, Australia’s national security environment is set for significant change. What is the future of Australian defence policy, Australia’s place in the region, and its relations with the United States and the United Kingdom? For this panel discussion, Sam Roggeveen, Director of the Lowy Institute’s International Security Program, spoke with Dr Charles Edel, Dr Lavina Lee and Justin Burke about the big decisions shaping Australia’s national security policy.
Dr Charles Edel is the inaugural Australia Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. He previously taught at the University of Sydney, where he was also a senior fellow at the United States Studies Centre. Prior to that, he was a professor of strategy and policy at the US Naval War College and served on the US Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff from 2015 to 2017.
Dr Lavina Lee is a senior lecturer in the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University in Sydney. She is a member of the Council of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a nonresident fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
Justin Burke is the 2022 Thawley Scholar in International Relations at the Lowy Institute and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He is a nonresident fellow with the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel in Germany. Justin is a PhD candidate in naval power at Macquarie University and was previously a journalist with The Australian and Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun.