Australian Institute of International Affairs

Australian Institute of International Affairs

Established in 1924 and formed as a national body in 1933, the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) endeavours to promote interest in and understanding of international affairs. It consists of seven independent branches in each State and Territory (except the Northern Territory), along with the National Office located at Deakin, Canberra. It has approximately 1700 members (December, 2007).

The AIIA is an independent, non-profit, non-political organisation. Its constitution precludes it from holding or expressing an opinion of its own on any matter of international affairs.

It undertakes to achieve its mission of promoting interest in and understanding of international affairs by promoting debate, disseminating ideas, educating on issues and collaborating with other individuals and organisations.

It provides a forum for debate by arranging lectures, seminars and workshops across the country on matters of current interest. It disseminates ideas through a number of publications, including the "Australian Journal of International Affairs", "Australia in World Affairs" (series) and occasional papers.

It facilitates education on issues of International Affairs through its many events, but more specifically through its ACCESS youth programs in both the New South Wales and Victorian branches. The ACCESS youth networks aim to engage members 35 years and under. The first ACCESS group to form was in New South Wales (2005) closely followed by Victoria (2006) and the Australian Capital Territory (2007). The AIIA has seen an influx of student members in recent years. The success of this growth has in large part been attributed to successful International Careers Conferences held in Sydney and Melbourne. It is also engaged in a Victorian schools project which links with the official syllabus of year 12 studies in that State.

The AIIA also collaborates with like organisations in other countries, as well as with private and public sector organisations and departments within Australia and abroad.

Throughout its history the AIIA has drawn the involvement of key national figures, including Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies, former High Court Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick and former Governor General Lord Casey, among other distinguished Australians. His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC, the Governor-General of Australia, is the AIIA’s Honorary Visitor.

AIIA Fellows Program

In 2008, the AIIA Fellows Award was launched to highlight a very high level of distinction in and distinguished contribution to Australia's International Relations. The inaugural class of fellows included:

* Dr. Coral Bell AO, Fellow, The Australian National University
* The Hon. Gareth Evans, AO QC, President of the International Crisis Group and former Minister for Foreign Affairs
* Dr. Stephen FitzGerald, former professor and first Australian Ambassador to the People's Republic of China
* Mr. Hamish McDonald, Asia-Pacific Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
* Dr. Robert O'Neill, former Chichele Professor, University of Oxford, and Director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, London
* Lieutenant General John Sanderson AC, former Chief of the Australian Army and Governor of Western Australia
* Mr. James Wolfensohn KBE AO, former President of the World Bank
* Mr. Richard Woolcott AC, former diplomat and Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Further reading

* Diane Stone, ‘A Think Tank in Evolution or Decline?: The Australian Institute of International Affairs in Comparative Perspective’, "The Australian Journal of International Affairs", 50 (2) 1996: 117-36.

External links

* [ Australian Institute of International Affairs] main website
* [ Australian Institute of International Affairs] Victoria
* [ Australian Institute of International Affairs] New South Wales
* [ ACCESS NSW] ACCESS (New South Wales)

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