Presented by Dr Caitlin Byrne, internationalaffairs.org.au
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The recent axing of the Australia Network came as a major blow to Australia’s public diplomacy efforts, which had until that time centred on the modest but important broadcast reach of the ABC. Additional budget cuts, including to Australia’s development assistance and international scholarship programs have further eroded Australia’s soft power resources, while lagging digital diplomacy efforts continue to constrain Australia’s real-time reach and impact. At the same time, new initiatives driving people-to-people connections offer alternative models for Australia’s wider relationship-building, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. This presentation examines recent challenges, latest trends and prospects for Australia’s public diplomacy and considers what it might all mean in the ongoing search for soft power.
Dr Caitlin Byrne is a senior lecturer in International Relations at Bond University and former research fellow of the USC Centre for Public Diplomacy.