The first meeting of the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) for 2017 was held in Brussels early last week. The EU's Foreign Affairs Chief High Representative-Vice President Federica Mogherini chaired the FAC whose focus was especially on Syria where HR/VP Mogherini updated European Foreign Affairs Ministers on the work ongoing and also announced a conference to be held in Brussels in the first half of the year. The conference will have two main objectives, "Taking stock of the implementation of commitments of the donor community at the London conference, on which the EU has delivered in full; But most of all it will be a political conference, hoping that could be the moment for the international community together to turn the page and start the political transition, the reconciliation process and the reconstruction of Syria," the HR/VP said. Late last year, HR/VP Mogherini launched the EU Regional Initiative on the future of Syria, which aims to identify with regional partners common ground on the post-conflict arrangements for the country and examine the scope for reconciliation and reconstruction once a credible political transition is firmly under way.
“Responsive and Responsible Leadership” was the theme of this year's annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos which took place from 17 to 20 January. The European Commission contributed to this debate by explaining and promoting its priorities and policy actions to address challenges in areas such as migration, security, economy, climate action and energy. First Vice-President Timmermans led the Commission delegation in Davos. Altogether, 12 Members of the College (First Vice-President Timmermans, HR/VP Mogherini, Vice-Presidents Ansip, Šefčovič and Dombrovskis, and Commissioners Oettinger, Hahn, Malmström, Bulc, Moscovici, Navracsics and Moedas) accepted the Forum's invitation to attend. The sessions and meetings included leaders from politics, business and society from across the world. The HR/VP participated on a number of panel discussions about security and highlighted the EU's global strategy. Trade was a key conversation topic for EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom who met with Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo in Davos.
An EU Summer School took place in Melbourne last week with our Charge d'affairs a.i. Dr Bruno Scholl (pictured speaking above), giving workshops to Australian school teachers from across the country. Organised by the EU Centres and the EU Delegation to Australia, the summer school took place at Melbourne's Immigration Museum. It consisted of a three-day intensive program for teachers of history, international politics, social and cultural studies, economics and European languages. The 2017 European Studies Summer School offered a unique opportunity to engage with diverse expert speakers on topics that complement secondary school curricula. Workshop leaders included Dr Scholl, international affairs professionals, experts on EU-Australia affairs and staff from the EU Centre at RMIT and the EU Centre on Shared and Complex Challenges at Melbourne University.
European cinema played a starring role at the Flickerfest International Short Film Festival on Bondi Beach earlier this month. The EU Delegation partnered with Flickerfest to repeat the 'Windows on Europe' sessions for a second year in its internationally renowned short film programme. A 'Windows on Europe' $1000 award for the best European short film was awarded to an Italian/French film 'Il Silenzio" which also featured at the Flickerfest closing and award ceremony on 16 January in Sydney. The European Union's Charge d'Affaires a.i. in Australia, Bruno Scholl, said the event brings European cinema to a wider Australian audience while also promoting the EU's cultural diplomacy efforts in Australia. "Cultural diplomacy encourages cooperation between the EU and its partner countries, including Australia," Dr Scholl said. "Cultural events, including the 'Windows on Europe' event, promote a global order based on the diversity of cultures, peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values." Flickerfest Director Bronwyn Kidd was thrilled to present the 'Windows on Europe' event again and welcome the best of shorts from the European Union into the well-established short film festival.
The EU Centre of Shared and Complex Challenges at the University of Melbourne will be hosting a major international conference in July on ‘Rethinking governance in an era of global insecurities, regional tension and rising nationalism’. The event will run from 17-19 July and will consider how regional cooperation can manage global challenges and how it could confront new balances of power in international relations. The EU, is often regarded as a pre-eminent regional body while regional bodies such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been seeking to deepen their patterns of regional cooperation, though also experiencing challenges with the process of regional integration. Emerging powers in the global context and shifting power dynamics of the US and China suggest greater complexity in tackling global challenges. The Centre said the uncertainly following the election of Donald Trump as US President, the shifting power dynamics of Russia and China, and rising populism all point to insecurities at the regional and national levels. The call for papers and panels is now open. Proposals should be forwarded to the conference convenor Professor Philomena Murray, Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne at firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 February, 2017. Scholars from all disciplines and interested practitioners are encouraged to submit proposals and to attend.
Identity vs Noise: 1Dn is a sound installation exploring global transformations in the interplay of identity and difference, public and private, Europe and its Others. Created by the celebrated singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole, and sponsored by the University of South Australia’s Hawke EU Centre, the installation will use new technologies to deliver instantaneous presentations across various cities including Tokyo, Dublin and Helsinki. The exhibit will be launched on 25 January at the Nexus Arts, Lion Arts Centre North Terrace & Morphett Street, Adelaide. Please send RSVPs to email@example.com. The event is presented by the Hawke EU Centre for Mobilities Migrations and Cultural Transformations in partnership with Keio University (Japan), TAV Gallery (Japan), Trinity Long Room Hub (Ireland) and the Museum of Finnish Architecture (Finland). More information can be found: unisa.edu.au/identityvsnoise
A leading French philosopher, historian and sociologist, will participate in the French Festival of Ideas to be held in Melbourne on Friday. Marcel Gauchet has written widely on politics, as well as the relation between democracy, religion and globalisation. In 2016 his debate with Alain Badiou on the future of democracy was published in English by Polity under the title What Is to Be Done? A Dialogue on Communism, Capitalism, and the Future of Democracy. Gauchet is chief editor of the journal Le Débat. Until 2016 he held a senior research position in political philosophy in the Centre de recherches politiques et sociologiques Raymond Aron (CESPR) at the École des Haute Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). In recent years, he has become increasingly prominent in France as a public intellectual, commenting in the media on a range of issues from education to European politics and Islamic fundamentalism. Ideas night falls on 27 January at RMIT, more here. The event is organised by the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy in conjunction with Social Imaginaries, an international journal of social theory and political philosophy. RMIT hosts La Nuit with support from the Centre for Communication, Politics and Culture, and has been conceived by Dr Natalie J. Doyle, Monash University.
The European Union Centre at RMIT and SAAA are very pleased to invite you to an event on 20 February, to discuss current and future research opportunities for Slovenians and Australians in research and other topics. There will be key speakers from the Slovenian community, industry and academia. Titles and a short abstract should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Topics most relevant to this discussion on research collaboration between Slovenia and Australia include immigration (such as current issues concerning Europe and Australia), multiculturalism, law, science, gender equality, biotechnology, health, education, trade and others.
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