HONOLULU (Oct. 24, 2012) – For two days this week, senior American and Australian policymakers, entrepreneurs, journalists and academics met at the East-West Center for the annual Honolulu session of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue.
A bipartisan private initiative, the dialogue brings together thinkers, business people, journalists and policymakers from both countries to engage in frank and thorough exploration of matters of mutual interest, especially issues on which Australia and the United States can provide critically needed leadership by working together and cooperatively with other partners.
(Click here to read an account of the meeting by participant Joanne Wallis of Australian National University.)
Since 2008, the East-West Center has been host to the annual Honolulu Dialogue, which complements the long-standing AALD – now in its 20th year – which is held on alternative years in Washington, DC and a city in Australia. The Honolulu meetings allow for interaction between the Australian leaders and American participants from the academic, business, cultural, governmental, and security communities.
Topics covered at this year’s dialogue included an update on politics in Australia and the United States, clean energy and natural resource issues, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade initiative, Asian regional issues including territorial disputes, and cultural and people-to-people ties. The Australian participants were also briefed by the Pacific Command and viewed the final U.S. presidential debate, which focused on foreign policy.
Among the Australian participants were Phil Scanlan, Australian Consul-General in New York and founder of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue; Bernie Ripoll, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer; Andrew Robb, Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction; James Cook University President Sandra Harding, Sydney Morning Herald political editor Peter Hartcher, and BHP Billiton Vice President Mark Swinnerton. The Australian Consul-General in Honolulu, Scott Dewar, was both a participant and an organizer of the dialogue.
U.S. participants included Hawai‘i congressional Representative Colleen Hanabusa and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, along with a variety of academic, business and other leaders from Hawai‘i and the U.S. mainland.