Centre Goes to Washington
It is a tremendous opportunity and privilege to be travelling to the United States next month to participate in the State Department’s premier foreign exchange program, the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP).
For two weeks in June, I will travel with twenty emerging leaders from around the world to Washington D.C., New York, Lincoln Nebraska and Seattle - on a public policy program entitled “U.S. Foreign Policy Decision Making.”
Since the 1940s, the IVLP exchange has built relationships and understanding between the U.S. and cross-disciplinary professionals from around the world. Each year, over 4,500 IVLP participants are selected to travel to the U.S. to meet and confer with counterparts in their field.
Whilst the IVLP holds a daunting alumni list of heads of state and leaders of government, the vast majority of IVLP participants have predominantly gone on to make good and decent contributions to public and private life in their respective nation.
Nominated as a Research Officer of the Perth USAsia Centre (my colleague Erin Watson-Lynn is also a former IVLP participant), this program is an examination of and education on U.S. foreign policy processes, players and priorities. Planned delegate meetings include briefings with the State Department, Congress, the Pentagon and the United Nations, as well as with coastal and Midwest farm federations, chambers of commerce and climate change groups.
This is very much a “listen and learn” trip. Foreign policy analysis during my two-and-a-half year stint at the Centre has often been characterised by global uncertainty: about President Trump and U.S. foreign policy, about President Xi and the trajectory of U.S.-China relations, about change to the global order and about the technological disruption accelerating such change.
Acknowledging longstanding global debate about the international role of the U.S., WA Governor and former Ambassador to the U.S. The Honourable Kim Beazley AC has often remarked that the debate inside the U.S. regarding its foreign policy is always louder and more pronounced than outside the country. As an Australian delegate, whose country partners so closely with the U.S. on both economic and strategic matters, I look forward to learning from and exchanging ideas with both senior and everyday Americans on these issues.
It is with great warmth and appreciation I thank U.S. Consul General in Perth Rachel Cooke and her dedicated staff for nominating me for the IVLP. Further, the professional and educational support provided to me by the Centre over recent years has been extraordinary. If not for partaking in the Centre’s official engagement with the sharpest strategic minds of the Indo-Pacific region, including from the U.S., I would not have the opportunity or fledgling foreign policy acumen to undertake the trip.
The Perth USAsia Centre is fundamentally about understanding and enhancing Western Australia and Australia’s place in the dynamic Indo-Pacific region. I look forward to not only building global relationships through the IVLP, but also leveraging this unique experience to further contribute to the Centre’s important work.