2024 Indian Ocean Conference

On 9-10 February 2024, Australia hosted the 7th annual Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) in Perth. The Perth USAsia Centre was proud to partner with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the India Foundation to support this event.

The Indian Ocean holds security, economic, and environmental significance for Australia. But major economic and strategic shifts, from great power competition to climate change and emerging technologies, are reshaping the region. In this context, Australia needs strong partnerships with countries across the region, to support stability and prosperity.

This year’s IOC brought together ministers and heads of state from more than 30 countries across the Indian Ocean region. Under the theme ‘Towards a Stable and Sustainable Indian Ocean’, participants engaged in two days’ of dialogue aimed at collectively addressing maritime, climate, and strategic challenges. It was the first time Australia hosted this important gathering.

The Centre played a lead role in facilitating discussions between Australia and its Indian Ocean partners.

Research Director Dr Kate O’Shaughnessy facilitated a fireside chat between Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and her Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar. Concurrently, First Nations Foreign Policy Fellow Sarah Leary moderated a ministerial lunch focused on sharing First Nations knowledge and culture. The event was attended by approximately 35 heads of state, heads of government, ministers, high-level multilateral representatives, and select distinguished guests including Australia’s Ambassador for First Nations.

Professor Flake moderated a panel on the Blue Economy, drawing an audience of 50 attendees, while Dr O’Shaughnessy led a ministerial discussion featuring foreign ministers from Mauritius and Timor-Leste, Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister, and Fiji’s High Commissioner to Australia.

The Centre’s CEO, Professor Gordon Flake, External Relations Director Dr Lisa Cluett, and Dr O’Shaughnessy served as Masters of Ceremony, guiding the 400 delegates through various segments of the event, including a gala dinner at which ministers Wong and Jaishankar delivered keynote addresses setting out their vision for the Indian Ocean region.

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