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    Anthony Low Commonwealth Lecture 2024

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    Event description

    VENUE CHANGE: Please note the event will take place at the Molonglo Theatre, Level 2, JG Crawford Building, 132 Lennox Crossing, Canberra ACT 2600, Australia

    Anthony Low Commonwealth Lecture 2024
    The Vice Chancellor's Fellow , University of Melbourne, Mr John McCarthy AO will deliver the annual lecture, named in honour of former ANU Vice-Chancellor and Commonwealth of Nations scholar, the late Professor Anthony Low AO.


    • 6-7pm - Lecture
    • 7-7.45pm - Light refreshments

    Tensions in foreign policy making: Dealing with the real world

    With a background of having served as Australian Head of Mission in major developed and developing countries (USA, Japan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Vietnam) John McCarthy will discuss the tensions in Australian external policy deriving from the pursuit of hard economic and security interests on the one hand and on the other, adherence to, and propagation of universal values and western precepts of governance.

    Mr McCarthy will also explore whether at this pivotal point in history, Australia and other western countries have the balance right between interests and values. 

    About the speaker 

    John McCarthy is Senior Adviser of Asialink. He was previously National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Sugden Fellow at the Queens College Melbourne, and the Chair of the Australia-India Council. His former diplomatic positions include Ambassador to Vietnam, Mexico, Thailand, the United States, Indonesia, Japan, and High Commissioner to India. In Canberra, he has worked as Chief of Staff to the Foreign Minister, Chief Legal Officer and Deputy Secretary. He was Barrister at Law in London and Attonery at Shearman and Sterling in New York. 

    Mr McCarthy is an Officer of the Order of Australia (1999). He has honourary doctorates from Murdoch and Griffin Universities. 

    The annual Commonwealth Lecture is an initiative of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) and the Commonwealth Round Table in Australia (CRTA) with thanks to ANU and the Low family for their ongoing support for this annual lecture.

    This is an in-person only event. Please join us for light refreshments after.

    Registration is essential as seating is strictly limited.

    Professor Donald Anthony Low AO

    Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University 1975–1982

    Professor Donald Anthony Low AO (1927–2015) was Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University from 1975–1982. A distinguished scholar and renowned student mentor his work spanned modern African, Asian and Commonwealth history. He was Founding Dean of the School of African and Asian Studies and a founder of the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University (1964– 1972). Other distinguished posts included Director in the Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU (1973–1975), Smuts Professor of the History of the British Commonwealth, Cambridge (1983–1994) and President of Clare Hall, Cambridge (1987-1994), and Founding Convenor, CRTA Canberra, 2002. His numerous publications include: (ed.) Soundings in Modern South Asian History (1968), Constitutional Heads and Political Crises (1988), The Egalitarian Moment 1950–80 (1996), Fabrication of Empire: The British and the Uganda Kingdoms,1890–1902 (2009).

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