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On Tuesday 13 December the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy hosted a workshop of the Academic Network of the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA).
Dr. Jeremy Farrall, Fellow at APCD and Convenor of the UNAA Academic Network, explained that ‘the UNAA Academic Network brings together Australian academics and policy-makers engaged in United Nations research, teaching and policy development and analysis’. The purpose of the workshop was therefore ‘to discuss critical issues facing the United Nations and to provide a forum for Academic Members to connect with each other and develop collaborative research, teaching and policy agendas’.
The 13 December workshop provided ‘a terrific opportunity for Academic Network members to hold a lively interactive discussion with Ambassador Gillian Bird, the Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN, on recent policy developments at UN Headquarters in New York’. Participants also heard three innovative and engaging research papers by Network members, which spoke respectively to the broad UN themes of a ‘safer world’, a ‘fairer world’ and a ‘more sustainable world’. Professor John Langmore (Melbourne University) shared the findings of a recent study on Australia’s approach to mediation and conflict resolution. Dr. Wendy O’Brien (Deakin University), reported on recent activities undertaken by the UNAA Human Rights Project, including in conncetion with Australia’s first-ever campaign to join the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Professor Barbara Norman, of the University of Canberra, then presented on how to translate global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into action.
The proceedings of the workshop were launched by Major-General (retired) Mike Smith, National President of the UNAA and a Visiting Fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy. He explained that:
The UNAA exists to inform, inspire and engage Australians on the critical work, goals and values of the United Nations, particularly where it contributes to peace, human rights, sustainable development and the maintenance of a rules-based international order. Through its policies and numerous organizational entities the United Nations strives to create a safer world, a fairer world and a more sustainable world. The effectiveness of the United Nations, however, crucially depends on the support of its 193 member states, plus the civil society sector of member states that influence the United Nations and their national governments.