Professor Andrew O’Neill, Director, Griffith Asia Institute - Advancing regional engagement and informed policy making


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Andrew O'Neill delivered the presentation at the 2014 Australia Asia Education Engagement Symposium.

The Australia Asia Education Engagement Symposium explores key drivers for engagement and set in context the urgent need for Australia to focus attention on building deeper and broader education coalitions and partnerships with Asia.

For more information about the event, please visit:

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Professor Andrew O’Neill, Director, Griffith Asia Institute - Advancing regional engagement and informed policy making

  1. 1. 1 Advancing Regional Engagement and Informed Policy Making: Universities and Track 2 Dialogue Andrew O’Neil Presentation to the Australia Asia Education Symposium Melbourne, 1 April 2014
  2. 2. What is track 2 dialogue? •  Commonly understood as bringing together those outside government for full and frank exchange of perspectives on specific policy related questions. •  Historically they have merged with 1.5 track dialogues where policy makers have had the opportunity to float new ideas without committing to them. •  Based on a belief that non-government forums, involving individuals operating autonomously, can generate ideas and specific proposals on key policy challenges.
  3. 3. Track 2 dialogue ‘Citizens could take some action rather than simply being bystanders while the grown-up governments act like jerks’. Joseph V. Montville
  4. 4. Regional dialogues: Griffith’s experience •  Seen as a way of engaging strategic research partners. •  Has a distinctive and coherent policy focus. •  Aims to build links with industry and government partners, in Australia and in the region. •  Generates new knowledge in relation to applied policy areas (e.g. outcomes papers). •  Includes a range of individuals with diverse perspectives.
  5. 5. Australia-China Dialogue: 2009—2013
  6. 6. Australia-Japan Dialogue: 2010—
  7. 7. Australia-Indonesia Dialogue: 2013—
  8. 8. Australia-Korea Dialogue: 2013—
  9. 9. How can universities engage? •  Universities are uniquely placed to take the initiative in co- sponsoring track 2 dialogue with regional partners. Consider the following: !  Universities have well-established existing partnerships with Asian institutions, many of which are based on deep personal networks among academics. !  Universities can bring sustained intellectual rigour to bear on major policy challenges of the day. !  By their very nature, universities have wide global networks through staff, students, and alumni.
  10. 10. Why should universities engage? •  Provides opportunities for the establishment of long term relationships beyond the dialogues themselves—helps to open doors. •  Provides a window into best practice in the region in tackling difficult policy challenges. •  Raises cultural awareness while promoting new knowledge and strategic partnerships. •  Showcases international partnerships.
  11. 11. What are the key challenges? •  Funding—who pays? •  Ensuring partners remain engaged and interested. •  Freshness and relevance of themes. •  Fostering substantive outcomes and measuring their impact. •  Logistical focus daunting, particularly for large dialogues.
  12. 12. What are the key challenges? •  Language barriers. •  Profile and dissemination in busy marketplace. •  Ensuring expertise and representation among participants. •  Which part of the university should coordinate? •  Bilateral or multilateral focus?
  13. 13. Summary •  Dialogues can inject profile into a university’s global engagement activities. •  Can yield fresh perspectives on enduring policy challenges. •  Potential to open doors to longer term strategic partnerships. •  Challenge of quantifying outcomes and results.