Soft Diplomacy Forum at The Wheeler Centre

Posted on May 11, 2014


I was very interested to attend the Soft Diplomacy Forum held by The Wheeler Centre in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne’s LAB initiative. Several of the speakers I know well and the topic relates directly to my experience of working with The British Council and my role at present with Australia Council. I was expecting there to be some Australia Council bashing or at least some negativity about the fact that we do not have a cultural diplomacy body in this country, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Kate Ben Tovim laud the collaboration she produced with DFAT and Katelijn Verstraete applaud the IETM Collaboration project of Australia Council. The speaker from Japan was a delegate at our Satellite meeting and opened up a soft and humane approach to international relations that was evident in our meeting. I enjoyed the flash and flair of Parmesh Shahani of India and was pleased when he also hung around to participate in the Satellite, adding a semi-commercial, enterpreneurial perspective to our discussions.