Bruce Allen Memorial Lecture

The annual Bruce Allen Memorial Lecture was first introduced in 2003 by the Macquarie University Centre for International Communication. From 2011, this important event will form part of the SPARC annual calendar of events. 

Bruce Allen's biography

Bruce AllenBruce Allen made pioneering contributions to current affairs television production at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), to the international activities of the then Australian Film and Television School (now AFTRS) and to policy development at the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (now the ABA).

As a member of the ABT he took a leading role in inquiries into Australian Content and Children's Television Standards. An innovator in current affairs television, he helped develop 'Monday Conference' and 'First Wednesday ' for the ABC and 'Newsday Forums' for the CBC in Canada.

He was a founding director of Television Australia. He directed 'Late Night Line Up' at the BBC and worked at ABC on 'This Day Tonight' and ' Four Corners'.

At the time of his death in 2001, Bruce was lecturing in communication policy at Macquarie University's Centre of International Communication.

Previous Bruce Allen Lectures

  • 2014 - Maureen Barron, Chief Executive of Screen New South Wales: "The soft power and public diplomacy of Australian film and television".
  • 2013 - Peter Varghese A.O.  (Secretary of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Australia): "Building Australia's soft power".
  • 2012 - Murray Green (Honorary Professor, SPARC, Rtd, Director International, ABC): "Connecting Attitudes, Aspirations and Values: Australia's Media Engagement in the Asia Pacific and Apprenticeship in Soft Power".
  • 2011 - Maurice Newman A.C. (Chairman, ABC): "Broadcasting Australia: Antipodal Soft Power"
  • 2009 - Mark Scott (Managing Director, ABC): "A global ABC: Soft Diplomacy and the World of International Broadcasting"
  • 2008 - The Hon Maxine McKew MP: " 'So you've crossed the Rubicon...What's it like?' A commentary on politics and the media"
  • 2007 - Geraldine Doogue: "Australian Media - A SWOT Analysis".
  • 2006 - Robyn Williams: "Where did they bury the skeletons? On surviving 34 years at the ABC without becoming one"
  • 2005 - Peter Thompson: "The Republic of Ideas"
  • 2004 - Kerry O'Brien : " Spinning the Public Sphere"
  • 2003 - Stuart Littlemore QC: "Doing Favours: The Murdoch Telegraph, Tony Abbott and Pauline Hanson".

SPARC conferences

SPARC Conference - CHINDIAN visions of soft power generated peace and stability

17 and 18 October 2013

CHINDIA is a geo-cultural concept that describes cultural terrains where Chinese and Indian civilisations meet and where they sometimes overlap.   These terrains include discourses and exchanges of material culture between Chinese and Indian civilisations, and discourses and cultural exchange within and between cultures that have grown between these civilizations, in Asia and - through diasporic presences - further afield.

Himalayan, South Asian and South East Asian polities and cultures are loci for an alluring cultural hybridity - in fact hybridities that are attractive to Chinese and Indians as well as to regional cousin cultures and the world at large.  Australia, as the hybrid home of a plexus of diasporic communities - including Chindian diasporas - has its own soft power vis-a-vis the region.

The conference will focus not only on the two giants, China and India, and their soft power in relation to neighbors and countries further afield, but also on the soft power of Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand - both in terms of external relations and governance at home. The notion of soft power at home is associated with governing based on attractive policies drawing on dialogic practices.

The overall question that the conference will pose is whether soft power approaches based on dialogic communication, cooperation and reciprocal benefits can help fashion more peaceful and stable environments? The conference will seek to address this question through examining the following:

  1. External soft power
    1. Chinese and Indian soft power
    2. Issues of cooperation and soft power
    3. Education, culture and soft power
  2. Internal soft power
    1. In post-conflict and civil unrest situations
    2. Urbanization in Vietnam
    3. Sustainability education in India
  3. Cases
    1. Practices of public diplomacy by the great powers in Indonesia
    2. Thailand's soft power - internal and external

SPARC launch

University launches world's first Soft Power Advocacy & Research Centre

18 April 2012

SPARC-Nye's inauguration launchMacquarie University has opened the world's first research centre dedicated to the investigation and development of 'soft power' in international relations. Professor Joseph Nye officially launched the Soft Power Advocacy and Research Centre (SPARC) at a ceremony in Sydney on Tuesday evening.

Professor Joseph Nye is a world-leading scholar, thinker and practitioner in international relations. Among his many achievements is his pioneering work in demonstrating the concepts of "soft power" and "smart power" as real influencers in world politics. 

This afternoon Professor Nye will receive an honorary doctorate for his contribution to the field of international relations. His career has spanned both academic and political arenas: he is University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and previously served as director of the Centre for International Affairs, and Dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He has also held numerous positions in government, including service as Deputy to the US Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology; chair of the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons; chairman of the National Intelligence Council; and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

SPARC-Launch representativesThe launch event gathered representatives from a range of organisations to consider the future of public diplomacy, including The Lowy Institute, The Global Foundation, DFAT, NSW Government and the ABC.

Researchers and students at SPARC will develop new theories and debate around models for soft power and public diplomacy through cooperative projects and ventures related to soft power and public diplomacy, particularly between Australia, China and India.

Other lectures and seminars

Lectures and seminars

In June 2010, Macquarie University hosted the inaugural Soft Power public lecture which focused on cultural diplomacy in Afghanistan. The lecture, titled 'Heritage in Afghanistan: Nine Years after Bamiyan', was presented by Professor Amareswar Galla, a leading expert on museums, sustainable heritage development and poverty alleviation through culture.

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