Affiliations and Connections
The Soft Power Analysis and Resource Centre will seek affiliations and connections with key national and international organisations in both the public and private sector, relevant government agencies and select academic institutions that are involved in the study, advocacy and application of soft power and public diplomacy.
Macquarie University SPARC Launch: Secretary's Congratulatory Message
I would like to commend Macquarie University for the work of its 'Soft Power Research Group' over the last three years and the contribution it has made to expanding the multidisciplinary focus and breadth of public diplomacy debate in Australia.
Public diplomacy is a core function of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in achieving key foreign and trade policy objectives and promoting a positive and accurate image of Australia on the world stage. People to people links, including engagement in the education, business, science, sports, and cultural sectors, are key pillars of our public diplomacy strategy.
The Department is strongly committed to working closely with community, business and academic groups to develop innovative ways of advancing our public diplomacy interests. I would like to congratulate Macquarie University for launching the SPARC and wish university staff and students and their strategic partners all the best for the future work of the centre.
I commend in particular SPARC's regional focus, including Australia-China-India cooperation to promote people to people links, which the Department strongly supports within the context of our bilateral relationships with China and India. The Department looks forward to engaging with SPARC on public diplomacy issues.
Message from H.E. Mr Peter N. Varghese AO, Australian High Commissioner to India
Public diplomacy deals in the currency of public perceptions. It is about shaping these perceptions in ways which advance our interests.
Today, public diplomacy is an essential handmaiden of traditional diplomacy and its importance will only increase in a global economy and a global media stuffed full of rapidly changing images.
For our relationship with India, public diplomacy is essential if we are to build the strategic partnership which both government desire and which our converging interests make necessary.
We start not from scratch but from behind. And each government has a facilitating role to play in modernising and rounding out the view our communities have of each other.
But in the end the hard yards of public diplomacy are gained not by governments but by individuals and groups. It is the networks in the arts, in business, in education and in all the other nooks and crannies of community life which underpin a people-to-people relationship.
So while governments may have articulated the concept of public diplomacy, it is only those outside of government who can in the end deliver on its promise. That is why I welcome the inauguration of Macquarie University's Soft Power and Advocacy Research Centre.
Message from H.E. Ms Frances Adamson, Australian Ambassador to China
The establishment of the SPARC at Macquarie University is an excellent example of innovative and forward-looking research by Australian education institutions.
Whether in foreign policy, trade and investment settings, education, defence, culture, immigration, or the myriad other fields which involve international engagement, understanding the role, reach and utility of advocacy, and its relationship to the building and maintenance of soft power, is of central importance to how countries press their interests and succeed in having their voice heard.
In recent years, China, too, has begun to pay increased attention to issues of soft power, global image and international advocacy. This reinforces the importance of research into this issue.
I wish the Centre every success in its opening phase, and look forward to continued engagement in the years ahead.