australia

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade (MODSIT) and the World Bank launched a joint programme of technical assistance and advisory services to the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector and unleash the potential of Sri Lankan exports.

The Australian government will launch Friday, March 17, the AUD90-million Education Pathways for Peace in Mindanao (PATHWAYS) program. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will lead the official launching of the project, which will primarily benefit communities in Bangsamoro areas. The project is part of Australia’s long-standing commitment to support peace and stability in Mindanao.

When Australia’s Foreign Minister announced a $15 million contribution to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Data for Health initiative in March 2015, the program became a key way for Australia to improve outcomes of its overseas health aid. [...] Data for Health is showing its worth, allowing the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other partners to work with governments in developing countries on evidence-based health policies.

But as part of the inaugural Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia Topa) in Melbourne, cultural categorisation is inevitable. Although not the festival’s overt aim, Asia Topa and festivals like it – including Adelaide’s OzAsia festival – categorise performers according to geography and culture in an attempt to improve a still underdeveloped relationship between Australia and its neighbours.

Climate change and population growth are creating increasing pressure on food and water — and to solve the need, innovative solutions will be required. The issue of water scarcity in the near future is an issue Australia’s aid program is attempting to solve today. [...] Scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs and other creative minds are encouraged to compete as a team or individual.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have sent their congratulations to the China-Australia Year of Tourism 2017, which was officially launched in Sydney on Sunday. In his congratulatory message, Li said people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the Chinese and Australian people is one of the important pillars supporting the development of bilateral relations.

Dr Tobias Feakin, Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, took up his appointment in January. Unlike the Danish position, Ambassador Feakin’s role appears mainly focussed on cyber-security, but also includes voicing concerns about censorship, promoting internet access, and developing cyber capacity among our neighbours. It’s unclear at this stage to what extent Ambassador Feakin will be dealing directly with Google, Facebook and their ilk. 

While there are still only a few formal state-to-state linkages between Australia and India, there is clearly an increasing trend favoring subnational diplomacy. This is perhaps unsurprising, especially given the presence of a strong diaspora and student population in Australia with strong links to their Indian home states.

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