Australian Institute of International Affairs

The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) is an independent, non-profit organisation promoting interest in and understanding of international affairs in Australia.

It provides a forum for discussion and debate, but does not seek to formulate its own institutional views. The institute arranges programs of lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences and other discussions, and sponsors research and publications. The AIIA was formed in 1924 and established as a federal body in 1933 and is the only nationwide organisation of its kind in Australia. It is financed by members’ contributions, a small government subvention and tax deductible donations from individuals and businesses.

The AIIA consists of a number of independent branches, which are located in seven Australian states and territories, and a National Office in Canberra. Read about the AIIA’s organisational structure. In addition, close contact is maintained with the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, and with sister institutes and similarly minded organisations around the world.

The AIIA provides a wide range of opportunities for the dissemination of information and free expression of views on these matters through discussion and publication. Precluded by its constitution from expressing any opinion of its own on international affairs, the AIIA provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of a wide range of views. Through the National Office and branches, the AIIA achieves its mission of promoting interest in and understanding of international affairs, including politics, economics and international law.

Event Details

Panel One: Regional Security

The potential for conflict looms large in the national consciousness of South Korea. For nearly 70 years, the Korean Peninsula has been divided, with prospects for reunification dwindling as the two countries' priorities diverge. In recent months, the North has launched numerous missiles throughout the region, most notably those that entered Japanese territory. South Korea's external relations are also necessarily framed by its proximity to two other giants whose priorities and actions are also at odds with the democracies of the Indo-Pacific: Russia and China. With China's increasing grey zone activities and Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, South Korea must manage its regional presence with great care. How does South Korea navigate such a precarious regional security context? How does South Korea balance its peninsular security concerns with broader regional trends? What is South Korea's role in the Indo-Pacific in the context of potential great power conflict?

Panel Two: Regional Frameworks

In November 2022 at the ASEAN summit in Cambodia, Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced a long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy for South Korea. Yoon made clear that South Korea is committed to "principles of freedom, peace and prosperity built on a rules-based order" in the Indo-Pacific. This echoes the Indo-Pacific strategies put forth by the United States, South Korea's closest ally, and Japan, South Korea's former coloniser with whom it still maintains frosty relations. Yet South Korea cannot ignore Japan if it wants to be a player in the Indo-Pacific. As such, the new strategy should not just be seen in the context of great power politics, it also provides an avenue for improved Korea-Japan relations. As South Korea integrates into regional frameworks such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the CPTPP, and others, how can it use these fora to move forward in its relations with Japan? More broadly, what does this new strategy signal for the future of South Korean foreign policy?

Panel Three: Soft Power & Democracy

As the Indo-Pacific region increasingly progresses toward competition between democracies and autocracies, understanding the nuances of the region's domestic politics and democratic expression has become increasingly important. South Korea's most recent presidential elections were seen as a win for nobody, though a president representing a different party than the previous president is now in power. The swing vote was young, male voters who were concerned with former president Moon's more progressive family and gender policies. Yet this development should not attract the same level of alarm as similar trends in Western democracies. Men in South Korea are subject to mandatory service, while women are not, resulting in a fraught landscape for creating equitable gender policy. This also extends to mega pop starts, as K-Pop group BTS announced a pause to their musical career to enter the Korean military. What does gender policy look like in South Korea in the context of mandatory service for men? How can Korea leverage its significant soft power as it seeks to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific?

Seminar: How to Write an Op-Ed

***This event will be held in person in Brisbane (venue TBC). Attendance is free, and all-day catering will be provided.***


October 6, 2023

Main Schedule

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Check in
9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Bryce Wakefield (National Executive Director of Australian Institute of International Affairs)
9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
Panel One: Regional Security
Adam Bartley (Managing Editor, Australian Outlook at RMIT University/AIIA National)
11:00 AM - 11:20 AM
Morning tea
11:20 AM - 12:35 PM
Panel Two: Regional Frameworks
12:35 PM - 1:35 PM
1:35 PM - 2:50 PM
Panel Three: Soft Power and Democracy
2:50 PM - 3:00 PM
Closing remarks
Paul Lucas (State President at AIIA - Qld Branch)
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Afternoon tea and networking
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Seminar: How to Write an Op-Ed
Adam Bartley (Managing Editor, Australian Outlook at RMIT University/AIIA National)


Adam Bartley (Managing Editor, Australian Outlook at RMIT University/AIIA National)

Adam Bartley

Managing Editor, Australian Outlook at RMIT University/AIIA National

Paul Lucas (State President at AIIA - Qld Branch)

Paul Lucas

State President at AIIA - Qld Branch

Lauren Richardson

Lecturer at The Australian National University

Bryce Wakefield (National Executive Director of Australian Institute of International Affairs)

Bryce Wakefield

National Executive Director of Australian Institute of International Affairs

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