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CCH Seminar Series 2023 – Wed 23rd August, 11am – Liam Detering

11am, 19th July 2023
Burwood: C2.05.01
Waurn Ponds: IC2.108
Zoom link here.

The Value of International Education as Public Diplomacy in Australia: An India-Indonesia Comparative Analysis

International education remains critically important to the formation of Australia’s relationships within its geographical neighbourhood. As the world’s largest and third largest democracies, India and Indonesia hold great strategic value for Australia. However, international education exchanges from India and Indonesia to Australia remain largely unexplored in historical research to date. This is particularly true of private fee-paying students, who make up the majority of Australia’s international higher education cohort. I argue that international education should form the backbone of Australia’s public diplomacy efforts with both India and Indonesia as a means of fostering longer lasting and deeper people-to-people connections. In this presentation, I will outline the conceptual methodology that underpins my wider doctoral research. I will be combining the interviews I have conducted with private fee-paying Indian students with interviews of recent post-graduate students from Indonesia as well as oral history interviews from former Indonesian Colombo Plan scholars. This combination will highlight the very active role that these students have played in developing networks that contribute to the formation of Australia’s reputation within their home country. This presentation will showcase the continued aspirations and expectations of students who have sought out higher education opportunities in Australia and the continued benefit this delivers to all three countries.

Liam Detering is a mid-stage Ph.D. candidate and HDR member of the Centre for Contemporary Histories at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia. He is researching how international education contributes to the public diplomacy efforts of the Australian government in its relationship with India.