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Australian consul general in N.Y. comes to CMU

Phillip H. Scanlan, the Australian consul general in New York, visited Carnegie Mellon and gave a lecture last Tuesday on the future of Australia in a changing world.

Scanlan focused on the future of the G-20 and how Australia’s position in the world will change as its neighboring developing nations like Indonesia advance economically.

Scanlan said that Australia is shifting its strategy from that of a big economy to that of a consistent high performer. According to Scanlan, Australia has thrived economically, but will soon be surpassed by its neighbors because of their higher populations.

Scanlan believes that the solution to this problem is global engagement. He said that if Australia works with its neighbors to promote cooperation in the southwest Pacific, it could create an economic environment where each nation benefits from each other’s growth through the free flow of ideas, people, and trade.

In order to promote international cooperation, Scanlan founded the non-governmental organization Australian American Leadership Dialogue to bring together young leaders from the U.S., China, India, Australia, and other nations to network and form a spirit of partnership and collaboration.

Scanlan has continued his efforts toward international cooperation as consul general through the New York Young Leaders program. The program gives young leaders the opportunity to discuss issues behind closed doors, free from the pressure of internal politics or other political and cultural norms that stand between their nations.

Master’s student at the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management Amy Badiani, who attended a luncheon with Scanlan on Wednesday, spoke positively of the program. “Because of [the program’s] nature behind closed doors ... young leaders have actually created change,” Badiani said.

Scanlan said the goal of constructing networks for leaders of various nations is to solve global issues multilaterally. Scanlan pointed to climate change, intellectual property reform, immigration, and the fight against human trafficking as global problems that require mutual cooperation to find and execute solutions. According to Scanlan, while unilateral action can improve the situation for one nation, without international accord, problems simply shift across borders.

Students who attended the lecture and luncheon seemed to find Scanlan’s ideas interesting. “I think it was good that he visited CMU, because he was able to convey Australia’s role in global politics,” Badiani said.

“[The lecture] was informative,” said Carmen Easterwood, a senior economics major. “He seems like a really intelligent guy.”