College hosts Foreign Policy School

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Rt Hon Winston Peters, opened the 53rd University of Otago Foreign Policy School which was held at the College from 29 June to 1 July 2018.

As the School took place during the mid-year University holiday period, not many Members were around to see the various dignitaries who attended. However, those who were in residence enjoyed having their photos taken with the Acting Prime Minister who was only too happy to smile for the camera!

The theme of this year's School was Asia-Pacific Diplomacy in Transition: Ideas, Institutions and Issues. Over 150 delegates attended and were treated to a variety of interesting talks by academics, diplomats, journalists, public service specialists and other experts. 

This year, the School was directed by Prof Robert Patman of the University's Department of Politics and Professor Patrick Köllner, Vice President of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and Director of the Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg, Germany. The Co-ordinator (i.e. chief organiser!) of the School was the University's Balazs Kiglics.

In keeping with the University's special town and gown relationship, the Mayor of Dunedin, Mr David Cull, and the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof Vernon Squire, welcomed everyone warmly to the School.

Speakers included the following high profile people:

  • Dr Kurt Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Chairman and CEO of The Asia Group LLC, Washington D.C.
  • Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director, the APEC Secretariat, Singapore
  • Mr Simon Draper, Executive Director, Asia New Zealand Foundation, Wellington
  • Ms Barbara Dreaver, 1 News Pacific Correspondent, Auckland

The School received much publicity in the news media over the weekend. For instance:

The College thanks all its staff, led by Conference Manager, Rozi MacRae, who were involved in ensuring a successful event. The Kitchen at St Margaret's provided the most wonderful food and refreshments, the Housekeeping and Property staff ensured that our facilities were spick and span, the Waiting staff exercised their excellent skills and the Business & IT Manager made sure that the technology worked well amongst other things.

It was a pleasure to again host the 53rd Foreign Policy School at St Margaret's College. According to the organiser, Balazs Kiglics, delegates thoroughly enjoyed the School and the College. He tells us that they would like to hold the 54th School at the College again next year!

(Story by the Master, Dr Charles Tustin)

Posted: Monday July 2, 2018