Chapter 7 - People-to-people links and relationship building as part of Australia's public diplomacy
Whether it is based on international conferences or seminars; on reviews
of existing public diplomacy programs; or on the experiences of practitioners
or students of public diplomacy, the literature on public diplomacy emphasises
the importance of dialogue as a critical element of good public diplomacy.
Thus, public diplomacy is not only about projecting an image; it is about
engagement and relationship building.
This chapter considers how effectively Australia's public diplomacy programs build
and sustain Australia's network of relationships with other countries.
Public diplomacy—a two-way street
Overseas studies on public diplomacy recognise that public diplomacy
cannot be one-dimensional; that it must be more than projecting an image or
delivering a message. They stress that public diplomacy is about engagement and
building relationships that ensure that links and communications systems between
countries continue to function despite tensions or breakdowns in formal
diplomacy. Rainer Schlageter noted:
In order to be successful, today’s public diplomacy has to go
beyond traditional ‘one-way-street’ information work: It should be a dialogue
and a steady discussion with the goal to establish a long-term relationship
with foreign audiences and in particular with the leadership from all fields of
Previous inquiries—the importance of people-to-people links
Recent inquiries by parliamentary committees and academic research on Australia's
relations with specific countries provide valuable insight into the network of
relationships that underpin formal diplomacy. The JSCFADT and the Senate
Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade References Committee have conducted a number
of inquiries into Australia's relations with countries including Japan, China, Indonesia
and Malaysia. All reports have emphasised the importance of building
people-to-people links as a means of sustaining a healthy, strong and mutually
beneficial relationship. For example, in its report on Australia's relations
with China, the Senate committee recognised the benefits that derive from
building a lasting network of friendships with another country. It found:
...any relationship between two nations cannot be viewed purely in
economic terms. The bilateral relationship comprises a complex web of
interrelationships between a diverse range of actors. Contributors to the
ongoing evolution of the relationship include individuals, community
organisations, educational institutions, sporting associations, scientific and
technological research agencies and bodies, NGOs, sub-national governments, and
federal, state and local government departments, to name but a few.
The committee believed that the possibilities for deepening Australia's
relationship with China were enormous. It acknowledged that the challenge was
to identify and recognise the vital role that various stakeholders play in
contributing to the strength and vitality of the bilateral relationship, and to
support them in their activities.
The JSCFADT provided another example of the vital role of
people-to-people links in its report on Australia's relations with Indonesia.
One of the strongest themes that appeared in the evidence
received during the course of this inquiry was the importance of the
people-to-people links in building Australia’s relationship with Indonesia. It
was a theme stressed by the myriad government agencies that made submissions to
this inquiry, by teachers and academics and by individuals.
These observations apply with equal force to other countries and clearly
show that people-to-people links are the lynch pin of Australia's public
diplomacy. Indeed, the committee's inquiry into public diplomacy further
underlined the critical importance of these associations.
In this regard, RMIT recognised that while public diplomacy is about
transmitting values and ideas 'by influencing the way individuals think and feel,
it cannot be done "remotely"'. It argued that public diplomacy 'requires
person-to-person interaction through a variety of media and fora to support not
only the messages Government wishes to convey but the dialogue which must
Mr Chris Freeman, a public affairs practitioner with extensive experience in Australia’s
public policy programs over the last 30 years or so, also noted:
On the broader question of the selling of our views, our
philosophies, our governance and the way we approach things in Australia, I
agree that the key really is having people-to-people links and bringing people
out to have a look for themselves or sending people over there to talk to
people. It is not something that can be sold by putting out publications and
hammering away at people.
Reinforcing this view, Geoff Miller said that public diplomacy was about
'cultivating good relations against the day you need them'.
The following section looks at some of the main public diplomacy
programs designed to forge people-to-people links. These include exchange and
Education and exchange programs
Previous parliamentary committees have noted the importance of
in-country training for building personal networks and as a means of improving
mutual understanding between countries.
They urged the government to support programs that encourage Australian
students or professionals to study or train in other countries, particularly in
Asia, and for overseas students to study in Australia. For example, with
regard to Indonesia, the JSCFADT noted:
It is extremely important that Australian students are given the
opportunity and encouragement to study in Indonesia. Australian students who do
so ultimately enrich not only their own but Australia's expertise and
understanding of Indonesia and the Indonesian language. As young ambassadors
for Australia, they also send a strong signal of our interest in Indonesia, and
through their interactions, present opportunities for Indonesians to increase
their understanding about Australia and Australians.
The committee has selected the Youth Ambassador program and the
Endeavour scholarships among the many similar types of activities for more
The Australian Youth Ambassadors
for Development Program
The Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development Program (AYAD) was established
in 1998 to strengthen mutual understanding between Australia and the countries
of the Asia Pacific. It is an AusAID-led program that sends around 400 young
Australians per year to developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The
program places skilled young Australians, aged 18-30, on short-term assignments
of between 3-12 months, in developing countries throughout the Asia-Pacific
region. They work with Australian organisations and their overseas counterparts
in a broad range of areas that include health, environment, rural development,
gender, governance, justice, education and infrastructure development.
The purpose of the program is to strengthen mutual understanding and for
the Youth Ambassadors to make a positive contribution to the development of
their 'host' country. It is designed to allow young people to gain 'an
increased understanding of the development needs of our neighbouring countries
and broaden their experience by living and working in a cross-cultural
According to Mr Alan March, Assistant Director General, AusAID, there
have been 2,000 Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development to date, and the
number is expected to rise to 2,500 by 2008.
The scheme provides media training for possible promotional
opportunities while the youth ambassadors are overseas. Upon return, they are
encouraged to share their story with the media and community in general. Mr
March acknowledged, however, that AusAID does not yet have a systematic
approach to capture the experiences and maximise the benefits of the program.
The Australian Leadership Awards
The Australian Leadership Awards Program offers scholarships and
fellowships to academically gifted scholars from the Asia-Pacific region. The
fellowship program provides short term study, research and professional
attachment programs in Australia delivered by Australian organisations that
provide these study, research and professional development activities in Australia.
Fellows are 'leaders or mid-career professionals from the Asia-Pacific region
who have the potential to assume leadership roles that can influence social and
economic policy reform and development outcomes, both in their own countries
and in the region'.
During their stay in Australia, these students have the opportunity to acquire
a greater understanding of life in Australia and the way Australians think and
behave. Usually, they become favourably disposed toward Australians and form
close associations with teachers, mentors and fellow students. For example, Ms Fiona
Buffington, Australian Education International, DEST, observed that many of
the international students that have studied in Australia have returned to
their homes 'with a perspective of Australia that has been very positive for
our diplomacy and they have probably been some of our greatest advocates and
We are aware that there are some very well regarded people who
are now well placed in senior appointments in the region who had the
opportunity for an education courtesy of the Colombo Plan, so that era through
to the mid-eighties was a very positive one for Australia.
As a result of all the programs designed to bring foreign students to
Australian shores, including the Australian Leadership Awards Program, DEST
There are now many businesses, political and cultural leaders in
the Asia-Pacific region counted among the alumni of Australian universities and
colleges. Many of these leaders came to Australia under the highly successful
Colombo Plan of the 1950s. A new generation of scholars are now building on
this tradition with some 318,000 international students studying in Australia in
2006, drawn not just from the Asia-Pacific region but from over 200 countries
around the globe.
These students are gaining a first-hand experience of Australian
people, institutions and our way of life. The experiences gained and
friendships formed provide the basis for the goodwill in the personal, business
and political relationships of the future.
The sheer number of 318,000 international students studying in Australia
in 2006 alone is impressive.
The network of current and former students provides an enormous pool of people,
many of whom have taken up professional positions in their own country and can
and do assist in promoting Australia's reputation.
Support for education programs
The committee found overwhelming support for programs designed to
attract foreign students to Australian educational institutions and for
Australian students to study overseas. Some submitters called for the numbers
of students involved in the overseas study programs to be increased. Dr Broinowski
stressed the importance of more Australians spending 'more time in our
region—if necessary, with the support of a public diplomacy program—going,
learning and coming back'.
Mr Freeman suggested that Australia might boost the numbers of people coming
to Australia and send more Australians to the region.
RMIT recommended that in the short term, the opportunities for 'Australian
students to study abroad and for international students to study in Australia
should be increased, and with it financial support for them to take up these
opportunities'. It suggested that:
This need not simply be a matter of more funded scholarships,
although they would be welcome: such a strategy might also involve tax
incentives for individuals or employers sponsoring staff studying overseas or
international students studying in Australia; remission of HECS debt for
existing Australians studying overseas, and government to government arrangements
regarding student exchange and scholarship programs.
The committee notes the immediate benefits to public diplomacy of
Australians studying and working overseas and of foreign students and
professionals doing the same in Australia. The committee was also interested in
how Australia consolidates and builds on the relationships that develop while
students are studying in the country. In the following section it considers measures
taken to maintain contact with overseas students.
Opportunities to build on education
While acknowledging the value of programs such as the Youth Ambassador
program and the Endeavour scholarships, some witnesses suggested that
opportunities were being missed to capitalise on the benefits already deriving
from the programs. Indeed, responding to a question about whether the Australian
Leadership Awards Program could contribute more to Australia's public diplomacy,
Mr March indicated that more could be done:
[T]he case was put to us that for a small amount of money and a
small amount of effort a lot more could be made by harnessing that experience
and harnessing that network and working with it. We have got that message and
we are looking at how we can take it forward.
Most of the suggestions concerned with Australia's education programs
and lost opportunities related to alumni.
Previous parliamentary inquiries have given much attention to alumni
associations as a means of developing and strengthening relationships with
overseas students who have studied in Australia.
In its report on Australia's relations with China, the Senate Foreign Affairs,
Defence and Trade References Committee presented evidence suggesting that
developing alumni programs 'is one of the most effective ways of strengthening
linkages' with another country. Evidence indicated that more could be done in
this area. For example, the Australia–China Council informed the committee that
'with greater funding it could take a more proactive role in developing alumni
associations for Chinese students that had studied in Australia'.
At that time, the committee noted the active alumni program run through the
British Council, 'whereby UK alumni are invited to sporting, cultural,
educational and networking events aimed at promoting the UK'.
In its report on Australia's relations with Indonesia, the JSCFADT also referred
to evidence supporting the development and maintenance of strong alumni ties.
One witness before that committee, Professor Hal Hill, ANU, made reference to
the role that strong alumni networks can play in promoting Australian
education. He suggested that there was scope for the Australian Embassy in Jakarta
to do more in this regard. The view was supported by his colleague, Dr Chris Manning,
ANU, who noted that by the time students had reached important positions in Indonesia,
their association with Australia has dissipated significantly. To avoid the
weakening of ties, he proposed that Australia draw from the Japanese experience
and provide government support for the alumni relationships.
Evidence to this committee adds weight to these findings about the
importance of continuing engagement with alumni. DFAT recognised the
contribution that alumni could make to Australia's public diplomacy. It stated
that the department regards alumni as 'another natural partner in our efforts
to promote Australia's standing as a diverse, tolerant and open society'.
According to DFAT, overseas posts actively foster links with these
A number of witnesses agreed with evidence presented to previous committees
in that there is scope to strengthen alumni associations. Mr Mirchandani was of
the view that ongoing relations with overseas students who had graduated from
Australian universities could be followed up more strongly than they are:
Students come to Australia; they certainly regard Australia very
well; they develop good contacts with the institutions; and they could form the
great basis of an alumni association, if you like—a global alumni association,
which could work on Australia’s behalf.
My personal belief...is that this has not been followed through,
shall we say, by the relevant department in a strategic way as to how you nurture
these relationships, how you keep them as long-term relationships, how you
follow the careers of those who are marked as successes back in their own
countries and maintain the contact so that they become key influences on
Dr Julie Wells, Director, Policy and Planning, RMIT University, gave the
We run a number of promotional events with our alumni offshore.
For example, we recently ran one in Singapore, which was a careers expo run in
partnership with the City of Melbourne. When we approach DFAT for support or
engagement, we get enthusiastic cooperation, but it is not systematic and it is
not strategic; it is ad hoc.
We will get approaches from DFAT. For example, we recently
received a request from a DFAT official to visit us and talk about our alumni
in Mauritius. But we are operating in a context-free zone, and I think we could
make much more of this if the focus around public diplomacy could be shifted to
accommodate an industry engagement framework that involves universities.
Ms Fiona Buffington acknowledged that the department had found it hard
to keep track of the many who had participated in the Colombo Plan between 1950
and 1985 because it pre-dated the era of computer databases.
She informed the committee that they had reviewed and evaluated the lack of
engagement with students from the Colombo Plan.
Turning to the Endeavour scholarships and the Australia scholarship
scheme, she advised the committee that from the beginning, 'we have been
setting up a database so that will be able to track and stay in touch with the
students, hopefully for their lifetime'.
She explained the potential to use this data base to keep in touch with former
students which would enable the posts to engage them in future activities:
...coordinated within the regions themselves so that when people
see a parliamentary committee coming through or a treasurer coming through at
post and they are scanning to see some useful engagements for a treasurer or a
parliamentary committee the Australia scholarships alumni will be on that
The database will not include all international students studying in Australia
but only those who have come in through these specialist programs.
Ms Buffington acknowledged the large number of people who could form an
international network of former students but explained the reason for
concentrating on a specific group:
In places like Malaysia we are now talking about a million
people who would have an Australian qualification. So we are specifically
targeting the Endeavour, Australian scholarships and Colombo Plan type scholars
for that particular activity. The universities and other institutions also do a
wonderful job in trying to stay in touch with their alumni and have very
positive engagements. We are usually aware of that. So it is not that we are
trying to duplicate that. We have a very elite group as part of the Colombo,
Endeavour and Australian scholarships and we have broader alumni events. In the
case of Vietnam, DEST has actually helped pay for the base of that alumni
database in order to stay in touch. It will not be an all-encompassing thing.
We will lose the opportunity of why we are trying to target these people for
these Endeavour scholarships if we try to make them feel part of an alumni of a
couple of million.
It should be noted that Mr March informed the committee that:
...the white paper analysis process did clearly signal to the aid
program that for modest investments you can get a potentially significant
return by working through alumni networks and doing more with the people on
return, and that is certainly what we are going to do with both leadership
awards as well as the youth ambassadors.
Even so, with regard to the Australian Leadership Awards, he noted that
although AusAID was considering alumni opportunities, thoughts on that matter
were, at this stage, still 'reasonably unformed'.
Apart from the 'coordinated database' being developed by DEST, there
were few if any other clearly defined activities designed specifically to build
on and strengthen the connections established with former Australian educated overseas
students. The language used in evidence was about possibilities—what could be
done— not about what was being done. There was no mention about actual
activities or achievements stemming from initiatives based around using alumni
associations to enhance Australia's public diplomacy.
The committee not only supports programs such as the Australian Leadership
Awards Program but also strongly endorses measures that would open up more
opportunities for international students to study in Australia and for
Australian students to study overseas. These education programs are important
building blocks for Australia's public diplomacy.
As a group and as individuals occupying key positions in their
communities, overseas graduates of Australian universities have the potential
to be effective advocates for Australia—goodwill ambassadors who can help to
build or strengthen bridges between Australia and other countries. Their
knowledge and understanding would enable them to educate others in their
communities about Australia and its people and help to dispel stereotypical or
Based on the findings of other parliamentary committees as mentioned
above and evidence before this inquiry, the committee believes that the
Australian Government should offer stronger and more effective support for the
various alumni organisations for foreign students who have studied in
Australia. The scope to build on their contribution to Australia's public
diplomacy warrants much closer government consideration. This observation is supported
by previous parliamentary committees that have noted or recommended that the
government could 'take a more active role in working with Australian
educational institutions to develop effective alumni programs'.
The committee welcomes the development of a database of overseas
students who have studied under the Australian Leadership Awards Program. It
believes that this database should have the highest priority but the committee
sees it as only the first step in the right direction.
The committee recommends that the government take a more active role in
working with Australian educational institutions to develop stronger and more
effective alumni programs for overseas students who have studied in Australia.
There are also shorter term programs designed to bring people from other
countries to Australia for visits or to draw groups of people together to
converse on particular subjects. For example, the Coolum Forum is an initiative
of the Australian and Thai Foreign Ministers designed to bring together East
Asian leaders from business, politics, government and academia for an informal
meeting in Australia. It provides an opportunity for these young and emerging
leaders not only to talk about concerns that their countries share but to
network and establish contact with counterparts throughout the region.
The following section looks in greater detail at a few of Australia's
public diplomacy visitors' programs.
International media visits program
and special visits program
Under the International Media Visits Program, DFAT brings international
journalists and commentators to Australia. In 2005–06, the program hosted 16
media visits involving 63 journalists. The aim of a visit may be very specific.
For example, Mr Craig Burns, Executive Manager, International Division,
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, noted that this program has
given attention to the free trade agenda. He noted:
...groups of Chinese or Japanese journalists are brought to Australia,
they travel around and see, in our particular area of interest, agriculture in Australia,
to determine the level of threat that it might be to Chinese or Japanese
agriculture or whatever the case may be. That is a clearly identifiable program
within DFAT which does that directly by trying to get to the journalists in the
A recent post report from Beijing not only referred to a similar visit
by journalists from major newspapers including from Gansu and Henan provinces
but recorded some of the public diplomacy benefits:
The visit resulted in 17 well-focused articles totalling around
17,000 words. The articles picked up on Australia's high-value, high-tech
agricultural sector and our arguments that Australian agricultural output would
not have the capacity to pose a significant threat to Chinese farmers, but
would rather meet an existing gap in demand as well as supply new products to
increasingly affluent consumers.
DFAT's special visitors program is another activity designed to inform
people from overseas about specific aspects of Australia. This program arranges
for 'influential and potentially influential people' to meet Australian
government, business and community figures. In 2005–06, DFAT organised 26
In addition, some visitors programs are run by agencies outside DFAT.
Examples of these programs are discussed next.
The Australian Centre for
The Australian Centre for Democratic Institutions conducts high-level
courses for political leaders and officials from parliaments and political parties
in the Asia Pacific region. Dr Benjamin Reilly gave the example of having the
heads of five of the main Islamist parties from Indonesia visit Australia. He
advised the committee:
...on the first day we were going around and asking everyone what
they wanted to achieve, and one of them said, ‘Well, our objective is to
introduce sharia law, so we want to find out how to get our objective up.’
After two weeks in Australia and also mixing with people from the region, I
think maybe that was not quite as high up on the priority list.
In his view, people who visit Australia through programs
conducted by the Centre 'come away with an improved perception of Australia'.
The Asialink conversations started in 2002 at the initiative of Asialink
Patron, Mr Baillieu Myer AC. One of the main motivations in establishing this
dialogue was 'to counter the perception that Australia had "turned its
back on Southeast Asia", and to help identify new methods for
strengthening Australia/ASEAN relations'.
Asialink has run three of these meetings: one in Australia, one in Malaysia
and, most recently, in Ho Chi Minh City just after APEC. The meetings, which
take place over a few days, bring together key leaders from ASEAN and Australia
to discuss critical questions facing the region and beyond. According to Asialink:
...the term ‘conversations’ was chosen to suggest a very personal
event, markedly different from the standard conference—a smaller, more intimate
gathering designed to foster a frank and robust exchange of ideas and to build
new networks and friendships.
It believed that this type of activity needs more support and explained
further some of the benefits gained from the project:
...it is about the networking of the individuals and maintaining
the contact with those individuals, because you invest an awful lot in them,
both in identification and in then taking them to a place and giving them a
good time and a meaningful experience of dialogue...We have robust discussions
about the fact that our Indonesian colleagues think that we are attempting to balkanize
them, and a lot of fairly robust discussion about our treatment of our
Aboriginal community, and with that sort of discussion you do make connections
with people that are very different from a kind of stand-and-deliver
Ms Jennifer McGregor, Chief Executive Officer, Asialink, noted that the
Asialink conversations produce a report which she regarded as important.
She indicated that the Coolum Forum does not. She also noted the importance of
taking measures to ensure that the benefits flowing from the meeting continue
into the future: that there is ongoing contact and follow-up activities to
capitalise on the investment:
...when you are socialising with people for two and three days,
you do form a bond. Our view is that you have to maintain that relationship
with those people, so what we tend to do is then link those people with other programs
that we are running—invite them back here to speak; if we have conferences
in-country, we will invite them to speak. With subsequent conversations, we
bring back members of the group together, not the whole group.
The committee recognises the benefits to Australia's public diplomacy
that derive from the many visitors' programs conducted by DFAT and other
agencies. It notes the comments by Asialink about providing opportunities to
build on the relationships formed during visits or meetings. The committee
suggests that any future planning for a visitors or training program include as
part of the plan consideration of measures for maintaining contact with those
involved in the program and for further cultivating the relationships that have
formed between the visitors and the hosts.
The report from the post in Beijing on a media visit to Australia by
Chinese journalists provided an example of another measure that adds value to the
various visitors programs—informative reporting on the results of the visit. The
committee suggests that any plan for a visitors or training program recognise
the longer-term benefits of such activities by requiring a report on the
activity which includes an account of the public diplomacy benefits that flowed
from the visit.
The committee recommends that:
- all visitors' or training programs sponsored or funded by the
government have clearly identified public diplomacy objectives;
- DFAT ensure that all government sponsored or funded visitors'
or training programs adopt a longer-term perspective and include measures or plans
that are intended to consolidate and build on the immediate public diplomacy
benefits that accrue from such activities; and
- as an accountability measure, the organisers or sponsors of a
visitors' or training program report on how the program has contributed to Australia's
Speaking the language, understanding the culture
Previous parliamentary inquiries have underscored the need to develop
literacy in Asian languages as part of Australia's overall strategy to
strengthen bilateral ties. Although the following observations relate to evidence
taken in relation to the committee's inquiry into China, they apply to the
other countries of Asia.
Many witnesses to the China inquiry believed that Australia was
struggling to maintain its existing capacity to teach future generations of
specialists, politicians and business leaders in Asian languages—particularly
Chinese. They called on measures to be taken to improve the number of
Australians competent not only in the Chinese language but also in their
understanding of Chinese culture. A number of witnesses emphasised that China
literacy needs to extend beyond language to knowledge of Chinese culture and
The JSCFADT came to the same conclusion about the importance of raising
awareness in Australia about Indonesia and of ensuring that opportunities and
incentives were made available to encourage Australians to study Indonesian language
and culture. It recommended that:
Indonesian studies be designated a strategic national priority
and that the Australian Research Council and Department of Education, Science
and Training be requested to recognise this in prioritising funding for both
research and teaching.
On a broader scale, the same concerns were raised during this inquiry
about Asian studies in Australia more generally. Mr Mirchandani observed that
'it is always easier to influence people if you understand their language and
culture and speak their language and culture'.
Australian agencies have a range of expertise in languages which
are currently largely being used for intelligence and related security roles,
rather than in strategic communication. It would be of immense value if these
language skills were harnessed in the greater sphere of public diplomacy. (An Australian
voice, speaking in fluent and idiomatic Arabic on, say Al Jazeera, would
carry much more weight than that voice speaking in English and having a translation
appear as a subtitle—a translation which may not be as nuanced as the speaker
He suggested that 'the creation of a school of languages for the
specific purpose of public diplomacy would be an attractive career to many of
today’s school leavers and could easily fit into current curricula of
Universities or Communications courses'. 
Ms McGregor was of the view that having Australians conversant in Asian
languages particularly in Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Korean was of
significant value to public diplomacy. She said that to 'have a cohort of very
highly trained and capable people is very desirable in terms of public
Even so, she noted that the status of Asian language education in Australia was
a 'very vexed issue'. She explained:
A national languages policy was recently negotiated in Australia.
There is a difficulty in terms of getting states and territories to commit to
this area and to get quality teacher supply coordinated. We had a huge
injection of funding through [the National Asian Languages and Studies in
Australian Schools] NALSAS, but now the figures do not really reflect the value
for money from that investment. It is not my personal area of expertise, but
where we go from here I think is a very difficult area. It requires a huge
investment for us to really develop critical mass in even, say, the four priority
languages of Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Korean.
Asialink did note in its submission, however, that at the school level:
Australia’s commitment to ensure that future generations have a
good understanding of the Asian region is international best practice. Australia
has been ahead of all other Western countries in investing in this area of
school reform necessary for an education for the 21st century.
Australia’s commitment to Asia literacy, demonstrated through
the long-term funding provided to the AEF, impresses representatives of Asian
governments, Asian institutions and business...
The committee recognises the need for government to continue to support
the learning of languages, particularly Asian languages, in Australian
educational institutions. It also encourages the government to consider
introducing added incentives for Australian students not only to study an Asian
language but to combine their studies with cultural studies.
Consistent with the findings of previous parliamentary reports,
the committee recommends that the government consider introducing additional
incentives for Australian students not only to study an Asian language but to
combine their studies with cultural studies.
The committee has underlined two main elements that contribute to
effective public diplomacy. The first is the importance of crafting and
delivering messages and images that will be received and interpreted as
intended—this presupposes that the messages and images are based on a sound
understanding of the audience. Secondly, effective public diplomacy relies on
strong and lasting people-to-people links.
There are many organisations, both state and non-state, engaged in
activities that contribute to Australia's public diplomacy. They are, in their
own distinctive way, conveying messages and images unique to their concerns and
building their own relationships based on their particular interests. The
following chapters examine how the activities of these many and varied
organisations come together as a joint endeavour in understanding, informing
and engaging with people from overseas.
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