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“New Zealand and the World: Past, Present and Future” will be the theme of the 50th Otago Foreign Policy School, the annual weekend gathering regarded as the marquee event in the country’s international affairs calendar.

The School, which runs next month, features an impressive line-up of 30 national and overseas speakers who will discuss and debate pressing issues in New Zealand’s international affairs. Among those presenting are prominent figures such as security analyst Dr Paul Buchanan, former senior New Zealand diplomats Colin Keating and Terence O’Brien, University of Auckland Professors Jane Kelsey and Ranginui Walker, and investigative journalist Jon Stephenson. The Otago Foreign Policy School allows academics, students, policymakers, diplomats and members of the public to gather and engage in formal and informal dialogues on selected issues. This year’s School is held from the evening of Friday 26 June until Sunday 28 June at St Margaret’s College on the University’s Dunedin campus. The 50th School’s co-directors are Professor Robert Patman and Dr Iati Iati of the University’s Department of Politics. Professor Patman says the School’s 50th anniversary provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on the substantial readjustment our foreign policy has undergone during the past half century, and to debate how it is continuing, or should continue, to evolve. “One of the most important challenges facing New Zealand foreign policy today is reconciling and balancing its growing involvement in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region with traditional links to the English-speaking world,” Professor Patman says. In many ways, New Zealand’s improved ties with both China and the US highlight this trend, he says. “Wellington will have to navigate carefully between the superpowers and avoid actions that seem to suggest that it is siding with one against the other. This could complicate New Zealand’s desire for close economic ties with China and close security ties with the US-led intelligence sharing arrangement known as ‘Five Eyes’.” Professor Patman says the 50th School is expected to consider how, over time, factors such as security, economics and trade, multilateralism, globalisation and morality have shaped New Zealand’s foreign policy decision-making, and what international possibilities and challenges now face our country in the unfolding 21st century. The advent of globalisation coincided with profound changes in New Zealand’s national identity and its role in the world, he says. “These include the adoption of a non-nuclear security policy, liberalisation of the national economy, recognition of the special constitutional and cultural position of Māori people and new trade and diplomatic links with the Asia-Pacific region.” Professor Patman paid tribute to former Department of University Extension lecturer, Arnold Entwisle, who played a key role in establishing the School in 1966. “Arnold anticipated that a more independent New Zealand would need a dedicated forum where academics, policy-makers and the general public could come together to share and exchange ideas relevant to this country’s foreign policy.” By focusing on both contemporary and emerging international developments, the Foreign Policy School has long fulfilled Mr Entwisle’s hope that it would contribute to the enlightenment of this nation, Professor Patman says. The School begins on Friday evening at 5pm with a cocktail function and opening address, and finishes on Sunday around 4.40pm. Visit the Otago Foreign Policy School website for more information about the School, past conferences, registration and fees, or email School Co-ordinator Jan Brosnahan at

List of speakers and topics:

  • Dr Austin Gee, Dr Chris Rudd and Prof Robert Patman (Otago) – ‘Debating New Zealand’s Foreign Relations: The Role and Impact of the University of Otago Foreign Policy School, 1966 -76’
  • Dr Ken Ross, Research Associate (International Institute of Strategic Studies, London) – ‘David Lange’s Presentation to the 1985 School – A Pivotal Moment for Labour’s Foreign Policy!’
  • Dr Andrew Butcher, Director of Research (Asia Foundation) –‘What does New Zealand’s Changing Demography Mean for its Place in the World?’
  • Associate Professor Robert Scollay (University of Auckland) – ‘New Zealand’s Evolving Response to Changing Asia-Pacific Trade and Economic Currents Since 1990’
  • Professor Jane Kelsey (University of Auckland) – ‘New Zealand and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations: Strategy, Content and Lessons’
  • Professor Patrick Koellner (German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg) – ‘EU Perceptions of New Zealand’
  • Mr Ong Keng Yong, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia – ‘New Zealand and ASEAN’
  • Dr Andreas Reitzig, Director (Lingua Language School) – ‘The Contours of New Zealand Foreign Policy’
  • Mr Colin Keating – ‘New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council in October 2014: How was it accomplished and what does it mean?’
  • Professor Jacqui True (Monash University) – ‘The Globalisation of the Human Security Norm: New Zealand Leadership and Followership in the World’
  • Ms Lucy Duncan, Group Manager, Strategy and Governance Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Wellington – ‘The Role of the New Zealand Diplomat: Past, Present and Future’.
  • Dr Beth Greener (Massey University) – ‘A Balancing Act: New Zealand and International Security’
  • Professor Hugh White (ANU) – ‘Old Friends in a new Asia: Australia, New Zealand and the Rise of China’
  • Dr Joe Burton (Victoria University of Wellington) – ‘New Zealand-US Relations and the Obama Administration’s Pivot to Asia’
  • Dr Anna Powles, Massey University – ‘New Zealand’s Foreign and Defence Policy in the Pacific: Shifting Regional Geopolitics and the Risk of Diminishing Relevance’
  • Prof Kevin Clements (Otago) – ‘What happened to The NZ Peace Movement -Anti Nuclear Politics- and a more Independent Foreign Policy?’ (via video-link from London)
  • Dr Adrian Macey, Senior Associate (Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington) – ‘The Environment and Foreign Policy: New Zealand’s Climate Change Diplomacy’
  • Professor David MacDonald (Guelph) – ‘Exporting Aotearoa New Zealand’s Biculturalism: Lessons for Aboriginal-Settler Relations in Canada’
  • Professor Ranginui Walker (University of Auckland) – ‘Kawanatanga, tino rangatiratanga and the constitution’
  • Mr Jon Stephenson Pacific Media Centre Research Associate (AUT University) – ‘The Price of the Club: How New Zealand’s participation in the “war on terror” has compromised our reputation as a good international citizen’
  • Mr Terence O’Brien, (Victoria University of Wellington) – ‘National Identity and New Zealand Foreign Policy’
  • Ian McGibbon, Managing Editor (New Zealand International Review) – ‘New Zealand and Turkey 1915–2015: from battlefield foes to firm friends’
  • Dr James Rolfe (Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington) ‘Intelligence, Accountability and New Zealand’s National Security’
  • Dr Paul Buchanan, Director (36th Parallel Consultancy) – ‘Foreign Policy Realignment and Institutional Lag: the case of the New Zealand intelligence community’
  • Dr Anthony Smith, Assessments Manager (National Assessments Bureau, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet)
  • Dr Nigel Parsons (Massey University) – ‘New Zealand, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the United Nations: 2012 and 1974 compared’
  • Dr Peter Greener (Victoria University of Wellington) – ‘Continuity and Change in New Zealand Defence Policy’
  • Mr Peter Cozens, Former Director (Centre of Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington) – ‘A New Atlantis’
A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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