The Lowy Institute invites you to a special event, held in conjunction with Facebook, which examines the rise of digital diplomacy. In a world where global leaders take selfies, ‘tweet’, and ‘like’ each other, our panel of experts will debate the impact of this new digital era on diplomacy and on a nation’s soft power. The panel will be moderated by Alex Oliver, Director of the Lowy Institute’s Polling Program.
Her Excellency Menna Rawlings, the British High Commissioner to Australia since April 2015. Menna joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1989 and has served in a wide range of Diplomatic Service roles. She was most recently a member of the FCO Management Board as HR Director. This followed postings to Washington DC, Ghana, Israel, Kenya and Brussels. In London, she has served as Private Secretary to the Permanent Under Secretary as well as in the Press Office and the Africa and EU Directorates. Menna tweets @MennaRawlings and posts on the UK in Australia blog and its Facebook page.
Jonathan McClory, a specialist in soft power, place branding and cultural relations, and a partner at Portland Communications in the UK, where he leads the company’s Place Branding practice. He has advised senior government clients in the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East on strategy, policy and strengthening global reputation. Jonathan developed the world’s first composite index for measuring the soft power of countries at the UK’s Institute for Government, and was the lead author of The Soft Power 30, a collaborative project by Portland, Facebook and ComRes to measure and rank nations on the extent of their soft power. Jonathan tweets @JonathanMcClory and is on Facebook.
Rob Tranter is the First Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy and Communications Division for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). He is DFAT’s senior executive manager responsible for media and communications, public diplomacy and the Australia Awards international development scholarships program. Rob’s previous roles include First Assistant Director General responsible for Australia’s aid program to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, overseeing $1.3 billion in development assistance to the region each year. Rob has served overseas as an Australian diplomat in Port Vila and Jakarta. DFAT and its missions abroad run numerous social media accounts including on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, Youtube and Instagram.
Alex Oliver, the Program Director for the Lowy Institute’s Polling and Public Opinion Program. Her research interests focus on public diplomacy and soft power, consular assistance and Australia’s diplomatic infrastructure. Alex has published a number of Polls and reports for the Lowy Institute, and recently co-wrote a chapter on Australia’s public diplomacy and middle power strategy in East Asia in a book published by Palgrave. She provides commentary on diplomacy and public opinion for Australian and international media, and has testified at a number of parliamentary inquiries on Australia’s diplomatic infrastructure. Alex tweets @AlexKOliver and is not very good on Facebook.