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In 2013 the Lowy Institute established its Distinguished International Fellowship to bring an internationally recognised intellectual and policy leader to Australia to help deepen our debate on global issues. While in Australia, the Distinguished International Fellow undertakes an extensive program of meetings, speeches and media appearances.

2019 Rothschild & Co Distinguished International Fellow

The 2019 Rothschild & Co Distinguished International Fellow is Professor Nicholas Burns. Nicholas Burns is Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School, a former diplomat, and is a foreign policy advisor in Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. Professor Burns visited Australia in October 2019 for a series of Lowy Institute engagements in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

2017 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow

The 2017 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow is Jake Sullivan.

He was senior foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign. Sullivan had earlier served as senior aide to President Obama, national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and Director of Policy Planning at the US Department of State, as well as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2013 Sullivan launched and co-led the secret negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program, paving the way for the November 2013 nuclear agreement.

2016 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow

The 2016 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow was David Ignatius.

He is a columnist on world affairs for the Washington Post and the author of eight novels, the latest being The Director in 2014.

2015 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow

The 2015 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow was former Foreign Secretary of India Shyam Saran.

Ambassador Saran is a career diplomat, having joinined the Indian Foreign Service in 1970. He has been India’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Indonesia and Nepal and High Commissioner to Mauritius. He was appointed India’s Foreign Secretary in 2004 and held that position until his retirement from service in September 2006. Subsequent to his retirement, he was appointed Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Indo-US civil nuclear issues and later as Special Envoy and Chief Negotiator on Climate Change. Currently, Ambassador Saran is Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board under the National Security Council.

Read the press release.

2014 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow

The 2014 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow was former US National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, Stephen J. Hadley.

Mr Hadley was a key member of the Bush Administration’s national security team in the midst of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and he helped shape the Administration’s landmark initiative to develop a strategic relationship with India. More recently, he has been a prominent voice in debates about US-China relations.

Read the press release.

2013 Distinguished International Fellow

In 2013, the inaugural Distinguished International Fellow was Dr Kurt Campbell.

A former US diplomat, Dr Campbell most recently served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, where he was a key architect of the ‘rebalance to Asia’ strategy.


Shyam Saran
2015 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow
David Ignatius
2016 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow
Jake Sullivan
2017 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow

Latest publications

Trump's domestic standing and US foreign policy

This week in Washington brought another instalment for the many hooked on the who-did-what-and-when investigations into the links between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign and now White House. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' appearance in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee generated plenty of headlines, even though he didn't appear to reveal - or admit to - anything new.

For many in the US, and particularly in Washington, every development in this saga-on-many-fronts is worth poring over, poking and probing. But what about the rest of the us? Do we need to keep track of every turn? Probably not. However, a visiting American did give a Sydney audience pause for thought last night when discussing how domestic politics affects a president's behaviour on the world stage.

Jake Sullivan is the 2017 Lowy Institute Telstra Distinguished Fellow. He was a senior foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2016 election campaign, having ‘quietly catapulted through the ranks of the Democratic foreign policy establishment’, as Vox magazine put it. On Tuesday night, Sullivan delivered the 2017 Owen Harries Lecture that focused on five key aspects of US foreign policy in the Asia Pacific. However, noting that 'Trump’s domestic standing will have at least some impact on his decision-making abroad', Sullivan also spoke about the 'the looming issue of what will happen to Trump’s political fortunes back at home'. He gave those of us outside the Beltway this handy list of what to keep an eye on: 

The key things to look at: What do the numbers look like in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections? What kind of progress do the FBI and Congress make on their investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia? Where does the investigation into possible obstruction of justice end up? Do prominent Republicans break with the president in any kind of decisive way, on policy or otherwise?

If things break bad for Trump, you can expect at least two consequences for our policy toward the Asia-Pacific. First, he will be distracted, so he and his administration will be paying less attention. And since he has failed to staff up, the normal functioning of the U.S. government will be more anemic than usual. Second, he will be more prone to dramatic and potentially destabilizing moves, on both the economic and security fronts.

And by the way, the impact of domestic politics on foreign policy goes beyond whether Trump is up or down. We are facing the possibility of another debt ceiling crisis or government shutdown this year, and while I think neither is likely to happen, both are distinct possibilities. I was traveling in Asia with Secretary Clinton when the U.S. credit rating was downgraded during a previous debt ceiling debacle. So I know what kind of impact this can have. 

A full transcript of the speech is available here. Jake Sullivan will be speaking in Melbourne on Thursday night on American foreign policy in an age of populism, and will be in Canberra next Monday for an 'In Conversation' event with Lowy Institute Senior Fellow Sam Roggeveen.