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The Salon will be a discussion of the Australian-American relationship in its broadest sense, including political, economic and cultural aspects. What can Australian learn from the United States? How can Australia emulate the successes of America - an economic powerhouse, a cultural melting pot, a leader in developing pioneering technologies - while avoiding some of its challenges such as economic inequality, racial divisions and political polarisation?
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Prof Brian Schmidt
Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University
American-Australian Nobel prize-winning physicist
Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Schmidt was an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics before becoming Vice-Chancellor. Professor Schmidt received undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona in 1989, and completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. Under his leadership, in 1998, the High-Z Supernova Search team made the startling discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating. Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and the Royal Society, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.
Director of Research, Lowy Institute
Expert on diplomacy and public opinion
Alex directed the Lowy Institute's program on diplomacy and public opinion until 2018, including the annual Lowy Institute Poll. Alex's other research interests include Australia's diplomacy and diplomatic infrastructure, consular affairs, and public diplomacy. As well as six annual Lowy Institute Polls, Alex has authored or co-authored several major studies for the Lowy Institute on Australia’s diplomacy. She has written for international press including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal and BBC.com, and for Australian publications including The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and the Australian Journal of International Affairs. Alex provides regular commentary on Australian foreign affairs and diplomacy in Australian and international media, has given evidence at parliamentary inquiries and delivered a Senate Occasional Lecture in 2014.
Prof James Curran
Professor, Department of History, University of Sydney
Author and commentator on Australian-American relations
James Curran specialises in the history of Australian and American foreign relations. In 2013 he held the Keith Cameron Chair at University College Dublin, and in 2010 was a Fulbright scholar at Georgetown University. Prior to joining academia, Curran worked in The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Office of National Assessments. A non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, he is also a regular commentator on radio and television, and his opinion pieces on foreign affairs and political culture have appeared in major Australian newspapers as well as the Lowy Interpreter, China-US Focus, the East Asia Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations ‘Asia Unbound’ series.
About the Australian Fulbright Alumni Association
The Fulbright program is a prestigious set of annual scholarships which support academic, professional and cultural exchanges between Australia and the United States. The Australian Fulbright Alumni Association (AFAA) is a professional membership for Fulbright Alumni. Through AFAA, scholars' Fulbright experiences are continually enriched by belonging to a network of some of the most talented and accomplished people across Australia and the USA.