On 20th November, some 90 people attended the 2018 AFAA Victoria Salon, Finding a voice in a post-truth world: valuing a critical perspective.
We were honoured by the participation of: US Consul General to Victoria, Michael F. Kleine; Diane Kirkby, Fulbright alum, Professor of Law and Humanities at the University of Technology Sydney, and Research Professor (Emeritus) in History at La Trobe University; Prof Dennis Altman (La Trobe University and Fulbright alumnus); and Phillipa McGuinness (author and publisher).
Following opening remarks by US Consul Genera Kleine, Prof Kirkby set the agenda for a fascinating and provoking discussion on the role of truth in modern society:
How do you make sense of reality when elected representatives, supposedly trustworthy officials and leaders, routinely lie, distort the truth, or claim indeed, remarkably and incomprehensibly, ‘truth isn’t truth’? What can that possibly mean?
History is not always a comfortable truth but the professional standards and ethics of our discipline require that we adhere to a rigorous interrogation and ask hard questions. Story-telling is at its heart, but the stories are not fibs. And they are not fiction.
All three speakers offered diverse and original perspectives on Prof Kirkby's call for us all to remember "the importance of truth-telling in the public domain as critical to maintenance of democracy and the public domain".
We were delighted that Dr Alice Garner also could speak at the launch of Prof Diane Kirkby and Dr Alice Garner's new book, "Academic Ambassadors, Pacific Allies: Australia, America and the Fulbright Program".
We extend our sincere thanks to the Vice Chancellor's Office at the University of Melbourne for sponsoring this event.
For a full photo gallery visit the salon page. Below a picture of AFAA president Iain Butterworth and speaker Dr Alice garner.