Australian American Leadership Dialogue delegation to JCU

    The Development in the Tropics team hosted a delegation of forty leaders from across Australia and the United States on Sunday 6 August as part of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue (AALD) 2023 Young Leadership Dialogue Alumni (YLDA) Academy.  The Academy's first official event was held at The Cairns Institute.

    The AALD is a private diplomatic initiative, which brings together Australian and American leaders from government, enterprise, media, education and the community to help review and refine the parameters of the Australian-American bilateral relationship. It aims to strengthened Australian-US partnership on the understanding that the relationship is critical to enhance regional security and help underwrite economic and cultural prosperity, not only for Australians and Americans, but for the entirety of the Indo Pacific region.

    The YLDA Academy is an important annual forum that the AALD coordinates to provide opportunities for leaders from across industry sectors to engage in meaningful dialogue and learn from thought leaders on issues of importance to the bilateral relationship. The 2023 Cairns Academy Program Manager, Anna Alexander, is a former member of the JCU leadership team and now works for the Office of Northern Australia. Anna was selected for the YLD in 2016 and said the delegation to Cairns provided a significant opportunity to showcase the strategic importance of Northern Australia to current and future leader.

    Anna said that “Cairns and more broadly, Northern Australia, are of huge importance to Australia’s future – and to the bilateral relationship. Delegates were able to learn about the opportunities and challenges in the region through engaging with thought leaders and experience across a range of sectors. The Academy explored issues from mining and resource and their role in the transition to nett zero, the exciting opportunities in space, through to the important social and environmental research and strategic investments in defence in the north.”

    The Academy was opened by dancers from AFL Cape York House, before Professor Allan Dale gave the welcome keynote speech followed by a fireside chat on challenges and opportunities facing the governance of Northern Australia. This was followed by a fireside chat with the Hon Michael Steele, former Lt. Governor of Maryland and the chair of the Republican National Committee 2009-2011. Michael was the first African American to hold both of those posts. Allan and Michael discussed governance issues of mutual relevance to Australia and America.  

    Delegates then moved to the JCU Ideas Lab where they learned about the emerging space industry in FNQ. The three-day Academy also included trips to the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific Maritime Training College and HMAS Cairns before continuing to Canberra.

    Image: AALD Hon Michael Steele and Paul Cenoz (DroneShield). Courtesy Jennifer McHugh

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