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Gareth Evans event
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Gareth Evans in conversation with Geraldine Doogue (Gleebooks)

Why should we in Australia, or any country, care about poverty, human rights atrocities, health epidemics, environmental catastrophes, weapons proliferation or any other problems afflicting faraway countries, when they don’t, as is often the case, have any direct or immediate impact on our own safety or prosperity? Gareth Evans’ answer is the approach he adopted when Australia’s foreign minister.

He argues that to be, and be seen to be, a good international citizen — a state that cares about other people’s suffering, and does everything reasonably possible to alleviate it — is both a moral imperative and a matter of hard-headed national interest. The case for decency in conducting our international relations is based both on the reality of our common humanity, and a national interest just as compelling as the traditional duo of security and prosperity.

Four key benchmarks matter most in assessing any country’s record as a good international citizen: its foreign aid generosity; its response to human rights violations; its reaction to conflict, mass atrocities, and the refugee flows that are so often their aftermath; and its contribution to addressing the global existential threats posed by climate change, pandemics and nuclear war. Measured against them, Australia’s overall record has been patchy at best, lamentable at worst, and is presently embarrassingly poor.

The better news is that, on all available evidence, the problem lies not with the negative attitudes of our people, but our governments. Those in office might prefer Berthold Brecht’s solution: ‘dissolve the people and elect another.’ But the right course for the rest of us is to persuade our political leaders, on both moral and national interest grounds, to change their ways, and to vote them out if they don’t.

  • Good International Citizenship

    Gareth Evans
Gareth Evans event
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Gareth Evans in conversation with the ABC’s Paul Barclay (Readings online)

Gareth Evans latest essay, Good International Citizenship: The Case for Decency explores the notion of why should we in Australia, or any country, care about poverty, human rights atrocities, health epidemics, environmental catastrophes, weapons proliferation or any other problems afflicting faraway countries, when they don’t, as is often the case, have any direct or immediate impact on our own safety or prosperity? Gareth Evans’ answer is the approach he adopted when Australia’s foreign minister. He argues that to be, and be seen to be, a good international citizen—a state that cares about other people’s suffering, and does everything reasonably possible to alleviate it—is both a moral imperative and a matter of hard-headed national interest.

Gareth will be in conversation with Paul Barclay, ABC Big Ideas presenter.

This event is free to attend but bookings are essential.

Please book here.

 

  • Good International Citizenship

    Gareth Evans
Carrillo Gantner Q&A
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Carrillo Gantner in conversation (Readings online)

Please note: this event is being held online.

Join us to hear Carrillo Gantner in conversation with Linda Jaivin, author of The Shortest History of China.

Gantner’s Dismal Diplomacy, Disposable Sovereignty: Our Problem with China & America, is an explanation of how we can repair the recent damage done to the Australian/US/China.

This book describes the current unhappy situation and, based on Gantner’s forty years of work in cultural exchange with China, offers some modest suggestions on improving bilateral relations.

This event is free to attend but bookings are essential.

How to ‘attend’ a virtual event at Readings

This event commences online at 6.30pm using the video conferencing platform Zoom.

To book for this event, you must provide your email address.

To ensure the Zoom event stays private, participants will be emailed a unique zoom link and a password 30 minutes before the event begins on the day of the event. Please check your email.

All bookings for online events will be closed one hour before the event begins.

You do not need to have a Zoom account to join a meeting, but mobile users will need to download the Zoom app for their device. Desktop and laptop users can either download the Zoom application or access the event via their web browser.

  • Dismal Diplomacy, Disposable Sovereignty

    Carrillo Gantner
Gareth Evans event
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Gareth Evans at the Adelaide Festival

As our Foreign Minister from 1988 – 1996 and President of the Brusselsbased International Crisis Group thereafter, Gareth Evans is uniquely qualified to discuss the importance of good international citizenship in our interconnected world. Outlining four key tenets to assess a country’s record – foreign aid generosity, reaction to conflicts and their consequences, response to human rights violations, and contribution to global crises – he finds Australia wanting on all of them. His essay is a call for change and decency in the way we engage with the world.

  • Good International Citizenship

    Gareth Evans