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Finkel Theatre

John Curtin School of Medical Research

131 Garran Road

Acton, ACT 2601

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The Canberra Branch of Young Australians in International Affairs invites you to our upcoming Security in the South Pacific Panel. Fijian High Commissioner Yogesh Punja, Daniel Sloper, James Batley and Stewart Firth will join us as panelists discussing South Pacific stability and politics, climate change and transnational risks posed to Australia.

High Commissioner Yogesh Punja

His Excellency Mr Yogesh Punja is the High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji to Australia. Prior to taking up this post in June 2015, he led the New Zealand-based operations of Punjas Group of Companies. Mr Punja has been a director of his family company for over 30 years before retiring to ‘give back to the country’ he grew up in – Fiji. He has occupied a wide range of senior positions both in the public and private sector. He is a recipient of the President of Fiji 25th Anniversary of Independence Medal and a JP.

Daniel Sloper

Daniel Sloper is the current First Assistant Secretary at the Pacific Division of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs where he is responsible for advice on and implementation of Australia’s foreign, trade and aid policies with Pacific Island countries. He has also been the Assistant Secretary of the Papua New Guinea and Fiji Branch and G20 Special Representative and First Assistant Secretary G20. Mr Sloper was born in Port Moresby. He joined the Department in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) (Hons) from the Australian National University and a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University.

James Batley

James Batley joined Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs in 1984. In the early part of his career he was posted to Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. From 1997-1999 he was Australia’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands. During this time he also served two terms as the senior Australian civilian member of the Bougainville Truce Monitoring Group and the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group. From 1999-2002 he was the head of Australia’s diplomatic mission in East Timor, becoming Australia’s first Ambassador to East Timor following that country’s independence in 2002. From 2004-2006 he served as the leader of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and from 2007-2009 he was Australian High Commissioner to Fiji (and Permanent Representative to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat). In Canberra Mr Batley worked in a range of senior positions including Deputy Director-General of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). He is currently a Distinguished Policy Fellow in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Stewart Firth

Stewart Firth has been a Visiting Fellow at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program since 2005. His qualifications are in History and Politics, and his doctoral research focused on the history of German colonial rule in Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. He subsequently wrote books on the Germans in New Guinea and on nuclear testing in the Pacific Islands. He was Professor of Politics at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji, 1998-2004. He is a regular contributor on Pacific topics to the annual reference work The Far East and Australasia, Routledge, London, and has undertaken research consultancies for AusAID and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. He co-teaches an annual Pacific Politics course to undergraduates. Stewart’s present research deals with development outcomes in the Pacific’s territories and small states, and with changing international relations in the Pacific.

This event will be held under Chatham House Rule.

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Finkel Theatre

John Curtin School of Medical Research

131 Garran Road

Acton, ACT 2601

Australia

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