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Policymakers have increasingly spoken of the need to use "all the tools of statecraft" in Australia's international engagement. The idea has taken hold that in a difficult and contested times, we need all the different elements that connect Australia to the world to be pushing in the same direction. No one doubts the scale of international challenges. Australia is only one country among many, but the multiplying effects of having different instruments working in concert means Australia can do more with relatively less.

Panellists will outline Australia's tools of statecraft and outline a strategy for encouraging defence, foreign affairs, development, trade, immigration, education, energy, and other policy areas to work together to contribute to Australia's capacity to influence the world around it. They will draw on a recent report by the Asia-Pacific Development, Diplomacy & Defence Dialogue (AP4D) which is the result of consultations with dozens of current and former officials working across Australian foreign, trade, development, intelligence, and defence policy.

Join us for pre-presentation drinks and nibbles from 5:30pm!


Drinks + Nibbles
Panel discussion with guest speakers
Melissa Conley-TylerWilliam LebenBridi Rice
  • Melissa Conley-Tyler (Executive Director of AP4D)

    Melissa Conley-Tyler

    Executive Director of AP4D

    Melissa brings a track record of decades of experience in Australian foreign policy to her role with the Asia-Pacific Development, Diplomacy & Defence Dialogue.

    Melissa has extensive experience establishing and sustaining Australia-Asia engagement through Track II dialogues involving government officials, academics, media, and business. She is a lawyer and specialist in conflict resolution, including negotiation, mediation, and peace education. For 13 years she served as National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Under her leadership, the AIIA was recognised for three years running as the top think tank in Southeast Asia/Pacific and one of the top 50 think tanks worldwide in the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go To Think Tanks Index. She is an AIIA Fellow. She joined the University of Melbourne in 2019 as Director of Diplomacy at Asialink and then as a Research Fellow/Associate in the Asia Institute. Most recently she was a visiting fellow at the Taiwan Ministry of Defense think tank, the Institute of Defense and National Security Research.

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  • William Leben (Senior Research Officer at ANU National Security College)

    William Leben

    Senior Research Officer at ANU National Security College

    William’s interests include climate change and security in Australia’s near region, Australian defence and foreign policy, and the future of warfighting.

    He has a BA (Hons) in International and Political Studies from the University of New South Wales, Canberra and an MPhil in Development Studies from Oxford, the latter completed as a 2019 John Monash Scholar. He is an Australian Army officer seconded by Defence to the NSC. He was previously an analyst in the Climate and Security Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. He has also served in a number of regimental appointments and was deployed to Iraq.

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  • Bridi Rice (Founder and CEO of Development Intelligence Lab)

    Bridi Rice

    Founder and CEO of Development Intelligence Lab

    Bridi is an international development expert with a background in government, non-government organisations, private sector, and public policy. Bridi’s main expertise is in Australian and US development policy, and future trends impacting Indo-Pacific development.

    Formerly, Bridi oversaw Australian bilateral legal cooperation programs as a Director at the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, ran public sector consulting as a Senior Manager for Ernst & Young and represented Australia’s leading NGOs to Government as a Director of the Australian Council for International Development. She co-founded the Asia Pacific Development Diplomacy and Defence Dialogue and was an anti-corruption adviser to the Papua New Guinea Department of Justice. In 2021, Bridi was the national awardee of the Fulbright Scholarship in Not-For Profit Leadership and has current non-resident affiliations with Washington D.C. based Centre for Strategic International Studies and the Australian National University’s RegNet.

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Q + A

The audience will be able to ask the guest speakers questions!


National Conference Centre
32 Thesiger Court
Deakin, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

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