Indo-Pacific in a changing international environment
On Tuesday, 24 May, celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Slovenia and Australia, a panel on challenges and opportunities in the Indo-Pacific was held at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana. The event was held to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Slovenia.
On behalf of the Dean of FDV, prof. Iztok Prezelj, Prof. Andreja Jaklič, Vice-Dean for Research, addressed the participants. She emphasized, among others, the opportunities that the two countries should explore for even closer cooperation that could be facilitated by establishing an Australian embassy in Slovenia.
In the discussion moderated by Mag. Nataša Briški, several issues have been highlighted. Mr. Jernej Müller, Director-General of the Directorate for Common Foreign and Security Policy at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, underscored the importance of diplomacy in times of crisis. Zorana Baković, a renowned journalist and correspondent for the Slovenian newspaper Delo, presented the significance of the Covid-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine for the Indo-Pacific region and highlighted the growing role the region plays in the international environment. The debate then focused on climate change, a phenomenon that particularly threatens many countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Zlatko Šabič, professor of international relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, emphasised that at a time when one crisis seems to follow another, we must not forget global warming. However, as he pointed out, besides its posing the greatest threat to humanity, it is unfortunate that at times proves to be a convenient means of pursuing narrow foreign policy interests. The debate then turned to the role of Australia, with Emil Stojanovski, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Australia, highlighting the importance of cooperation between countries, even in times of crisis, disputes, and intense competition. The speakers then discussed the role of international organizations in the region. They agreed that they remained an important element of multilateralism, but Mr. Stojanovski pointed out the specific circumstances that determine Australia’s participation in this context; it must be borne in mind that Australia is in a specific environment that is quite different from the political environment of NATO, which is somewhat more cohesive, in terms of common norms and values. The discussion among the panelists was followed by a synthesis and related question by mag. Nina Pejič, a researcher from the Faculty of Social Sciences, who conceptualised the event. This was followed by questions from the audience and a reception hosted by the Australian Embassy. Besides the Australian Embassy and the Faculty of Social Sciences the event was co-organised by the East Asia Resource Library (EARL) and by the Friendship and Cooperation Group with China Section which is part of the student’s society for international relations Globallis.