Event Reports

Multilateralism and Regional Cooperation in Times of Global Crises: Australia and Europe and the International Order

by Katja Theodorakis

The 2020 KONRAD-ADENAUER LECTURE, delivered by the Hon Julie Bishop - Chancellor, Australian National University and former Foreign Minister of Australia

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s (KAS) Regional Program Australia and the Pacific in cooperation with the ANU Centre for European Studies (ANUCES) held their annual Konrad Adenauer Lecture on 1 October 2020 in a hybrid form this year.

“If the Rules-Based Order didn’t exist today, we’d have to invent it”

 

Against the backdrop of an international order under strain, the lecture focused on the kind of international engagement that is needed to move forward as the pandemic has revealed systemic weaknesses in the international order and a long –simmering backlash to ‘hyper-globalization’.  Ms Bishop discussed key ingredients for a secure, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific based on the Rules-based International Order– which can only be maintained and strengthened through sustained commitment and ‘brave, unconditional leadership’.  Rebuilding more widespread confidence in the legitimacy and integrity of this order requires a commitment to uphold and strengthen its maintenance.

Alan Gyngell, a prominent Australian foreign policy thinker observed not too long ago that  “No single power will be able to generate the energy needed to shape and sustain a new international order, energy will have to come from a networked grid, not a single power source.”

This is a fitting conclusion to the theme of this year’s Konrad-Adenauer Lecture in sync with Ms Bishop closing words: despite the myriad of today’s challenges, the foundation we can draw on to move into the future is built on decades of multilateral engagement. Since these arrangements are anchored in the rule of law, it is the respect for these qualities that characterize the long-standing and trusted relationship between Australia and Germany. This is the only way forward -  as Ms Bishop concluded, “If the Rules-Based Order didn’t exist today, we’d have to invent it”

 

The lecture series is the fruit of an ongoing wonderful cooperation with the ANU Centre for European Studies (ANUCES) who has been working with KAS to bring together researchers and policymakers on issues of critical importance in both Europe and Australia. Since the inaugural Konrad Adenauer Lecture took place in November 2017, it has featured a variety of high ranking international speakers. The lecture was moderated by prominent journalist Virginia Hausegger, Chair of the 50/50 Foundation and Chef Editor at BroadAgenda. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Thomas Fitschen  delivered the closing remarks in which he highlighted the importance of the institutional aspects of multilateral diplomacy – the rule of law as the cornerstone of the rules-based international order. This means seeing the UN as not just a loose political commitment amongst member states but a binding framework founded on very specific legal obligations that can provide a peaceful and prosperous order if adhered to by all. 


 

Speaker’s Bio:

The Hon Julie Bishop served as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 until her resignation in 2018. She was the first female to hold the role as well as the first female Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, serving for 11 years. Ms Bishop is widely regarded as one of Australia's finest Ministers for Foreign Affairs; she is credited with strengthening Australia's strategic and economic relationships and positioned the country as the largest aid donor to the Indo-Pacific region. Under her leadership, Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper - a comprehensive policy framework for the subsequent decade - was developed. As the first woman to hold the role of Foreign Minister, she made gender equality and women's empowerment a key priority in Australia's foreign policy.

 

Background to the Konrad-Adenauer Lecture Series:

The Konrad Adenauer Lecture Series is a platform for strengthening knowledge and understanding of challenges and interests common to Germany and Australia and their respective regions of Europe abd the Indo-Pacific. Since the inaugural Konrad Adenauer Lecture took place in November 2017 it has presented a variety of high ranking international speakers. The establishment of the prestigious annual Konrad Adenauer Lecture Series was the culmination of an ongoing collaboration between the ANU Centre for European Studies (ANUCES) and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). Over a number of years ANUCES and KAS have worked to bring together researchers and policymakers on issues of critical importance in both Europe and Australia. Their collaborative events and publications have promoted dialogue among scholars and practitioners to address common problems and identify shared interests. ANUCES and KAS formalised their partnership through their commitment to this annual, high-profile lecture series and accompanying publications.

Contact Person

Katja Theodorakis

Portrait, neu

Senior Programme Coordinator Research and Analysis
Foreign and Security Policy

katja.theodorakis@kas.de +61 2 6154 9325