Australia's public diplomacy is global and promotes Australia's international political, economic, trade and security objectives. We use public diplomacy to pursue international goals through:
- strengthening media engagement by senior diplomats to advocate Australia's interests
- stepping up outreach to Australian audiences about our international priorities
- promoting our expertise and fostering engagement in science, education, media, indigenous, sports and cultural sectors
- expanding and improving our online diplomatic presence
- running annual cultural focus-country programs
Looking ahead, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will lead major cultural promotions through the Australia International Cultural Council in Vietnam in 2013, Indonesia in 2014; Turkey in 2015 and Brazil in 2016
Kastom: A rich expression of the art of Vanuatu
DFAT is proud to support Kastom, a major exhibition of art from Vanuatu at the National Gallery of Australia. The title, adapted from the English “custom”, underlines Vanuatuan reverence for culture, ceremony and tradition.
Solo Icon 2012 wows Honiara
Staff at DFAT's mission in Honiara were proud to support this year's Solo Icon singing competition, an event that has been engaging and enthralling fans around the Solomon Islands each year since 2006.
Clean Up the World campaign
DFAT posts around the world took part in 'Clean Up the World' campaign activities throughout September 2012.
Why Public Diplomacy?
Rapid technological changes, a dramatic increase in access to information globally and the spread of democracy have made nimble, creative and well-targeted public diplomacy central to the goal of advancing Australia's national interest. Public Diplomacy is a core function of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at the head of a whole-of-government effort. Public outreach plays a key part of Australia's bilateral relationships. Our public diplomacy strategy is supported by all Australian diplomats and by dedicated public affairs officers throughout our network of overseas posts.
Australia is increasingly focused on developing people-to-people links and collaborations with both domestic and international partners in order to pursue our public diplomacy objectives. This is in response to the dramatic expansion of the range of actors involved in international relations and in recognition of the increasingly influential role that public opinion plays in the formation of foreign and trade policy around the world. We also recognize that partnerships are increasingly important in responding to complex challenges, particularly as the distinction between domestic and international issues is increasingly blurred.
Australia engages in public diplomacy to support the government's international policy priorities, and the work of our Ministers in promoting these goals at home and abroad. Public outreach is designed to shape a positive image of contemporary Australia as a stable democracy with a dynamic economy; promote Australia as a reliable and credible partner; support business engagement internationally; foster a deeper understanding of Australia's foreign and trade priorities; and strengthen people-to-people links with our neighbours and strategic partners.
What are we doing?
Through partnerships with the Australian arts sector, we build collaborations to showcase Australia's cultural assets through targeted programs. These include fine music and visual arts touring programs, which particularly focus on Asian audiences. The international cultural visits program brings cultural leaders to Australia.
Australia holds a major promotion in a key partner country each year. The 2012 Oz Fest program in India will be the largest Australian cultural festival in the country in nearly two decades. The curated program will showcase the cultural richness and diversity of Australia. Previous events have included the 2011 Australia-Korea Year of Friendship, celebrating the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations, and the 2010 'Imagine Australia: Year of Australian Culture in China' program, which reached 32 cities.
Australia engages in major international promotions, particularly in Asia. Our pavilions at the 2012 Yeosu Expo and 2010 Shanghai Expo provided a platform to showcase the breadth and diversity of our economy and society to an audience of over 8 million people.
Through the Australia Awards initiative we aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and our neighbours through Australia's extensive scholarship programs. In time we hope to build a new generation of global leaders with strong links to Australia.
We are strongly engaged in science diplomacy. We provided extensive support to our bid to win the right to host the Square Kilometre Array project. We also support international tours by prominent Australian scientists to showcase our scientific excellence and support collaboration among the international scientific community.
Media and online
Australia is expanding the global reach of its online diplomatic presence, which includes overseas posts' online sites. We are getting smarter about our use of online communications, with embassies in China and Seoul establishing a presence on local social media channels. Our embassy in Jakarta's Facebook page is a key outreach tool to engage the world's third-largest Facebook user base. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's twitter feed also allows for rapid dissemination of consular messages to assist Australians abroad.
Australia also runs an international media visits program that brings senior international journalists and commentators to Australia to promote an accurate image of the country and to support specific priorities. We promote Asia-Pacific media development through support to the Douglas Gabb Radio Australia internship and the Elizabeth O'Neill ABC internship.
Our Indigenous public diplomacy program strengthens Australia's international engagement on Indigenous issues. For example, the Message Stick: Indigenous Identity in Urban Australia visual arts exhibition addresses the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The exhibition opened in Canberra in 2011 it is touring the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and India until mid-2013.
Australia supports sport and sport development programs, including through the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) in the Pacific, Asia, Caribbean, Latin America, southern Africa and Afghanistan. Sports diplomacy provides opportunities for close collaboration and partnerships.
Foundations, Councils and Institutes
Key public diplomacy partners include the Australia International Cultural Council and ten Foundations, Councils and Institutes that promote Australia's bilateral relationships with China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, the Arab World and Latin America. These organisations promote people-to-people links and a positive image of Australia, particularly through their annual grants rounds.