On Thursday the 14th of August, the ANU International Relations Society (ANUIRS) celebrated its 10th Anniversary in spectacular fashion with breakfast at University House and a presentation by the Hon. Gareth Evans AC, QC. The topic of his speech was “The Development of the Responsibility to Protect” which drew a lot of inspiration from his experiences as Foreign Minister.
After the buffet-style breakfast, the morning began with a short introduction from Simon Papagiorcopulo, the ANUIRS President, on the history of the society and the nature of international affairs at the ANU. The ANUIRS was founded with the idea of facilitating discussion and study of the international sphere amongst students and staff alike. These values have remained just as integral to the society now in its tenth year as they did in its founding year, 2004,. The highlights of 2014 included visits to various embassies, panel discussions on Syria and and exam preparation sessions for first years.
Gareth Evans, whose long list of accolades include being Chancellor and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the ANU, talked about the growing acceptance of military and strategic intervention of populations by the international community, in the context of his experience endorsing the concept of “the responsibility to protect”. This contribution to international relations thinking is widely credited to him, due in part to his co-chairing of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and then later as the author of several works on the matter. All in all, it was a highly informative talk that was befitting of the event at which it was given
Although the turnout is unlikely to be matched at further ANUIRS events, there are still several stimulating ones to look forward to in the coming months. These include further diplomatic visits to the Palestinian and Jordanian embassies, a panel discussion on the Scottish Referendum, as well as a movie screening of “Our Man in Tehran”, all of which are free to attend but have limited spots).