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Journalists connect with SPARC

Page last published: 13 Jun 2012

Journalists tour Indigenous artworks at MacquarieJournalists from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia visited Macquarie University on May 29, meeting with academics and students from our Soft Power Advocacy and Research Centre (SPARC) to deepen their understanding of the research being done at the university.

The visit was part of International Media Visits program run by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), helping foreign media to generate informed coverage on Australia and to enhance understanding of our economy and key foreign and trade policy objectives. The program invites influential senior foreign editorial staff from TV, print and radio to visit and immerse themselves in Australian issues and build relationships.

Inaugural Director of SPARC, Naren Chitty, said that as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are among Australia’s closest neighbours, Australia has a role to play in partnering these societies on their road to economic, political and social modernization.

“Macquarie's Soft Power Advocacy and Research Centre has a particular interest in promoting cooperation between Australia and areas of the world where Indian and Chinese civilisations 'rub shoulders' or overlap - the latter being the case in the region formerly known as Indochina,” Professor Chitty said.

“We in Australia need to know more about these societies and they need to know more about us.  In this context the visit to Macquarie of journalists from these countries under a DFAT program was an important one.  Macquarie researchers from both Arts and Science were able to share with the visitors their research on social developments in the Mekong area, environmental issues, sustainable tourism and newspaper credibility.”

The group of senior editorial staff toured the Y3A media facilities within the Faculty of Arts, and explored a collection of Indigenous Australian artworks.  Macquarie academics also gave presentations on topics that the journalists had expressed an interest in.
Presentations given were:
•    Media Transparency – Journalistic Trustworthiness - Dr Jocelyn Pixley
•    Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Vulnerabilty/Adaptation - Dr Frank Thomalla
•    Health and Development Programs in Asia - Associate Professor Chris Lyttleton
•    Cultural Tourism – Dr Sandie Suchet-Pearson