Highlights from 2019 from our North American Liaison Office

5 December 2019

Happy Thanksgiving from Washington DC! As we look back over the year and plan ahead for 2020, we wanted to share some of our highlights from 2019.

Firstly, we have just moved. After 50 years in its current location, the Australian Embassy - home to NALO since 2010 - has just finished a massive re-location. We are now in the National Geographic headquarters building on 17th Street, and will be here while the old Embassy is demolished and a new one is built - the new building is due to be unveiled in 2022.

Come and visit us in our new home! We have supported 32 ANU visits to the US and Canada in 2019, up from 24 last year, and we are always happy to have colleagues here with us.

One of the final exhibitions in the gallery of the old Embassy was a special show by staff and students of the ANU School of Art and Design, entitled The Way We Wear. In March, we were thrilled to welcome Head of School Professor Denise Ferris to Washington to open the show, along with colleagues Megan Hinton and Jacqueline Bradley.

We have been focusing this year on strengthening partnerships and collaboration in areas of priority for the US and of distinctive strength at ANU. For example, we have been promoting our unique expertise on the Pacific with American universities, think-tanks and government, with former CAP Dean Professor Michael Wesley visiting in April and speaking about the future of the region to very engaged audiences, including at Georgetown University.

Space has also been a big focus this year, following on from launch events for our InSpace institute in late 2018 in New York and at the Embassy. In July, we were involved with events here in Washington to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Australia's role in the moon landing, as well as the Prime Minister's announcement at NASA in September. We welcomed InSpace Director Professor Anna Moore back to DC last month for the major international IAC conference, along with Minister Karen Andrews.

Through visits, we have also been working this year to promote the university's work in areas such as defence R&D, cyber- and national security, and the ethics of artificial intelligence. In partnership with the Research and Innovation portfolio, and with the US firm McAllister & Quinn, we have been identifying new US funding opportunities for ANU researchers.

This year we have been busy strengthening key partnerships with US universities and agencies, such as Harvard, Indiana, Georgetown, the University of California system, NASA, the NSF and NIH, the State Department and our partners in the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). A great example is the highly successful project this year led by the College of Law, entitled Navigating the backlash against global norms and institutions, funded through the ANU Global Research Partnerships Scheme with Indiana University and the University of Maryland.

We have also increased our engagement with Canadian university partners and the High Commission in Ottawa through 2019, with the Vice-Chancellor invited to speak to the Universities Canada annual meeting in Ottawa in October as part of his North America visit.

It has been a pleasure this year to welcome ANU students to Washington, through programs such as our Congressional internships, the CBE study tour and our World Bank internship.

We have hosted and supported numerous alumni engagement events across the country this year, in Washington, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. And we welcomed alumna Sarah Backhouse as the new Chair of the ANU Foundation USA Board, and thanked Adam Ford for his significant contribution over two terms as Chair. This year the Foundation has granted $55,000 to ANU staff and students, with more to come next year.

2020 will be another big year for us here, with ANU visits and activities already planned, a new Ambassador arriving in January, and the lead-up to the US presidential election in November. We will keep reporting back on the big changes here and what they mean for universities and for ANU, but please don't hesitate to get in touch - we look forward to seeing you!

From Paul and Martha