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The Brain Game – Australia 2020

Tuesday 24th May 2016 6:00pm AEDT

Winston Churchill declared at Harvard in 1943: “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind”. Harold Macmillan asserted in Cape Town in 1960: “ The Winds of Change” sweeping Africa and the world. With the decline of colonialism and the emergence of equal intellectual partnerships, where is Australia in 2020 in its strategic approach? What is the “Great Game” for 2020 and beyond? The answer is in partnerships to address global challenges in environment, food, health, education and cultural understanding. This is the business of the Worldwide Universities Network (www.wun.ac.uk) and the Australia Africa Universities Network (www.aaun.edu.au).

Australia has a strong and respected higher education team and community, with strengths in the Group of Eight Research Universities, and important generally in the high quality of the Australian Higher Education system across the board. The market in research and education is worth $18 Bn a year and can become Australia’s highest export earner. More importantly, it is the basis for Australia’s intellectual and economic diplomacy. The Australian Government is rightly promoting the multiple strengths of the brain game, but must look beyond the three year political cycle to longer term partnerships, friendship and trust. Education must be sustained and not interrupted by short term political or resource agendas.

The market is huge: 85% from Asia (with 75% from China), with important growth potential in Africa and Latin America. Academic diplomacy is global, with Australia as a middle power requiring a joined up, whole of Government approach. The overall market is the leading Australian export asset, beyond digging and exporting minerals and gas. Australia has profited from the commodities market from “On the sheep’s back” in the 1970s, to “On the minerals and gas tank” of the 2010’s.  Now we need the “On the” Brain Game 2020”if we are to survive as respected and effective players in Asia and the world.

There will be winners and losers in the Brain Game, and the competition for talent is accelerating from the US, UK and Europe, as well as from Asia. Australia cannot be complacent. I challenge those attending to advocate for the most effective strategy and the priority action agenda for the future.

Prof John Hearn

Professor John Hearn is executive director, The Worldwide Universities Network; chairman, the Australia Africa Universities Network; and professor of Physiology at the University of Sydney Medical School. His research and teaching is in fertility, stem cell science and regenerative medicine. He is active in international higher education reform, the transformation of universities, and the development of talent.

He serves as a consultant and adviser for international engagement to the Australian, Swedish and British Governments; and to international agencies including the OECD, British Council and the World Health Organisation.

He is focused on the competitive development of markets in higher education and research and the formation of strategic knowledge partnerships as enduring capacity and diplomacy.



Entry:  AIIA NSW members: $15.00; Senior/student members $10.00

Non-members: $25.00; Student non-members $15.00

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The Glover Cottages (View Map)

Date / Time
Tuesday 24th May 2016 6:00pm AEDT


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Wednesday 11th May 2016 9:00am AEDT

Registration Close
Tuesday 24th May 2016 5:00pm AEDT

Event registration has closed, on Tuesday 24th May 2016 5:00pm AEDT.