Our first forum this year welcomed Mihai Sora, Research Fellow in the Pacific Islands Program and Project Director of the AUS-PNG Network, a Lowy Institute initiative that aims to build better relations between PNG and Australia. The discussion explored how the US and its partners can increase their influence in a contested Pacific.
Mihai’s knowledge of Indo-Pacific relations is further informed as a former Australian diplomat with postings to Solomon Islands and Indonesia, and was a Pacific Analyst at the Office of National Assessments (now Office of National Intelligence). His analysis of regional dynamics and the role of the US, China and Australia in the Pacific has featured in Australian and international media outlets, including the Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Guardian, Australian Foreign Affairs, The Interpreter and the Journal of International Affairs. His commentary has also appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, CNBC, Channel News Asia, CNN, BBC, Financial Times, Sky News, Channel Seven, Channel Ten, ABC, SBS, the Sydney Morning Herald, South China Morning Post, Nikkei Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, AFP, and others.
Mihai discussed how the US and AUS partnership can strengthen their collaborations with other nations within the Indo-Pacific; the importance of reconciliation and, addressing cultural differences as a way for the partnership to create long-lasting relationships with island nations. All attendees walked away with a variety of newly acquired knowledge about the region especially in regards to the future challenges posed by Climate Change and a shift in regional powers.