The National Asian Studies Centre (NASC)

about

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Mission Statement

The National Asian Studies Centre (NASC) strengthens regional networks, mutual understanding, and governmental capacity via roundtable discussions with visiting delegations, the convening of policy relevant seminars and conferences, the publication of readable and accessible research, and through its executive education curriculum. The executive education sphere is underpinned by a comprehensive offering of bespoke Professional Development Courses (PDCs) and accredited one and two-week Executive Short Courses (ESCs).

Testimonial: the 2 Week Executive Short Course:

… the course was exceptional. The Director, Dr Chris Roberts, put together a slate of speakers unlike any I have been exposed to … I can honestly say that I feel like a better … US Army Field Grade Officer as a result of my attendance at this course.

Delegate, United States Army

The Three Pillars of the NASC

Regional Engagement

The first foundation of the NASC is the facilitation of regional networks and mutual understanding through engagement between government executives across agencies and countries. For this purpose, the NASC represents all relevant government agencies and departments in its engagement activities ranging from private roundtables with delegations from across the Indo-Pacific and the United States to other activities such as public seminars and conferences

Professional Development Courses (PDCs)

The Centre specialises in professional development workshops and courses that can be tailored to fit agency needs – whether from Australia or across the Indo-Pacific. Areas of expertise include great power rivalry and the regional orders of East Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific; national defence planning and policy; defence and/or foreign policy leadership; aid; state capacity and governance in developing nations; non-traditional security (including pandemics, natural disasters, resource security, transnational crime and human security); and domestic and foreign policy analysis for specific countries (including India, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, and the Pacific Islands). 

Executive Short Courses (ESCs)

The one week and two-week Executive Short Courses (ESCs) provide a university accredited and structured learning experience where the content is designed with postgraduate course equivalence in mind. As such, these courses can be undertaken in assessed (graded) mode or audit (ungraded) mode. Either way, as with the Professional Development Courses, delegates will receive a formal University of Canberra ‘Certificate of Completion’ and, should a course delegate elect to undertake formal assessment, an ‘academic transcript’ that may assist with admission into Postgraduate Degree such as the University of Canberra’s ‘Master of Public Administration’. Both ESCs, at the relative levels of depth, provide an interactive learning experience addressing the nexus of the economic, political, and security spheres together with the formulation of best practice policy. The facilitation of a mutual understanding is enhanced by participation on a multiagency and multinational basis.

Comparative Centre Advantages

There is a very strong need for the type of Professional Development Courses (PDPs) and Executive Short Courses (ESCs) provided by the NASC. For example, the policy-oriented nature of these two educational pillars will directly appeal to agencies seeking to build the capacity and expertise of their staff and, for the participants, those that wish to obtain the necessary skills and qualifications for career advancement. Moreover, relative to other educational institutions in the field, the NASC’s host Institute – the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA), together with the Faculty of Business, Government, and Law – already hold crucial advantages given they currently offers dozens of relevant graduate level courses and bring to bear the expertise of more than 100 faculty and adjuncts for the provision of education in the courses. Moreover, the Centre’s international linkages mean that leading experts from across will also be providing an ‘Asia Centric’ learning experience through their convening of key courses.

Flexibility and engagement: The provision of both accredited Executive Short Courses and Professional Development Courses that can be tailored to meet agency needs – including content and the timing of the sessions (intensive, evenings, and/or weekends) which enables Australian and international clients to better align their professional development and education with pre-existing commitments at work and at home. Meanwhile, in the Executive Short Courses, the mix of participants from government agencies across the Indo-Pacific will further enhance the knowledge concerning each nationality’s world view, political, security and development interests and needs, and comparative approaches to best practice in policy formulation.

Savings and agency needs: The extensive facilities offered in one location, the Ann Harding Conference Centre, together with extensive on-campus options for accommodation, deliver significant efficiency dividends that enable relatively lower course fees. In the context of the postgraduate degrees, given that some universities have moved towards a fulltime master’s of two years, the structure of the postgraduate degrees at the University of Canberra significantly reduce the relative costs of choosing to undertake education through the NASC and IGPA. Beyond financial savings, the Centre provides significant benefits for international participants with families as well as employers and/or potential funding agencies. Please contact the Centre to find out more.

Uniqueness and responsiveness: No Australian educational provider offers accredited and applied Executive Short Courses (ESCs) in the fields of ‘Asian studies’ and ‘security studies’ via a program that is exclusive to government agencies and other relevant stakeholders from across the Indo-Pacific. Moreover, the level of expertise affiliated with IGPA enables UC to quickly respond to agency requirements in the delivery of Professional Development Courses (PDCs), such as rapid responses to new policy announcements and developments for the purpose of the design and delivery of courses addressing needs in a near real time context.

Contact the Director by email Here 

Click here for VIRTUAL TOUR of the Ann Harding Conference Centre

Fieldtrip along the Salween River, border between Myanmar and Thailand, 2005 (Photo: C Roberts)

Welcome

Strengthening Regional Capacity and Cohesion through International Engagement and Executive Education on a Multinational and Multiagency Basis

Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the National Asian Studies Centre or NASC. The Centre consolidates and builds on my experience across four universities in Australia and Singapore. In line with the NASC’s mission statement, what follows is my view on the rationale behind the establishment of the NASC, the uniqueness of its offerings in regional engagement and professional education, and its place within the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA) at the University of Canberra.  

The Need for Greater Indo-Pacific Knowledge and Capacity

‘In a more contested and competitive world’, the 2017 Australian Foreign Policy White Paper maintains that Australia (and indeed the countries of the Indo-Pacific) will require ‘an active, determined, and innovative foreign policy built on strong domestic foundations – a flexible economic, strong defence and national security capabilities, and resilient institutions within a cohesive society.’ These goals necessitate associated policies and strategies underpinned by the necessary regional knowledge including an advanced level of mutual understanding between the Indo-Pacific countries. The need for this capacity was explicitly recognised by the 2016 Australian Defence White Paper which declared the requirement for ‘enhanced knowledge’ about the Indo-Pacific’s ‘shared strategic, political, economic, and cultural environments to enable a far stronger capacity for regional engagement and cooperation.’ 

The Three Pillars of the NASC

The National Asian Studies Centre (NASC) explicitly addresses the needs of government, embassies, and other interested stakeholders through a comprehensive approach to the interdependent pillars of enhanced engagement (e.g. roundtable policy discussions, seminars, and conferences), research and publications, and the development of governmental capacity through executive education. In the case of the latter, there are two modes of delivery: Professional Development Courses (PDCs) and accredited Executive Short Courses (ESCs) with participation on a multi-agency and multi-national basis.

Standing in Each Other’s Shoes: An Asia Centric Learning Experience

The Professional Development Courses and Executive Short Courses contribute to the unique model of education on offer by the its host Institute: The Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA). The boutique Professional Development Courses involve 1-5 day programs on subject matter that can be rapidly tailored and delivered to meet individual agency, embassy and/or other stakeholder needs. Meanwhile, our 1 and 2-week Executive Short Courses provide a more comprehensive and structured experience that incorporates a fully accredited learning model that can potentially provide credit toward IGPA’s Master of Public Policy. The robustness of the Asia centric learning experience is achieved through the interactive sharing of peer-to-peer knowledge and the prioritisation of course contributors that have invested much of their life in the countries relevant to their expertise. Crucially, the University of Canberra, via IGPA, is the only Australian Institution to deliver such specialised education through these modes of delivery with participation from such a diverse mix of countries.

Why the NASC at the University of Canberra’s IGPA?

The Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA) brings together over 100 specialist academics (faculty and adjunct) including key Asian countries ranging from China to the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. IGPA possesses the largest critical mass of internationally ranked governance and public policy scholars and the Institute’s eminent adjunct faculty includes 14 award-winning members of the Commonwealth Senior Executive Service and the world of political communication. The institute presently receives funding for ten Australian Research Council (ARC) projects and one of the Institute’s professors, John Dryzek, was awarded an Australian Laureate in September 2014. IGPA also manages graduate programs in public administration and public policy for the Commonwealth Departments of Agriculture, Industry, Infrastructure and Regional Development and the ACT government. Moreover, the Institute works in research and policy related partnerships with various overseas governments and international organisations including key countries in Asia (e.g. Vietnam and China) through to countries from Europe, Latin America, and Middle East.

I sincerely thank you for sparing your valuable time in reading this welcome note and I hope to have the opportunity to personally welcome you, and/or your staff, to the Centre soon.

Kind regards,

Christopher Roberts 

Director
National Asian Studies Centre (NASC)

Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA)
University of Canberra
B.Soc.Sc., MA (Asian Studies), PhD

 

The Director

Christopher Roberts has dedicated his life toward the development of an in-depth understanding of Asian politics and security as well as the cultures and perspectives of the region’s people. During this time, he has lived in Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan with extended stays in Indonesia, Vietnam, and India. Moreover, through more than 150 country visits (2017), he has conducted fieldwork in all the ASEAN countries as well as China, Japan and South Korea. Aside from his extensive research publications, reports and op-eds about the region, Christopher is very passionate about the development of knowledge, the strengthening of interpersonal communication, and the establishment closer relationships with and between the peoples and states of the Indo-pacific.

From Left to Right: Foreign Minister Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and Christopher Roberts (Presidential Palace, Jakarta, August 2011). 

The Executive

Director of the National Asian Studies Center (NASC), Head of the NASC’s ‘East Asia and ASEAN Program’ and conjoint Head of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategic Issues and Major Powers Program’

Dr Christopher Roberts is the Director of the NASC where he also in charge of the Centre’s ‘East Asia and ASEAN Program’ and jointly leads the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategic Issues and Major Powers Program’ alongside Associate Professor Ashok Sharma. Christopher specializes in the politics and security of the Indo-Pacific including ASEAN, the South China Sea, the drivers and constraints to international collaboration and competition, the pre-conditions to peace and post-conflict resolution, and the impact of great and middle power dynamics on the regional order. Christopher lived in Japan and Singapore for five years and has nearly two decades of field experience throughout Asia including over 150 country visits to all the ASEAN nations plus Japan, South Korea, China, and India. This has resulted in more than fifty publications including books (2 sole authored and 2 edited), journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, commentaries, and reports. Christopher has also held various leadership positions contributing to the development of academic programs, research agendas, and outreach at the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, and RSIS at the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).

Head, ‘Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Program’

Professor Clive Williams is a former Australian Military Intelligence and Defence Intelligence officer. He left Defence in 2002 and has since worked at The Australian National University (ANU) and other universities in Australia and overseas, running Master’s courses in terrorism, counterterrorism, and protective security. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and is a Visiting Professor at the ANU’s Centre for Military and Security Law in Canberra. Clive is a member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO), and the International Academy of Investigative Psychology (AIAIP).

Head, ‘Non-Traditional and Transnational Security Program’

Dr Rita Parker is Head of the NASC’s ‘Non-Traditional and Transnational Security Program. She is also a Europa Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University and formerly managed the Australian Centre for Armed Conflict and Society (ACSACS) within the Australian Defence Force Academy campus of UNSW. Prior appointments include Distinguished Fellow (Associate Professor) at George Mason University (USA) and being a senior policy advisor to Australian Federal and State governments where she established her expertise in non-traditional security and resilience issues. Her current research on urgent global transnational security policy issues has two themes: (a) non?traditional security challenges to national resilience and (b) transnational challenges to the resilience of the liberal democratic model. She is co?editor of Global Insecurity: Futures of Chaos and Governance (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017). Recent publications include: Unregulated population migration and other future drivers of instability in the South Pacific (2018: Lowy Institute) and ‘Pandemic: Health and other risks’, in Pandemics: Prevention, Risk and Management (2018: Nova Science Publishers, New York). Rita’s research has been published in Australia, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and USA.

Head, ‘South Asia Strategic, Security, and State Fragility Program’ and Conjoint Head of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategic Issues and Major Powers Program’

Dr Ashok Sharma is also Deputy Chair at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Auckland. Ashok specialises in international relations, global security and the Indo-Pacific strategic issues with a focus on great power geo-politics, Indian foreign and security policy, South Asia’s strategic and security issues, ethnic lobbying in the US foreign policy, and security issues mainly nuclear, terrorism and energy.  He has published more than 20 refereed research outputs, and more than 100 articles in periodicals, reviews and media, and is the author of the book Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War (Sage Publications, 2017). He was previously a Fellow of the Australia-India Institute at the University of Melbourne, a Lecturer at the University Auckland, and a Fellow of that NZIRI within the Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to moving to Australia in 2008, he was a lecturer at Delhi University and worked with New Delhi- based strategic and foreign policy think tanks.

Head, ‘Asia, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands Governance Program’

Dr Stephen Sherlock is a specialist on Indonesian politics, with long experience working in Indonesia on training, research projects and capacity-building programs in the Indonesian parliament, government ministries, CSOs and political parties. He is a former Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI). Dr Sherlock has worked for the World Bank, UNDP, ADB, AusAID/DFAT, USAID, DFID, GIZ, the Asia Foundation, international NGOs, democracy promotion institutes and political party foundations from Germany, US and UK. He has worked closely with Indonesian organisations active in the field of electoral and legislative affairs, including CETRO, Perludem, PSHK and Formappi, and has published widely on Indonesian governance, parliaments, elections, electoral systems and political parties.

Head, 'The Pacific Island Program'

Dr Exmond DeCruz is Head of the Pacific Island’s Program. He previously managed the LAFIA ‘Leading Australia’s Future in Asia’ and ‘Leading Australia’s Future in the Pacific’ elite immersion training programs for the Senior Executive Services of the Australian Public Service between 2005 and 2012, all of which were delivered under the auspices of the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The LAFIA suite was delivered by the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and antecedents from its inception under the Hawke-Keating Governments in 1994 and was intended to address the insularity of the Australian Public Service and enable APS leaders to develop a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the underlying strategic, economic, social, cultural, geographic and historical dimensions of our Asian and Pacific neighbours. Dr DeCruz was also instrumental in other ground-breaking bilateral initiatives such as the first-ever high-level executive immersion programs for Vice-Ministers and Provincial Governors from China and Vietnam between 2006 and 2008. In all, Exmond has been responsible for the curriculum development and implementation of over $55 Million of executive programs on behalf of Australian and numerous foreign Government largely delivered with academics from The Australian National University. Prior to this, Dr DeCruz worked for a decade in the corporate arena consulting to both large private and public-listed companies in Australia (1996-2000) and South East Asia (2000-2005). Before this, he was an academic and researcher in the medical discipline at ANU, Melbourne University and Charles Sturt University. Dr DeCruz’s current research is in the applications of contextual behavioural sciences and PROSOCIAL polycentric governance working with Dr Robert Styles of ANU and their endeavours were recently recognised by their nomination as finalists for The Australian Psychological Society’s 2018 Workplace Excellence Awards. Dr DeCruz also currently consults with the University of Canberra DVC Research and Innovation’s EngageUC program.

Courses

Boutique Courses 

The Professional Development Courses below are listed by Division/Program Stream and what follows within are predesigned course packages that can be tailored (both in terms of content and length) to suit individual agency needs.

Every course is delivered on a policy relevant basis by a leading expert and/or experts in the field. These experts come from Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, India, and the United States.

These courses can be convened as part of a larger package or as a stand-alone course. All the listed courses are offered at the University of Canberra and, where relevant and feasible, can also be convened for governments/agencies in other countries.

  1. Indo-Pacific Strategic Issues and Major Powers Program
  2. East Asia and ASEAN Program
  3. Politics and Governance in Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Program
  4. Pacific Island Program
  5. South Asia Strategic, Security, and State Fragility Program
  6. Non-Traditional and Transnational Security Program
  7. Policing, Intelligence, and Counter Terrorism Program

Executive Short Courses

The only accredited courses dedicated to a multiagency and multinational cohort

The NASC Executive Short Courses (ESCs) are offered in both graded (i.e. assessed) and non-graded (i.e. audit) modes. The incorporation of both modes in a single classroom environment is designed to utilise participation from a more representative mix of agencies and countries across the Indo-Pacific. Participants who are enrolled in an assessed mode will receive an academic transcript and can potentially utilise this document to support later admission (and potential credit) into the executive Graduate Certificate and/or the Master of Public Administration and, potentially, a proposed Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate/Master of Security and International Relations. These ESCs are tailored for, but not exclusive to, Australian government ‘APS’ and ‘executive’ levels and international equivalents. The unique learning experience in the Executive Short Courses is provided through an interactive approach that draws on the collective knowledge and expertise of participants from a broad range of agencies and countries. This peer to-peer learning experience will occur through structured discussions, case studies, and participant presentations; all of which are designed to reinforce the development of highly skilled scholar-practitioners in national security and policy making. This approach will also facilitate the creation of relationships, on an inter-agency and international basis, with the potential to improve intergovernmental relations and collaboration in the future.

  1. Indo-Pacific Security Challenges and Comparative Policy Approaches (1 and 2-week options)
  2. Southeast Asia’s Politics, Economies and Cultures: The Implications of Complexity and Diversity (1 and 2-week options)
Affiliates

Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Indonesia

http://www.cseasindonesia.com/

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies was formally established in 2005 as an independent institution and with specific focus on Southeast Asia. The Center collaborates with other area programs in global and comparative research and activities. The Center had three divisions: (1) the division of economic studies; (2) the division of socio-cultural studies; and (3) the division of politics and strategic studies. The Center provides support for research, conferences, workshops, seminars, and study groups. It welcomes visiting scholars who wish to conduct their research on Southeast Asia in Indonesia, and encourages collaboration with other Southeast Asian research institutes worldwide.

In 2016, CSEAS became a member of United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Networks (UN-SDSN). The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Net- work (UN-SDSN) has been operating under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2017 CSEAS became a member of Asia Consortium of Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia). The NTS-Asia Consortium is a network of non-traditional security research institutes and think tanks in Asia Pacific.?On the commemoration of 50 years of ASEAN, our Center conducted research on Human Rights and Labour Migration across ASEAN in 6 ASEAN countries. The results include a positive contribution on the issues of regional migration in ASEAN, especially on the issue of social protection of low skilled migrant workers across ASEAN.

We have three priority are in 2018 including Maritime Security in ASEAN (IUU Fishing and South China Sea), Migration in ASEAN and Sustainability in ASEAN (Marine Plastic Pollution). One of our priority areas is sustainability regarding the issue of on marine debris in the ASEAN countries, especially plastic waste. We work closely with the Division of Environment at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, on best practice concerning the management of plastic pollution in ASEAN.

Our activities also focus on how translate the 17 Goals of Sustainable Development Goals into the regional level and achieve the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in ASEAN in ways that complement and reinforce each other.

Testimonials

… the course has equipped me with invaluable geo-political insights from established academics and daily opportunities for exchange of views with a multinational group of government representatives. The Director, Professor Chris Roberts, with his personal experience working overseas, was able to act local yet speak global, and he was able to articulate political sensitivities very well. Indisputably, a great platform for strategic learning.

Delegate: Singapore Armed Forces

Associate Professor Roberts put together a truly stellar course. The strategic dialogue and level of interaction that included Flag and General Officers, and their civilian equivalents was quite refreshing…I made some lifelong friends and contacts that I continue to engage with to this day. I wish this course had been available to me as a junior officer.

Delegate: Colonel, US Marine Corps

National Security Challenges and Policies in the Indo-Pacific was bar none, the best course I have participated in during my career in Canberra. The presenters have real life, in-depth experience and just as importantly, were approachable to ask my many questions. I felt the course was more focussed on relevant subject matter and represented very good value for money, which isn’t always the case. The course content was well thought out and matched to my Indo-Pacific focussed job. A highlight was the mix of international and local students, which made for enriching discussions and debate. I completely enjoyed the course and would recommend considering any course that Chris Roberts is involved in.

Delegate: Australian Government

My participation in Christopher Roberts’ course provided the most valuable coverage of Security-related issues I have ever experienced during my 12-year career in the Government. My understanding about the complicated security issues in the Indo-Pacific is now much better thanks to the rich presentations shared by very well-known academicians, high-profile professionals, and government officers from the strategic agencies of Australia, together with the dynamic in-class discussions with other participants from governmental agencies across the Indo-Pacific. …In addition, I enjoyed the site visits to strategic facilities in ACT and NSW which was so well-tailored that made the two-week Course pass by very quickly for me. Undoubtedly, the Course is a very good platform for all ranks of government officers to exchange strategic views and to build a wider range of networks. I thank Associate Professor Chris Roberts for his expertise in developing the Course and making it so enjoyable and valuable. I cannot recommend the courses enough!

Delegate: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kemlu), Republic of Indonesia

… the course was exceptional. The Director, Dr Chris Roberts, put together a slate of speakers unlike any I have been exposed to … I can honestly say that I feel like a better US Army Officer as a result of my attendance at this course.

Delegate: Colonel, United States Army

Under the coordination of the Director, Mr Christopher Roberts, the course was unique in enabling an exchange of many views among the professional participants who came from many countries. I finished the course with a much better understanding of Australia and other Asian countries and their needs and perspectives. I thoroughly recommend these courses as mandatory for any practitioner who has an interest in better understanding Asian security and best practice policy making.

Sutrimo, Director-General for Defense Potential, Ministry of Defence (Kemhan), Indonesia 

What I found uniquely valuable about the National Security Challenges and Policies in the Indo-Pacific course at UNSW@ADFA was the way it brought together participants and expert speakers from governments, militaries and educational institutions across the region, providing an insight into different national perspectives on the strategic security issues and challenges facing us all.

Delegate: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia 

I attended a 2-week short course organized by Dr. Christoper Roberts and after finishing the course, I found that this is one of the best courses I have attended so far. First, the course broadened me with various insights and knowledge on the security of the Asia-Pacific area, from traditional security issues to non-traditional security issues. The contents of lectures were high quality and well-structured to cover many interesting and important security issues in the region. Second, the course invited a range of well-known professors and government officials (retired and working officials) from Australia that provided great practical and theoretical knowledge. Third, the participants of the were officials from various agencies of countries in the region and their active discussions during the course also enlightened me about their knowledge and understanding of security issues in the region. Fourth, the course was excellent in combining the class-based lectures with various field trips in Canberra and Sydney that brought me a deep knowledge of Australia. I was so interested in visiting the Garden Island Navy base in Sydney, Parliament house, the Japanese Embassy and many other places.  Finally, aside from the invaluable knowledge it provided, I also got to know a lot of scholars and officers and that has broadened my network of friends and research colleagues … In conclusion, I would like to say that the course was excellent in both in content and organization. I will continue to recommend the Centre’s courses to my colleagues as mandatory to attend. 

Nguyen Thai Giang, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Socialist Republic of Vietnam 

The two-week course on National Security Challenges and Policies in the Indo-Pacific helmed by AP Dr Chris Roberts was one of the most memorable courses that I have attended to-date.  Dr Roberts had assembled an excellent team of speakers; practitioners and academics, very familiar with the topics and who were able to contextualise discussions to suit the participants. One of the core strengths of the course, beyond discussion sessions, was the different backgrounds of the participants, comprising diplomats, military officers and trade officials from a variety of countries in the region.  This saw a wide range of views being expressed, encouraging friendly debate and learning.  The site visits were carefully curated to supplement topics discussed at the various sessions and gave an insight into local government operations. The immersion component of the programme, in Sydney, was useful in interacting with fellow participants and trainers in a casual atmosphere and enhanced the overall experience of the course. Dr Roberts himself was highly knowledgeable about developments in the region and familiar with prominent practitioners, having lived in Southeast Asia for a time, and travelling often to speak at various regional forums. Would strongly recommend this course for government officials and policy makers for its balanced focus on strategic and operational issues in the region.

Delegate: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore

The Course on National Security Challenges and Policies in the Indo-Pacific was the best workshop I’ve ever had chance to join across many countries in the world. It has the best composition of both academic-strategic discussions and cross-cultural learning. Aside from the first-class expertise of the scholars, experts, diplomats, and government officials during their leading presentations, I had the very rare opportunity to exchange perspectives in an open and frank manner with participants who are senior defense officials and strategists from the U.S., Australia, the Philippines, Cambodia and others. The outcomes from the two-week set of interactions and discussions have been the most valuable for my strategic outlook than anything else too date…

Delegate: Captain, Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam

This executive course was particularly exceptional. It provided me with great insights into updated ASEAN politico-security affairs, as well as other important regional security issues. In addition, the professors who delivered the lectures were very knowledge about their own subject areas. Associate Professor. Christopher B. Roberts, the course convenor, was very competent in ASEAN politics and security issues and very generous in hosting all of us…

Delegate: Bureau Chief, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia

Historically, command at sea of a warship is not easy.  It is even more challenging when the officers and their sailors do not have the level of knowledge or understanding of regional dynamics expected to keep the sea lines of communication open for the world's economy to prosper. Professor Roberts’ regional knowledge of the Pacific theater and keen insights enhances a military commander’s knowledge exponentially through his well-developed executive seminars. If there was just one course you had to attend, this would be it.

Delegate: Commander, United States Navy 

This was one of the best short courses I have ever attended. The venue, materials, and facilitation was excellent. The course was very inspirational, energising, and brought lots of ideas with both substantial and in-depth knowledge together with case studies, learning from experience, and being fully practice-oriented. My thanks to the Director of the programme, Professor Chris Roberts, for having a well-balanced composition of participants and speakers, which contributed to interesting and focused discussions and exchanges of real-life defence and strategic issues in the region and beyond.  An excellent programme - I learned a lot.

Delegate: Brigadier Veasna Var, Royal Cambodian Army

I thoroughly enjoyed and got great value from Dr Roberts’ ten-day course - National Security Challenges and Policies in the Indo-Pacific… The guest speakers were high profile academics and senior Australian government officials and military officers.  It was really interesting to get the perspectives of both theorists and the practitioners.  Professor Roberts’ own presentations were also excellent. One I remember in particular was on Myanmar, where he displayed deep academic and personal knowledge of that country.  Dr Roberts was adept in bringing out the unique perspectives of the high calibre course participants, who included diplomats from foreign embassies in Canberra and officials and military officers from Australia and overseas.  Based on my experience of that course, I am confident in endorsing Dr Roberts’ future endeavours, including the National Asian Studies Centre (NASC) at the University of Canberra  

Delegate: Peter Brooks, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This program provided a precious opportunity for me to exchange views with outstanding professors, experts and participants about current political and economic developments in the region. I really learned a lot through the well-designed program. I also would like to appreciate my teacher, Professor Christopher Roberts, who enriched my knowledge about the International Relations of the region.

Delegate: Deputy Counsellor, Southeast Asian Embassy

The Course was so useful for my career. It was the first course I have ever attended that mixed two main disciplinary groups (i.e. diplomatic and security) into one programme. It opened my eyes to how military people look at things, how they plan and operate, and how the diplomatic discipline fits into their operations. Associate Professor Roberts also arranged the course perfectly – keeping the course concise and straight to the point. We exchanged views and discussion during the class or even after that. If you ask whether you should join this course, I would certainly recommend that you do. 

Delegate: Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand

When it comes to gaining keen insights in the Indo-Pacific region to safe guarding our way of life and command the high seas with regional partners Dr. Chris Roberts develops programs on par with America's greatest academic institutions.  Professor Roberts ability to bring military, governmental and academic scholars together to discuss regional concerns and develop viable solutions in a turbulent part of the world is remarkable and a testament to his passion of democratic ideals, free markets, modern diplomacy and regional security.  His graduate level programs would be required courses of learning and development for all my junior and mid-grade officers deploying to the Indo-Pacific region.

Delegate: Commander, United States Navy

Over the years, Dr. Christopher Roberts has done a terrific job to designing and conducting Executive Short Courses on regional security challenges and policies in the Indo-Pacific, which are invaluably helpful for policy practitioners to be updated on the regional state-of-affairs. Put in an innovative workshop style, these course strikes a balance between lecturing and conversation, between classroom and fieldwork, to open up spaces for participants to share and exchange insights in a frank and open manner. For me, I obtained an exceptional opportunity to consult and engage in lively discussions with a range of top-notch experts and knowledgeable peers on key regional security issues. The program also created a wonderful setting for intercultural learning, networking, and friend making.

Assistant Director General, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. Course Delegate and Former intern to Christopher Roberts under the Endeavour Award Program.