Australian Foreign Minister and International Policy Experts Discuss Middle East Challenges During Meeting at RAND

For Release

January 29, 2016

The RAND Corporation and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney convened a distinguished group of Australian and American experts at RAND's headquarters in Santa Monica today to discuss the challenges ahead in Middle East policy for both countries.

Led by Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the group included Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, terrorism expert Brian Jenkins, counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen and RAND economist Howard Shatz, as well as other experts in Australian and American strategic policy.

Discussions covered ISIS financing, organizational structure and operations, as well as Australian and American perspectives on dealing with foreign fighters and the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. A separate session focused on the implications of the Iran nuclear deal on broader regional security, and Australian and American foreign policies toward Iran and the evolution of Iran's role in the Middle East.

“We welcome the chance to engage in an important discussion with leaders and colleagues from Australia and other research institutions,” said Michael D. Rich, president and CEO of RAND, who welcomed the participants and took part in the discussions. “Opportunities such as this help to advance nonpartisan, evidence-based public policy.”

Others who participated in the half-day of discussion include James Brown, research director at the United States Studies Centre, Andrew Liepman, former principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and Janine Davidson, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The meeting formed part of the annual G'DAY USA program of events that brings together Australian and American leaders from government, business, academia and the arts to cultivate and enhance the long-term and deep Australia-United States relationship.

The mission of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney is to increase understanding of the United States in Australia.

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