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Source: University of Otago

The University of Otago Foreign Policy School will be held 2 and 3 July.
Challenges and opportunities faced by New Zealand because of the COVID-19 crisis is the topic of the upcoming 55th University of Otago Foreign Policy School.
Co-director Dr Dennis Wesselbaum says this year’s School will cover topics that are very timely, such as climate change, energy, trade, and the role small and middle powers face in overcoming challenges in achieving domestic and foreign policy goals.
Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
“The School will focus on critical economic and foreign policy issues relevant in an uncertain post-COVID-19 world.
“Since World War 2, the world has generally benefited from playing a co-operative game and solving problems in a joint effort. This rules-based system has been severely challenged in recent years and small and middle powers, such as Aotearoa New Zealand, need to balance Realpolitik and its moral values in an effort to maximise the benefits of global cooperation and minimise the risks that global exposure can bring,” he says.
Running on 2 and 3 July, the School is a premier event in New Zealand’s international calendar, and a flagship event of Otago.
“It brings together representatives from various branches including the Government, diplomats, journalists, and academics to exchange ideas about topics of great interest and relevance to Aotearoa New Zealand today and in the future,” Dr Wesselbaum says.
This year’s speakers include: Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Local Government, and Associate Minister of Māori Development; Dr Kurt Campbell, United States National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific; Professor Mireya Solís, Director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies, and a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings Institute; and Professor Alice Hill, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations.
They will explore some of the challenges facing New Zealand foreign policy in the emerging post-COVID-19 era by considering four interrelated themes:
Values and Interests
The enduring importance of trade
The looming challenge of climate change
Small/Middle State leadership and soft power projection
“In many ways, New Zealand and many other small and middle powers are facing a fork-in-the-road moment in international relations. The story of the post-Cold War era is one of growing interconnectedness which all states, including superpowers like the US and China, are confronted by a growing number of challenges that do not respect national borders. It is an environment which is creating new opportunities for smaller states like New Zealand to play a greater role on the international stage.
“New Zealand has signalled its desire to take a leadership role (for example the Christchurch Call, indigenous foreign policy and the Ardern Government’s more tempered approach to the China relationship) and this requires us to ‘step up’ with clearly articulated and innovative ideas.
“I hope the School gives attendees the opportunity to engage in a robust exchange of ideas, learn, make new connections, and discuss challenges and opportunities we face during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Wesselbaum says.
Otago Foreign Policy School:
2–3 July 2021
St Margaret’s College, University of Otago