Flagship Programs

CAAR Speakers

This program provides opportunities for influential Australians to visit the Arab world (or vice versa) to share their expertise on a particular issue. The host institution (not the Speaker themselves) would receive $10,000 (excluding GST) in CAAR funding to cover costs associated with economy class international flights, domestic transport, accommodation and per diem expenses. The Speaker would visit for a week, visiting at least two cities, and undertaking at least one public (free) speaking event. The grantee must arrange for the Speaker to carry out media interviews and hold targeted meetings (with diplomats, relevant government agencies and community groups). Both the Speaker and the host institution are responsible for promotion of the CAAR’s support of the project, including through the use of social media.

Deakin University - Centre for Globalisation and Citizenship - “Round Table: Democratic Transition in Tunisia and the Role of Civil Society”

The CAAR International Speakers Program supported five leaders from Tunisian civil society to visit Australia for 10 days in July 2015. The speakers were hosted by Professor Fethi Mansouri, a Tunisian-born academic at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University. During their visit, the speakers travelled to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

The keynote event was an international symposium, An Arab Exception? The Role of Civil Society in Tunisia’s Democratic Transition. The symposium brought together 50 international experts to explore how Tunisia’s history and society helped to set the country apart from its neighbours. Tunisia’s strong and active civil society, long history of universal education and female representation were key themes of the symposium and were put forward by participants as reasons why Tunisia succeeded where other Arab states failed.

The speakers were invited to a round table in Canberra, chaired by the head of the Middle East Branch, Greg Ralph on 23 July 2015. The Tunisian Ambassador, H.E. Mr Nabil Lakhal also participated in the roundtable which shed further light on the critical role of civil society and academia in Tunisia’s transition to democracy.

Following the visit, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize to four Tunisian organisations for their decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia post-2011, in broader recognition of the important role Tunisian civil society plays in the country (and the example it sets for the Arab and Muslim world).

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From left: Ms Najet Mchala, University of Carthage;  Ms Ines Amri, Organisation for Activism and Citizenship; Professor Fethi Mansouri, Deakin University; Ms Raoudha Ben Othman, Tunis University ; Dr Zouhir Gabsi, Deakin University, and Ms Lamia Benyoussef University of Alabama at Birmingham
From left: Ms Najet Mchala, University of Carthage; Ms Ines Amri, Organisation for Activism and Citizenship; Professor Fethi Mansouri, Deakin University; Ms Raoudha Ben Othman, Tunis University ; Dr Zouhir Gabsi, Deakin University, and Ms Lamia Benyoussef University of Alabama at Birmingham
CAAR member, Mr Jabbour helped open the symposium.
CAAR member, Mr Jabbour helped open the symposium.

CAAR Visitors

This program provides opportunities for Australian or Arab experts (in disciplines as diverse as political science, theatre, sport, science, visual arts or start-up incubators) to collaborate with their counterparts in the alternate region. The host institution (not the Visitor themselves) would receive $30,000 (excluding GST) in CAAR funding to cover costs associated with business class international flights, domestic transport, accommodation and per diem expenses. The Visitor would visit for five to twelve weeks, and would achieve a demonstrable outcome, such as: an academic research paper, a theatre play script, a radio documentary, or an album. The grantee must arrange for the Visitor to carry out media interviews and hold targeted meetings (with diplomats, relevant government agencies and community groups). Both the Visitor and the host institution are responsible for appropriate promotion of the CAAR’s support of the project, including through the use of social media.

Deakin University - Centre for Globalisation and Citizenship – “Building Research Collaboration with the Gulf”

Our first ever Visiting Fellow, Professor Hamdy Hassan was in Australia from 18 July until 18 August 2015. Based in Melbourne at Deakin University (the host institution), Professor Hassan also visited Sydney and Canberra. He is a tenured Professor of Political Science at Cairo University and is currently based at the Institute for Islamic World Studies at Zayed University in Dubai, UAE.

Professor Hassan was in considerable demand during his travels giving lectures and seminars, attending roundtables with various departments and holding interviews with national newspapers and broadcasters. Following his interview with the ABC, the reporter commented that it was valuable having Professor Hassan, an established Arab academic, to feed into the local discourse on contentious issues.

In Canberra, the Egyptian Ambassador Dr Hassan El-Laithy hosted a lunch in honour of Professor Hassan. The Middle East Branch at DFAT also hosted a roundtable for Professor Hassan where he provided a unique perspective on relations between Australia and Egypt, the Gulf and Africa.

Photo Description In the picture above, from left CAAR Manager Richard Merzian, CAAR Visiting Fellow Professor Hassan and the head of the Middle East Branch at DFAT, Greg Ralph.

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From left CAAR Manager Richard Merzian, CAAR Visiting Fellow Professor Hassan and the head of the Middle East Branch at DFAT, Greg Ralph.
From left CAAR Manager Richard Merzian, CAAR Visiting Fellow Professor Hassan and the head of the Middle East Branch at DFAT, Greg Ralph.

CAAR Exchanges

This program provides funding to universities and professional organisations to arrange for Australian groups to travel to the Arab world (or vice versa) to undertake activities related to their studies or professions. For example, journalism students could attend a professional tour of local media agencies, or a sporting team could engage in a ‘train-the-trainer’ program. The students and the grantee are responsible for appropriate promotion of the CAAR’s support of the project, including through the use of social media.

Swinburne University of Technology - Department of Media and Communication – “The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour”

group of students in front of building

Media Students from Swinburne University travelled on an exchange program in the UAE and Jordan.

A total of 13 Swinburne University media students were selected under a competitive process. The students left on 5 June 2015, accompanied by their Jordanian lecturer Dr Saba Bebawi. The group visited and interviewed several agencies including Gulf News, Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, GN Magazines & GN Publishing, CNN, Dubai One and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. The students travelled to Amman, Jordan on the 9 June 2015. The group also visited the Irbid refugee camp and returned to Australia on the 20 June 2015.

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Australia-Middle East Journalism Exchange Ltd (Canberra University) – “Journalism in the Middle East”

AMEJE’s pilot project saw two journalism students from University of Canberra travel to the UAE and Qatar for three weeks. Australia-Middle East Journalism Exchange to achieve its long-term mission of improving cross-cultural understanding by fostering better informed journalism.

Under the AMEJE, Canberra University media students Scherry Bloul and Zac Schroedl were selected and arrived in the region on the 30 May 2015. The students interviewed the Australian Ambassador to the UAE and Qatar, Mr Pablo Kang. In the first week of June they visited Dubai Media Inc, Sky News Arabia, Abu Dhabi and the Al Bayan/Emarat Al Youm newsroom. The students also had the opportunity to tour Sharjah Museum of Islamic civilization and Al Ain National Museum.

On the 15 June 2015 the media students did full day training at the Doha Centre for Media Freedom. The students visited Al Jazeera news, Qatar Foundation Radio and finished the project on the 30 July 2015 with a showcase event for stakeholders and media in Canberra.

Video: Australia Middle East Journalism Exchange 2016 study tours

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From left Zac Schroedl,  Mr Pablo Kang and Scherry Bloul.
From left Zac Schroedl, Mr Pablo Kang and Scherry Bloul.

Women in Leadership

This program gives a platform to Arab women known for their leadership and innovation, and to foster stronger links between Australian and Arab women, organisations and businesses. Projects funded under this Flagship must centre around an event (held in either Australia or the Arab world), and have a lasting impact (such as by creating professional networks). The organisation would be expected to carry out media interviews and hold targeted meetings (with diplomats, relevant government agencies and community groups). The organisation is responsible for appropriate promotion of the CAAR’s support of the project, including through the use of social media.

World of Women Film Fair Middle East 2016 (WOW)

Project summary

Grantee: World of Women Film Fair - by Straight Street Media
Priority Area: Education
Flagship Program: Promotion of Women
Country: UAE, Lebanon

The World of Women’s Cinema - WOW Film Fair Middle East is the first women’s short film fair that promotes and awards the talents of women directors, producers and cinematographers in the film industry internationally. It is an event that offers emerging and established filmmakers the opportunity to screen short works giving a thematic perspective of ... “seeing the world through the eyes of women”. Created by Women in Film and Television NSW and supported by CAAR, this is the first of its kind in the Arab world. Committed to improving the status of women, both on and off the screen, the event aims to support and advance women working in film and TV.

This is the first project under the CAAR’s new flagship for the promotion of women.

Council for Australian-Arab Relations grant offer: $20,000.00 GST Exclusive

Total project value: $52,000.00

Last Updated: 16 December 2016