Virtual event strengthens Australia’s international ties

Recognising that the Middle East and North Africa – also known as MENA nations – are among the world’s fastest growing regions in regard to national economies, investment and the legal profession, the College of Business Government and Law recently hosted the important and influential Tawasol virtual networking event.

Tawasol (meaning ‘staying connected’ in Arabic) was held on 23 August as a part of a grant from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Council of Arab Relations (DFAT CAAR).

A team of researchers from the College of Business, Government and Law – including Associate Professor Vivienne Brand, Associate Professor Hossein Esmaeili and Flinders PhD graduate Reem Alothmany (also Assistant Professor at King Abdul Aziz University) – led the workshop to facilitate and promote networking between key stakeholders in investment, trade, education and the legal profession connected with the MENA region.

Australia possesses important but historically limited ties with the MENA region, but Australia’s current diversification in trade dependence on single regions coincides with MENA countries moving their economies away from oil, to explore new areas of investment and international cooperation.

Given that pre-existing cultural ties can be found in large migrant populations in Australia, MENA links are poised to increase in importance for Australian trade, education, investment and the legal profession.

The virtual networking event was attended by academics, students, legal practitioners, and businesspeople from Australia and MENA countries. High-profile presenters included Todd Miller, the Trade and Investment Commissioner for Austrade in Riyadh, Jonathan Berry, the Associate Director and Head of the Abu Dubai office of international recruiting firm Robert Walters, and Adam Malouf, the Chief Investment Officer of the Government of Dubai Knowledge Fund and Chair of the Middle East Advisory Committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As part of the grant from the DFAT and CAAR, the team has secured a contract for an edited book, International Trade with the Middle East and North Africa: Legal, Commercial and Investment Perspectives, to be published by Routledge in the US.

The book was pre-launched at the networking event by Dr Susan Karamanian, Professor and Dean of Law at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, former Vice President of the America Society of International Law and former President of the Washington Foreign Law Society.

The book chapters will be written by a range of key stakeholders in the region to shed light on comparative legal regimes and commercial practices between Australia and MENA nations – a project that will further enhance the international outlook of Flinders University’s College of Business, Government and Law through strengthening international networks with international collaborators.

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