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Canberra Is Not Closed: Ten Reasons to Go to #AAC2020

February 5, 2020

By Stephen Howe and Anthea Mulakala

There are just two weeks to go until the seventh annual Australasian AID Conference, Monday through Wednesday, February 17–19, cohosted by the ANU Development Policy Centre and The Asia Foundation. Here are ten reasons not to miss #AAC2020.

Lant Pritchett

  1. Canberra is not closed. Yes, we’ve had an incredibly difficult summer with devastating fires, but the smoke is diminishing, and better weather is greatly improving conditions. The conference is in a modern, air-conditioned building.
  2. Lant PritchettLant will be headlining our preconference events with his Monday afternoon keynote, “Good Intentions, Great Policies, Crappy Outcomes: The Difficult Dynamics of Deals.” Stronger rules and regulations (often aid-funded) sound good, but Lant argues that they can actually make things worse. We’re also looking forward to hearing Lant take on Andrew Leigh and Jo Puri in our session “Debating RCTs.” Did randomized control trials deserve the Nobel Prize? Are they revolutionizing development, or missing the point?
  3. Radhika Coomaraswamy on women, peace, and securityAn eminent Sri Lankan lawyer, diplomat, and human rights advocate, our opening-morning keynote speaker is former UN undersecretary general and current special representative for children and armed conflict. She is one of the world’s leading experts on women, peace, and security, and will present a forward-looking agenda.

    Radhika Coomaraswamy

  4. Jonathan Glennie on the future of aidDoes aid have a future, and if so, what does it look like? No one has thought about this more than our third keynote speaker, author Jonathan Glennie, who will lay out a new approach to aid and argue for five paradigm shifts.
  5. The latest on Australian aid. This year’s conference has a strong focus on Australian aid—and appropriately so, given the changes brewing in international development policy. We have sessions on Australian aid to PNG and on aid to Indonesia, as well as two panels on Australian aid, the national interest, and foreign policy. The 2019 Australian aid transparency audit will be released, and there’ll be lots on aid effectiveness, of course.
  6. Beyond aid. It’s not just an aid conference; it’s aid and international development. There are sessionscovering labor mobility, food security, climate change, men’s attitudes towards violence against women, civil society in Asia, public-private partnerships, and more from the frontiers of development policy.
  7. Indonesia and the Pacific. We have sessions on what Indonesia can teach the world about antipoverty programs and what the Pacific can teach the world about working with men and boys to end violence against women. There will also be discussions on educational reforms and challenges in both Indonesia and the Pacific.
  8. Four book launches. The AAC has become the place to launch your book or report, in the Monday preconference launch session. This year we have four book launches: Where Is the Money for Women and Girls in the Pacific, The Asia Girls’ Leadership Index, Pacific Perspectives on the World, and Priorities for Australia’s Humanitarian Action.


  9. Fifty-eight panels and 220 presentersWe have panels covering disability inclusion, technological innovation, impact investing, aid evaluation, and many other critical issues. Interested in increasing the diversity of Australian aid professionals? Or in workplace gender equality here and abroad? Social and indigenous procurement? Child-focused aid? Adaptive programming? Development leadership? Identity? WASH? Law and governance? Peacebuilding? The global learning crisis? Regional health security? The list goes on. Check out the full program here.
  10. We would mention the Mitchell Humanitarian Award and the celebration of our 2019 aid profiles at our annual conference dinner. Unfortunately, the dinner is already sold out. But you can still join us for drinks on Monday and Wednesday, late afternoon. Which is the final reason to come: #AAC2020 is the region’s premier opportunity for networking in the international development space.

So, don’t miss it. Register here.

Participants at last year’s conference. AAC2020 begins Feb. 17. (Photo: Development Policy Centre)

Stephen Howes of the Development Policy Centre and Anthea Mulakala of The Asia Foundation are two of the conveners of the 2020 Australasian Aid Conference


Related programs: Development and Aid Effectiveness
Related topics: Australia


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