February 8th, 2016 by Nicholas Barber
Global Voices is a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote Australian youth engagement in international diplomacy and foreign policy discussion. In the past five years, Global Voices has sent over 35 delegations to 18 of the most prestigious international conferences in the world.
One of the delegations focuses entirely on defence and security issues, with past representation at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Myanmar Dialogue, and Global Security Conference. Fortunately, one position on the Defence delegation is reserved for an ADF member – ideally, a junior officer that demonstrates a strong interest in international relations and security issues.
The Global Voices Defence Delegation is a very good initiative for the ADF. The program engages young officers well beyond the scope of their ordinary employment and promotes networking opportunities that are inconceivable for a junior ADF officer. Equally, the delegation allows an ADF officer to reflect on their research and practical military experience to provide tactical insight to Australian and international foreign policy makers.
The Global Voices Program normally consists of four components (based off 2015):
- Global Security Conference (GLOBSEC), Slovakia. GLOBSEC is the principal security conference in Europe and is attended by politicians, strategists and security commentators. The central themes for GLOBSEC 15 were Russian aggression, the Balkans and Daesh. Parallel to the central security conference, GLOBSEC co-hosts the GLOBSEC Young Leaders’ Forum. GLOBSEC Young Leaders’ Forum is an institution designed to give emerging influencers an opportunity to contribute inspiring ideas to the debate on transatlantic security, foreign policy and economy. As part of the GLOBSEC Young Leaders’ Forum in 2015, Captain Nicholas Barber was allocated to the Working Group assessing Ukraine’s future, where policy strategies were developed to assist Ukraine build an independent, stable and prosperous future. Additionally, Captain Barber moderated the session on ‘Countering ISIL’ with General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition on Countering ISIS.
- Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore. The Shangri-La Dialogue is the premier regional security forum in the Asia-Pacific. The central theme of the 2015 Shangri-La Dialogue was the South China Sea dispute. As one of almost 500 delegates at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the Global Voices delegation are afforded the ability to attend and contribute to plenary sessions.
- Pre-briefings, Canberra. The Global Voices pre-briefings consists of a two-day meeting schedule in Canberra with key Australian defence and security stakeholders. The pre-briefings are an opportunity to discuss and debate global and regional security issues, as well as frame a research question for advice and refinement. During the pre-briefing schedule, delegates can expect to meet the Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence.
- Research Paper. As part of the program, delegates are required to research and produce a 2500-4000 word paper on a relevant defence or security issue. The papers are then reviewed and edited, before being submitted for publishing. Selecting an appropriate research topic is a critical component of the Global Voices Defence Delegation. ADF delegates bring unique experience to their research – practical military experience. Delegates are afforded excellent opportunities to discuss and convey the findings of their research with key security and defence stakeholders throughout the program. However, it is easy for research to be irrelevant to the program or lack practical recommendations that can be realistically implemented. Defence Delegates will find it challenging to discuss or use research during the program that is not focused on Asia-Pacific or European security issues.
Applicants are required to submit a resume’ and covering minute through their chain-of-command. Specific details are released from the OVCDF through Career Advisors.
The ADF participant in the Global Voices Defence Delegation is selected by the VCDF. The selection criteria for the candidate is based on the following criteria:
- Demonstrated ability through professional/academic achievement
- Demonstrated interest in security issues
- Capacity to gain personally and professionally from the experience
- Desire to use this experience to make contributions to defence upon returning to Australia.
A junior CAPT (E) is probably the ideal rank for the position, although the selected candidate should have a balanced resume’ of both foreign policy academia and practical military experience.