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NZ World Affairs – conference honours Vic Academic


New Zealand in World Affairs – conference honours Vic academic

With terrorists killing tourists in Bali and the invasion of Iraq testing New Zealand's relationship with its traditional friends, a major conference organised by Victoria University this week examines New Zealand's role in World Affairs.

The Fourth Wellington Conference on World Affairs, organised by the University's Political Science and International Relations programme, will be held at the University on Friday December 5 to mark the retirement from Victoria of esteemed political science academic Associate Professor Roderic Alley.

The conference opens with a keynote speech by Associate Professor Alley, who has taught at Victoria since 1967, while colleagues from New Zealand, Argentina and Australia will also deliver papers. The conference will address issues such as New Zealand in a Globalising World, New Zealand's Role in the Pacific, and Trans-Tasman Relations.

Professor Ralph Pettman, Professor of International Relations at Victoria, said New Zealand was not immune from the upheaval in world affairs that has flowed from the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC two years ago.

"New Zealand has been seen as 'punching above its weight' in international affairs, but that was based on its influence through the United Nations, of which it was a founding member, and multilateralism. With the invasion of Iraq resulting in New Zealand being at odds with its traditional friends and allies, Australia, Britain and the United States, and President George W. Bush adopting a policy of unilateral action to deal with actual and perceived threats to American interests, it is timely to reassess New Zealand's place in world affairs. As well, New Zealand's continuing anti-nuclear stand continues to impinge on its strategic relationship with the world's only superpower, the United States."

Associate Professor Alley, who has a Masters degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Victoria, specialises in the study of international relations with particular reference to the Pacific, the United Nations and disarmament. In January 2004 his next book from British publisher Ashgate will deal with the international implications of internal conflict. He is the graduate studies co-ordinator for Victoria's Political Science and International Relations Programme and is a Vice-President of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.

Papers from the conference will be published at a later date.

Media are welcome to attend the conference in the Hunter Council Chamber, Friday, December 5 from 9am to 5pm.

The conference outline can be found at: www.vuw.ac.nz/pols/Raprogramme.htm


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