Asylum and the Alliance: How the United States and Australia Negotiate Refugee Protection

Institute for the Study of International Migration, the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies and the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales present


Asylum and the Alliance: How the United States and Australia Negotiate Refugee Protection


In November 2016, near the end of the Obama administration, the Australian and US governments concluded an agreement that allowed for the transfer of roughly 1,250 refugees held in detention centers located in Nauru and on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island to the US. In early 2017, President Trump complained calling it a ‘very bad deal’. Yet, the Australia – United States Resettlement Arrangement remains in place. What is the backstory to the agreement, and what has happened since?


Prof. Anne Richard, former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration (2012-2017), led the refugee negotiations for the US. Prior to serving in the Obama administration, she was Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. Since leaving office in January 2017, she has taught at Georgetown University and been a visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House.


Prof. Alan Tidwell, Director of the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University. From 2001 through 2004 he was a program officer with the United States Institute of Peace, where he focused on conflict resolution and education. His area of specialization includes work on conflict in the Australasian region. Prior to joining the Institute in 2001, he was a senior lecturer in management at Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia, where he taught courses in conflict resolution and negotiation.


Dr. Claire Higgins is a senior research associate at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of New South Wales. She is the author of Asylum by Boat: Origins of Australia’s Refugee Policy (New South).


Light refreshments will be available.

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