Dr Bob Bowker retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2008 after a 37 year career working mostly on the Middle East. He was posted to Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 2006, and Syria from 1979 to 1981. He was Australian ambassador to Jordan (1989-1992). He was Director of External Relations and Public Information, and later Senior Adviser, Policy Research of UNRWA in 1997-1998, based in Gaza and Jerusalem. He was the Australian ambassador to Egypt (2005-2008) and non-resident Australian ambassador to Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Sudan. Following his retirement from DFAT he returned to the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies where he was Adjunct Professor from 2008 to 2016, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow from 2017 to 2019.
He is the author of five books and numerous publications on Middle East issues, including the widely-referenced Palestinian Refugees: Mythology, Identity and the Search for Peace. His Australia, Menzies and Suez, a monograph discussing Australia’s approach to the 1956 Suez Crisis, was published in November 2019; and a volume co-edited with Matthew Jordan of 449 Australian government documents relating to the Suez Crisis, Australia and the Suez Crisis, 1950-1957 was published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2021.
The Hon. Tim Watts MP, Assistant Foreign Minister
The Hon. Tim Watts is the Federal Member for Gellibrand in Melbourne’s west, one of the most diverse and dynamic areas of Australia. He was appointed Assistant Foreign Minister after the federal election in 2022.
Before entering Parliament, he worked in the technology sector for almost a decade. He also worked as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Minister for Communications and a Senior Adviser to the Victorian Premier. In opposition, he served as Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Communications.
Prof Karima Laachir (Director, CAIS, the ANU)
Mr Allan Behm, The Australia Institute
Dr Anas Iqtait (Lecturer, CAIS, the ANU)
Mr Ian Parmeter (CAIS, the ANU)