Professor Andrew O’Neil joined the Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) as director and hopes to expand the Institute’s focus on Japan and Indonesia.

He joins Griffith from Flinders University in South Australia where he was director of the Flinders International Asia Pacific Institute and associate dean for research in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“In close consultation with GAI’s Advisory Board, I’ll be reviewing the Institute’s strategy,” Professor O’Neil said.

“I’m committed to maintaining China as a priority area of focus, but I’m also very interested in focussing greater attention on Australia’s engagement with Japan, the two Koreas, and Indonesia on security, political, and economic issues,” Professor O’Neil said.

“There is a justifiably strong focus on China’s relevance to Australia, but we often overlook Indonesia even though it’s the most populous Muslim country in the world and the most important country in Australia’s immediate regional environment.

“GAI is lucky to have one of the world’s leading experts on Burma on its research team and others writing on other areas of Southeast Asia. It’s an area of Asia that is central to Australia’s future role in the region overall.”

He also hopes to increase GAI’s ability to promote discussion and public debate and engage further with government, industry, and community groups to create a more informed and sophisticated public debate.

Professor O’Neil aims to capitalise on GAI’s close links with the Lowy Institute for International Policy and other regional think tanks as a way of continuing to promote Griffith’s expertise in the Asian Studies.

Between 1999 and 2000, Professor O’Neil worked as a strategic analyst with Australia’s Defence Intelligence Organisation as part of its North Asia and Global Issues branch.

In 2005 he was appointed by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade as a member of the National Consultative Committee for International Security Issues.

He was also a visiting Professor at Hiroshima University in 2007.

In 2009, Professor O’Neil was appointed editor-in-chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs and he is a member of the National Executive of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Professor O’Neil has authored a wide range of journal articles and book chapters dealing with the Asia-Pacific region, nuclear weapons, and terrorism.

He is the author of Nuclear Proliferation in Northeast Asia: The Quest for Security published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Professor O’Neil is currently a chief investigator on an Australian Research Council Project examining Australia’s nuclear choices in the context of a rapidly evolving global nuclear marketplace, continuing weapons proliferation worldwide, and climate change pressures.

GAI will continue this year with the Australia-China Dialogues, free public lectures and will further encourage grass roots networks to promote GAI’s profile, its expertise in Asian studies and its high quality cutting edge research on Asia.

Pictured: Andrew O’Neil