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Oceanic Conference on International Studies

14 December, 2012

Over two-and-a-half days in July the University of Sydney, along with the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University, co-hosted the fifth biennial Oceanic Conference on Internationall Studies (OCIS).


The programme opened with a keynote address from Professor Michael Williams from the University of Ottawa, who critically evaluated contemporary challenges to the liberal international order. Professor Williams took us right back to the very foundations of the discipline, challenging us to reconsider the canon of international relations and its impact on how we understand international politics.

Following this address were a series of intense and stimulating discussions across 63 panels and roundtables involving academics at all stages of their academic careers as well as doctoral students. Topics addressed included China’s rise and its relations with the US, Asia–Pacific politics, India’s role in the region and the international system, and important theoretical and empirical research into all aspects of international studies.

The conference was attended by 274 participants, who were involved in eight simultaneous streams focusing on international security, gender, international relations theory, ethics and international law, climate change and the environment, health, and international political economy. The New Law Building, where the event was held, was abuzz over the period as the latest cutting-edge research was discussed in both formal and informal settings.

The largest conference on international relations in Australia, the OCIS has become a major conference on the Australian landscape, contributing to the intellectual robustness of international relations in Oceania. For the University of Sydney the event was a showcase of the best political science research currently being undertaken by staff and students, at a time when the Department of Government and International Relations and the School of Social and Political Sciences have truly come into their own as major contributors to research, both domestically and internationally. The high quality of research presented at OCIS V informed the decision for OCIS to be held again in two years time and the University of Sydney has set a high standard to be followed.


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Dr Susan Park