Pathfinder ‘Ambassadors Roundtable’ ‘Ambassadors Roundtable’ features High Commissioner Paul Stephens of Australia

At the Pathfinder Foundation’s ‘Ambassadors Roundtable’ held with, Paul Stephens, High Commissioner of Australia to Sri Lanka, presented ‘Australia’s approach to the Indian Ocean Region & the Broader Indo-Pacific’. The event was attended by representatives from the Foreign Ministry, print and electronic media, academic institutions, and think tanksfocusing on international relations.

High Commissioner Stephens elaborated on Australia’s viewpoint on the theme, highlighting Australia's strategic interests and diplomatic engagements in the region.  He underscored Australia's strong diplomatic ties with India, emphasizing the importance of India as a major player in the Indian Ocean region.  Furthermore, he highlighted the enduring 75-year relationship between Sri Lanka and Australia, noting his country’s support for Sri Lanka through the challenging periods the country has traversed.

In his presentation, High Commissioner Stephens outlined Australia's focus on climate change and maritime freedom, including the issue of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Indian Ocean.  He also detailed Australia’s vision for transparency, autonomy, a robust multilateral system, adherence to a rules-based international system, and respect for the sovereignty of each country, stressing how these principles influence the multilateral system.

Additionally, he discussed Australia's interests in strengthening bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, particularly in areas such as tourism, investments, energy, security and education. 

The roundtable provided a valuable platform for a meaningful dialogue on international relations, enhancing the understanding of Australia’s diplomatic stance, objectives, and approach to the Indian Ocean Region and the broader Indo-Pacific.

In addition to the Ambassadors’ Roundtable, Pathfinder conducts briefing sessions for Colombo-based diplomatic personnel at regular intervals.  ‘Dialogue with Diplomats’ allows Colombo-based diplomats to focus on topical issues covering a broad spectrum of subjects.  It also provides a platform for them to meet with officials of government institutions, academics, representatives of think tanks, etc.