Joe Siracusa on Pakistani TV

RMIT Media star, Joe Siracusa, recently appeared on Indus New Lahore to share his insights into the strategic decisions made by President Trump. See what Joe had to say here:

Congratulations to our Joe Siracusa and Laurens Visser on their new book

It is Joe Siracusa’s 40th book, and Laurens Visser’s first. A huge congratulations on this achievement to Professor Siracusa and to Dr Visser, who completed his PhD with Joe.

“Going to War with Iraq: A Comparative History of the Bush Presidencies is the account of two United States presidents and their decision to intervene militarily in Iraq, examining the comparative domestic and international contexts in which the decisions to go to war were made by George H. W. Bush and his son George W. Bush.” To find out more, visit the publisher’s website.

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Simone wins postgraduate scholarship to Yonsei University


Congrats to Simone for winning a coveted scholarship to study Masters in South Korea at Yonsei University.

Simone graduated from BAIS in 2017, and throughout her studies has been passionate about soft power, culture, and media studies.

She is off in August to South Korea to begin a Masters of Korean Studies, and will focus on studying Korean pop culture industries at Yonsei University.

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Check out her article on k-pop in Volume 4 of Here Be Dragons.

BaIS Alumni Catie McLeod's pilot podcast w Madi Chwasta: "Sound Sisters"

BaIS alumni Catie McLeod, who is now studying a communication graduate diploma at RMIT and who is being increasingly published since graduating from the BaIS, has collaborated with Madi Chwasta to produce a pilot of their podcast “Sound Sisters”. Sound Sisters is “a podcast about women, GNC and trans people in Melbourne’s live music scene”. Check it out here! <LINK>


Julian Lee reflects on the meaning of Godzilla

Timed with the release of this year’s instalment of the Godzilla film franchise, A/Prof Julian Lee recently reflected on the cultural place and meaning that Godzilla should have for us in this era of the Anthropocene.

Read it here:

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Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the BA (International Studies)!

On 15 May 2019, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the BA (IS). It was genuinely a superb evening. Alumni stretching back right to the first intake of students in 1999 were there, meeting and networking with current students and staff. It was so valuable and inspiring to find like-minded company, and to hear the heartfelt stories from many alumni about the place that the BA(IS) holds for them, as well as understand the myriad career trajectories that our students can pursue.

We packed out the venue. Everyone told us that you never get as many people come to an event as say they will. So, we were expecting about 150; we ended up with 300-350. That just shows the strength of the fondness that our students have for what we’re trying to achieve together.

Below are four galleries of photographs from the night. They might take a few moments to load. The first two were taken by Rudraksh Dhirajbhai Thumar, founder of the ‘Reflection Collective’ photography club at RMIT. Follow him on Instagram: @rudraksh_thumar

Above: Photos by Rudraksh Dhirajbhai Thumar - Part 1

Above: Photos by Rudraksh Dhirajbhai Thumar - Part 2

Below: Photos by our Romy Martini (mainly), using an Ilford black & white disposable film camera. Follow Romy on Instagram: @romy.clair

Below: Photos by our Prudence Bansemer, using a Fuji colour disposable film camera. Follow Prudence on Instragam: @twenty8birds


Associate Professor Aiden Warren returns from Washington, with a mission to create a safer denuclearised world

Associate Professor Aiden Warren has recently returned from the US where he was based at the Arms Control Association think tank. During his time in the US, participated in initiatives to promote denuclearisation, and to encourage the US to take leadership in this.

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Learn more about Aiden’s time in Washington here:

Greta Bartels wins RMIT Global Voices Scholarship to attend World Health Forum in Geneva.

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Congratulations to Greta Bartels of the BA (International Studies) who was the only candidate to receive an RMIT Global Voices Scholarship, and so will be one of four recipients of support from Global Voices Australia-wide to attend the World Health Assembly in Geneva this May.


Greta joins a list of BA (International Studies) students who have also been supported by Global Voices, including Laura McCormack and Jemma Swan.


To find out more about RMIT’s Global Voices Scholarship Program, visit:

BA(IS) Alumnus, Grace Davidson, shares her top 4 networking


Networking for your Career

BA(IS) Alumnus and frequent networker, Grace Davidson, shares her top 4 tips

I think that ‘networking’ is often thought of as being a kind of commercial transaction. I struggled with it initially, believing that it was an act that attempted to ‘gain’ or ‘extract’ something from someone – often for career advancement. If you think like this, I encourage you to challenge your idea of networking to see it more as relationship building and straightforward knowledge sharing. For me, networking helps to fill in the missing blanks in my knowledge and understanding of the world. It is a constantly adapting web of interaction.

Also, I do not consider myself as someone who is ‘naturally’ good at networking. I will be the first to admit that some days my networking abilities are better than others. I share these tips in the hope that you will be able to get the most out of any networking event or moment that you might find yourself in, remembering that networking can as be simple as a conversation that can occur anywhere from a formal networking event, to the person that you happen to sit next to on the train.

Tip #1 – Create an ‘elevator pitch’ for yourself.

As an International Studies student, I was often asked the question ‘what does that mean?’ It is useful to put some definitions around what studying International Studies (or whatever it is that you are studying) means to you specifically. Perhaps you could talk about your enthusiasm for learning new languages or your interest in the economy’s influence on politics. When you answer this question, illustrate some of your personality and have your answer ‘semi prepared.’ It helps clarify what you are studying, but also reveals some of your passions, which you should also name. This makes it easier for the other person to respond as they will have a deeper understanding, as well as an avenue to ask further questions. RMIT’s JobShop runs frequent workshops to help you perfect your elevator pitch.

Tip #2 – Actively seek networking opportunities

Networking doesn’t strictly only occur at networking events. I have met many people through attending public lectures, conferences and workshops. I encourage you to seek out events that interest you. Follow your passions and attend these events (lots are free) and find yourself in a room full of like-minded people. Talk to the person sitting next you – they are attending this event for a reason, find out what it is.

Often, I have only been able to see the value of a conversation I had at an event much later down the track. Frequently, I have met someone new and they perhaps mention an organisation, or name I have heard of in earlier conversations with someone else. Networking broadens your knowledge base and suddenly you find yourself with knowledge you didn’t even realise you had.

Lastly, it is common at events for speakers’ contact details to be projected onto the screen. This would not occur if the speaker does not mind being contacted. Note these details down! This is gold, even if the reason why you might wish to contact them isn’t clear to you just yet.

Tip #3 Use networking as a learning experiment

Networking teaches me about myself. It teaches me what I am interested in and what I am not interested. In such a broad degree, I, like many BA(IS) students, struggled to find some clear direction. Through meeting new people, you can help identify your own interests and recognise where your strengths lie. It advises you of the opportunities that exist and, in some cases, it can act almost as career speed dating. 

Networking can be very difficult. You need the confidence to both ignite a conversation, but also to leave a conversation. These conversation skills are necessary for your future careers. I don’t really think that I have the answers to navigating complex human interaction, so instead I’d just suggest using networking as a practice for all of the imminent tricky situations in future.

I think that one of the downsides of the usual understanding of networking is that there is pressure to form a bond with your counterpart and to see what it can bring a member of the party. Yet, like meeting anyone new, you’re not always going to ‘click.’ This can be hard and could even feel personal. Though, the reality is this person owes you nothing and cannot be forced to speak to you, let alone assist you. Say ‘nice to meet you’ and move on.

Rather than forcing your conversation upon someone, it is much more fruitful to try to meet someone who you identify to be as immediately interested in you are you are in them. Then you can set up a reciprocal follow-up and bring benefit to both parties.

Tip #4 Utilise your pre-existing network

You are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and support in your degree at RMIT. Do not underestimate this. Your lecturers and tutors are genuinely there to support you – please grasp this early. Particularly if you are someone who struggles with speaking to people at events, talk to whichever of the International Studies staff you jive with the most. You know them and know that they are there to support you. Perhaps you don’t have any specific questions or reason to speak to them (and by no means am I encouraging you to waste their time), but opening a discussion with them can be a great avenue for exploring what you are interested in and what you are comfortable and confident in talking about. They can act as a sounding board for you. It is also an opportunity for you to build positive university references for your future career. Once you start having these discussions with people that you know, you may find it easier to attend external events. Recognise that the staff genuinely care about your development and want you to achieve your career goals. This doesn’t mean you need a really strong relationship with every Academic, but it is encouragement to allow yourself to explore more opportunities. I can’t begin to tell you how much these conversations have the potential to enrich your university experience.

Last, but most definitely not least… do not forget your fellow BA(IS) colleagues! Your friends are likely doing amazing things, involved in incredible projects and have their own networks. I discovered many organisations through various conversations within tutes. Though I don’t ascribe to the idea of networking to be about gaining something, there are many opportunities to find internships and become involved with projects that might lead elsewhere via this method. Plus, you get to make friends as you do so!

In conclusion

Networking often carries a pressure to form really strong bonds with the people we meet. This can be such a barrier to some people and the truth is, it doesn’t often happen. I think it helps to de-formalise and de-pressurise our understanding of networking. Think of it as a simple conversation. Expect nothing and be yourself. In identifying your passions and showing some of that in your elevator pitch, you will be able to tell if the other person is interested in continuing the conversation pretty quickly. From there connections and opportunities will flow naturally.


Grace Davidson graduated from the BA (International Studies) in 2018 and is presently employed as Victorian Schools Development Representative with The Salvation Army (Australia). Thanks to Jessica Orchard for her work on a previous version of this article.

RMIT BA(IS) student wins State round of the BIG IDEA COMPETITION

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A big CONGRATULATIONS to BAIS student Meaghan Galindo who has made it through to the national finals of the Big Idea Competition! Reaching the finals of this competition is a brilliant achievement in itself and we have our fingers crossed for Meaghan with the Awards night at PwC coming up on 4 December! Good luck, Meaghan, and see you there!

Meaghan will be presenting a social enterprise project proposal that has evolved from an assignment with her teammates (Charlotte, Juliet, Olivia, Eliza and Hannah) within the 3rd year course International Professional Practice (now Global Professional Practice). This social enterprise opportunity is available to all BAIS students when they do this core course in 3rd year (now available to students in both semesters).

Background note: Former BAIS graduates Jessica Heron and Michael Marinelli were the first BAIS students to make it to the Big Idea finals a few years ago. They continued working on their project beyond graduation, and their project went from strength to strength thanks to their ongoing hard work and enthusiasm . It's exciting to know that these assignments can come to life and make a difference in the real world!

Internship Insights from Megat Iskandar Shahriman

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An interview with a third year BA(IS)er and imminent graduate Megat Iskandar Shahriman conducted by a third year BA(IS)er and imminent graduate Jessica Orchard in regards to what a second year BA(IS)er would benefit from hearing about on internships and studies in general

Jessica: What is your internship role?

Iskandar:  “I’m doing my internship at the RMIT European Union Center. My main job was to conduct a research report on regional development in Malaysia and how we can implement European Union Smart Specialisation Strategies in regional development in Malaysia. I did general research on EU regional development and EU Smart Specialisation Strategies. I also helped with planning events and met lots of academics who specialise in this kind of field. Last Wednesday there was a seminar conducted by the Ukrainian Vice President which I went to and was pretty cool”

Jessica: What was your experience in finding an internship (in general?) And how did you discover this particular internship?

“It was not scary but difficult but the BA(IS) had a lot of resources – everyone involved in the school of GUSS were happy to give me a hand in finding one and in doing so it gave me a lot of prerequisite skills in actually looking for a job. For this internship, the tutors in the BA(IS) were super helpful in recommending to me internship placements and I followed their advice and applied and I got this one.”   

Jessica: What was the most interesting thing about your role?

Iskandar: “I got the opportunity to explore my passion because I am very interested in development and policy work and it was great that I could explore this very particular sector. The networking was pretty cool, I got to meet so many different academics and people from different companies – the center does work with the Latrobe Valley authority who does work in Gippsland and I got to meet people from there. I also got the chance to apply my knowledge and refine my skills learnt in the BA(IS) degree such as professional communication skills and administrative skills. I also learnt more comprehensively about a variety of EU policies – learning how the EU works a bit more especially with all of the things coming out of the EU i.e. Brexit, so this role was good timing. Also it was super interesting to see how academic institutions and government institutions are linked.”

Jessica: How do you think this would benefit you if you were currently studying and thinking about your future internship?

Iskandar: “I learnt a lot about research what it involves and what it doesn’t. It was good to have this experience to conduct research but it is not something I necessarily see myself doing in the future. The internship has taught me more about what I like and don’t like and where my passions really lie. It also helped me practically apply my knowledge learnt in the BA(IS). So at the end of the day pick something you are interested in and really like and then as you go along you will see if your interest in it is consolidated or if your interests change and that’s okay too.”  

Jessica: What advice would you have for a student starting their search for an internship?

Iskandar: “Just be confident, even if it is scary once you get into it it’s not that hard - you get more confident over time. Make sure to utilise all of the resources you have in the BA(IS) including the advice of your BA(IS) lecturers and tutors that’s what really helped me the most.”

A Win for BA(IS) students in the 2018 Big Idea Competition

A team of BAIS students from the 3rd year course 'International Professional Practice' has just won the RMIT round of the Big Idea Competition (

The team (Meaghan Galindo, Eliza Gore, Olivia Guthrie, Charlotte Borthwick, Jue Li, and Hannah Bolton) will go on to represent RMIT in the Big Idea semi-finals with their social business project proposal 'Feed 4 Thought'.

Another BAIS team took out 3rd place in the RMIT judging (Caroline Alchin, Ioannis Razos, Greta Bartels, Gemma Portelli, Charmaine Chan, and Claire O'garey) for their project proposal - 'The Pause Room'. A Big Congratulations to all of the students involved for their hard work and achievements!


Tommaso Durante reflects on 'the Image as Global Political Theory'

Writing in the publication global-e, Dr Durante continues his focus on images and global studies with his latest publication, "‘Visible Discourses and Invisible Ideologies? The Image as Global Political Theory”.

Durante’s essay ‘combines theory and practice to address the image as global political theory. Precisely, the study explores to what extent visual images in their own right are able to produce global politics, while contributing to the emergence of a ‘global visual culture’ under present conditions of neoliberal globalization.’

Read it here <LINK>

RMIT Hosts Conference of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.

In September, the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies hosted the conference of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics. The conference was convened by Dr Vandra Harris, and was co-sponsored by RedR, with which Global Studies at RMIT works closely. There were three days of wonderful panels and speakers, and it was fantastic to see current students in the Master of International Development present and presenting, and a few alumni from the BA (International Studies), including Laura McCormark who now works for RedR (pictured here with Julian Lee, who also participated).


The conference theme was ‘Ethics in a Crowded World’, and the first day’s focus was on the intersections of ethics and humanitarian practice.

Tommaso Durante's new Website on Global Visual Imagery

Congratulations to Dr Tommaso Durante on the launch of his new website – Global Visual Politics. Dr Durante is a doctoral alumnus from the Global Studies discipline, where he also regularly teaches. He is also Instructor at the Centre for Global Politics of Freie Universität Berlin, Germany where he teaches Changing Global Landscapes: Globalization Challenges.

From Dr Durante about his new site:

"The GLOBAL VISUAL POLITICS  website is a digital media archive collecting visual images covering a broad range of political themes such as protest, peace, violence, religion and gender. [This] archive addresses visual images as a political theory—images always represent a defined, particular perspective. The “new” visual archive comes out of THE VISUAL ARCHIVE PROJECT OF THE GLOBAL IMAGINARY (2007-present) to celebrate more than a decade of image collection that has been used across the planet by universities and scholars of globalization. The new archive, a case study in itself, aims to understand how visual images displayed in their own right contribute to the emergence of a global visual culture and to the rise of global politics at local-global scale, under present conditions of globalization."

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JN MCNicol Prize: Congratulations to Natassia Bell

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BA(IS) student Natassia Bell has recently won RMIT's JN McNicol Prize. For this prize, "The selection panel look for someone with an outstanding academic record in a bachelor degree course who displays leadership potential and initiative."

Natassia Bell (top right) with other award recipients in May, and their guests and representatives from RMIT.&nbsp;

Natassia Bell (top right) with other award recipients in May, and their guests and representatives from RMIT. 

Natassia Bell (centre), with partner Eric Bendtsen (right), and global studies lecturer Julian Lee.

Natassia Bell (centre), with partner Eric Bendtsen (right), and global studies lecturer Julian Lee.

Since graduating in 2017, Ms Bell has been working for the The Australian Consortium for 'In-Country' Indonesian Studies (ACICIS), which is a non-profit consortium of universities that develops and coordinates high quality, in-country study options in Indonesia. Her work has included encouraging and enabling students at RMIT to take advantage of generously funded opportunities to study in Indonesia. She has also been working as a tutor for RMIT's Ngarara Willim Centre, and as a research assistant to Julian Lee in a project funded by Red Cross Australia on humanitarian sensibilities in Australia.