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The Best of Times, The Worst of Times – Navigating Life at the Crossroads

Conversation at the Crossroads presents an innovative series to stimulate, inform and upskill. It combines lectures, presentations by world experts in their respective fields, Q&A, debates, role play, small conversation groups, brainstorming sessions and skilling workshops.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times – Navigating Life at the Crossroads

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness.” – Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities 1859

Conversation at the Crossroads presents an innovative series to stimulate, inform and upskill. It combines lectures, presentations by world experts in their respective fields, Q&A, debates, role play, small conversation groups, brainstorming sessions and skilling workshops.

Hosted by Professor Joseph Camilleri, the series comprises seven 3-hour sessions run on consecutive Tuesdays from 26th April to June 7th 2022.

Participants are strongly encouraged to enrol in the series as a whole, and so fully benefit from the program, which is designed to:

  • Make sense of the national and international challenges we face and how they connect at a time of unprecedented change.
  • See how these challenges relate to everyday life, in personal relations, study, work, and community engagement.
  • Explore the practical steps we can take – personally and collectively – towards a more promising future.
  • Acquire the skills that facilitate respectful, informed and productive conversation with people of diverse backgrounds.

Program and key themes

APR 26

A warming planet in COVID times: The brutal lessons not yet learned

MAY 03

The scourge of racism and the time of reckoning

MAY 10

Reshaping media and education to serve the public good

MAY 17

The Anglo world vs Russia and China: Is conflict inevitable?

MAY 24

Captalism under stress: Can we – should we – revive it?

MAY 31

Conversation: Understanding and unlocking its transformative power

JUN 07

Politics and culture after the plague: Renewal in a postliberal world

Featured speakers

Geoff Raby
Geoff Raby

Geoff Raby was Australia’s Ambassador to China (2007-11), He has been named Friendship Ambassador to Shandong Province and an Honorary Citizen of Chengdu City. He is the author of the widely acclaimed book China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order (2020).

Adrian Pabst
Adrian Pabst

Adrian Pabst is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and one of Britain’s leading political thinkers. He has just published a ‘brilliant book’ Postliberal Politics: The Coming Era of Renewal.

Registration information

Click on a tab below for further information.

Dates, times and venue

Dates, times and Venue

The series consists of seven consecutive Tuesday sessions, commencing 26th April and finishing 7th June 2022. Sessions begin at 6:00 pm sharp (AEDT) and conclude at 9:00pm (with a mid-session break).

Starting times for different time zones:

London 7:00 am – Rome 8:00 am – Islamabad 12:00 noon – New Delhi 12:30 pm – Jakarta 2:00 pm

Kuala Lumpur 3:00 pm – Auckland 8:00 pm – Hawaii 9:00 pm – Los Angeles 11.00 pm

Prior to the 6:00 pm start participants attending in person are encouraged to come early – from 5:40 pm onwards for beverages, finger food and conversation. This time can also be used for preparation of workshop discussions and assignments.

Those attending online are asked to connect at least 10 minutes prior to the time of commencement.

The series will be delivered in person at University college University of Melbourne, 40 College Cres, PARKVILLE.

Principal lecturer and series coordinator

Emeritus Professor Joseph Anthony Camilleri OAM held the Chair in International Relations at La Trobe University (1994-2012), and was the founding director of the Centre for Dialogue. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, he has authored or edited some thirty major books, and convened several major international dialogues and conferences. He has lectured in several countries, and given evidence to government and other enquiries on issues of governance, human rights, the philosophy and method of dialogue, the politics of the Asia-Pacific region, environment, and security.

What is expected of participants?

Participants should have a high degree of commitment to their participation in the series. The aim should be to:

  • ATTEND ALL SEVEN SESSIONS
  • Be present for the full duration of each session
  • Prepare for each session
  • Complete two short assignments

Participants will be issued with discussion pointers, short reading materials, and links to thought-provoking podcasts, videos and other resources. Each session will have a varied program in both content, presenters and format.

Registration fees *

In person attendance for the whole series (catered)

–    Full fee $255                          

–    Concession fee (for student & health card holders only) $145

Online attendance for the whole series

–    Full fee for the whole series $135                 

–    Concession fee (for student & health card holders only) $95           

In-person attendance – fee per single session only (catered)

–    Full fee $65                            

–    concession fee (for student & health card holders only) $35

Online attendance – fee per single session

–    Full fee $35                               

–    concession fee (for student & health card holders only) $20

Explanatory notes

* The fees set are at only a fraction of what comparable programs would cost if offered by a university or commercial establishment. They have been kept low to make the series accessible to as many people as possible, even though the fees may not be sufficient to cover the costs of the program.

‡ The fees for attendance at one or two sessions are much higher because we are actively discouraging registrations for just the odd session. The series is an integrated whole, and participants will be able to take full advantage of it if they are able to attend all sessions.

Scholarships

Conversation at the Crossroads is offering scholarships to young people under 30: five free tickets to attend the entire series in person and another five to attend the entire series online.

Applications must be submitted by Friday 11 February.