Peter Hartcher, political editor and international editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, talks to Dr Michael Green, CEO of US Studies Centre:
"Mike Green has visited Australia many times and four months ago he moved his family to live here but he hasn’t been able to bring himself to call anyone “mate” yet: “I still have trouble saying it. It doesn’t trip off my tongue.”
The well-known US scholar and former White House official covers his lack of cultural fluency by calling people “man” instead. The new head of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney has been persuaded of the authenticity of “mateship” nonetheless. When former Australian ambassador to Washington Joe Hockey kicked off a “mateship” campaign a few years ago as a piece of alliance diplomacy, Green found it “a bit contrived”.
But now he says his most pleasant surprise since relocating “is how quickly my family and kids and I have been embraced into communities, sports, social circles. We knew Australians were friendly but it’s really been remarkable. ... Green’s job at the US Studies Centre is to help Australians better understand the US and the alliance. The Japanese-speaking, bagpipe-playing black belt in the Japanese swordcraft of iaido quips that it was easier explaining Kim Jong-un to Americans in his last jobs. [ ... ]"