Postgraduate information evening with panel discussion on the Syrian crisis



15 October 2013


United States Studies Centre, Institute Building (H03), City Road, The University of Sydney

The Syrian Civil War is now two and a half years old. Over 100,000 Syrians have been killed, two million have become refugees and the violence looks increasingly likely to draw in the country's neighbours. Nevertheless, until recently, the United States has resisted becoming directly involved in the conflict. Why hasn't the Obama Administration played a more active role in Syria? Is it likely to become increasingly involved? An expert panel of US Studies Centre academics and special guest Professor Amin Saikal, Director of the Centre of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, discussed these pressing strategic, political and humanitarian questions.


  • Professor Amin Saikal, Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University
  • Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor, Associate Professor in American Politics & Director of Teaching and Learning, US Studies Centre
  • Dr Adam Lockyer, Lecturer in US Politics and Foreign Policy, US Studies Centre
  • Tom Switzer, Research Associate and Editor of American Review, US Studies Centre 


  • Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor
    Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor
    Postgraduate Coordinator and Associate Professor in American Politics, United States Studies Centre (jointly appointed with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney)

    Brendon O'Connor is jointly appointed between the US Studies Centre and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney as an Associate Professor in American Politics. He was a Fulbright Fellow at Georgetown University in 2006, a Visiting Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC in 2008 and 2015, and life member of Clare Hall at University of Cambridge. He is the editor of seven books on anti-Americanism and has also published articles and books on American welfare policy, presidential politics, US foreign policy and Australian-American relations.

  • Tom Switzer
    Tom Switzer
    Presenter, ABC Radio National

    Tom Switzer was a senior fellow at the United States Studies Centre until March 2017. He is a presenter on the ABC’s Radio National and a columnist at Fairfax publications.

  • John Barron
    John Barron
    Honorary Associate, United States Studies Centre

    John Barron is an Honorary Associate at the US Studies Centre, anchor of “Planet America” on ABC-TV and author of the book “Vote For Me” about the 2008 Presidential campaign. He has produced political documentary films including “First Stop Iowa” about the history of the Democratic Party primary process and “The Party of Reagan” about the disputed legacy of a conservative icon – a film which was made with the assistance of the US Studies Centre.

  • Dr Adam Lockyer
    Dr Adam Lockyer
    Senior Lecturer in Security Studies, Macquarie University

    Adam Lockyer is currently Senior Lecturer in Security Studies at Macquarie University. Previously, Lockyer was a Research Fellow in Defence Studies at the University of New South Wales and, between 2010 and 2013, a lecturer in US Politics and Foreign Policy at the US Studies Centre.

  • Professor Amin Saikal AM
    Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East and Central Asia), Australian National University

    Amin Saikal was a speaker at the US Studies Centre's National Summit in 2011. Saikal is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East and Central Asia) at the Australian National University and a specialist in the politics, history, political economy and international relations of the Middle East and Central Asia. He is the author of many books on international relations and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to the international community and to education.