A new tranche of experts across politics, climate, economics and defence have been appointed as non-resident fellows the United States Studies Centre (USSC) at the University of Sydney announced on Thursday.

Lachlan Carey, Barbara Comstock, Peter Lee, Meg McDonald, Helen Mitchell, Edward Morgan, Lester Munson and Benjamin Reilly join the USSC as non-resident fellows.

USSC CEO Dr Michael Green said, “Having a former congresswoman and a former staff director of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee shows both the calibre of expertise the USSC is attracting, and the strength of the relationship between the United States and Australia at this time.”

Barbara Comstock is a former US Representative in the House for the 10th district of Virginia, where she was elected in 2014 in one of the most competitive races in the country. She is joined by Lester Munson whose 26-year career on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch spanned a range of issues from global health to national security.

Dr Green added, “There are a range of issues of growing importance to the Australia-US alliance and across the region. From climate to defence and economic security, these non-resident fellows span the remit of the sort of solutions the USSC is working to progress.”

USSC’s climate appointments include Meg McDonald, a former diplomat with more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors in Australia and internationally. She first worked as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC before becoming Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment. In addition, Lachlan Carey joins the USSC with policy experience in both Australia and the United States, including the geopolitics of the clean energy transition at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Carey currently leads work on US clean energy investment as a senior associate at RMI in Washington, DC.

Helen Mitchell is the first non-resident fellow for the USSC’s Economic Security Program, with expertise as an economist, former diplomat and one of a cadre of senior experts providing strategic advice to the Prime Minister. She is a Sir Roland Wilson Scholar at the ANU.

The Foreign Policy and Defence Program is welcoming three new fellows, Prof. Benjamin Reilly, Dr Edward (Ed) Morgan and Dr Peter Lee. An expert on democratisation and comparative politics, Prof Reilly’s research looks at electoral reform and the design of political institutions in the United States, Australia and East Asia. He also works on Australian foreign policy. Dr Morgan draws on his work on defence strategy in both the Department of Defence and the defence industry to support Foreign Policy and Defence Initiatives, including the Defence Industry Roundtables. After working with the USSC as a Research Fellow for two years, Dr Lee moved to Seoul to work at the Asan Institute. In his time with the USSC, he published several high-impact research products, including his Many Hands report, and various explainers on AUKUS.

“Security, economics, politics and climate are increasingly intertwined. As we gear up for a busy 2024, these preeminent experts will bring valuable insights to shape the foreign policy dialogue in the region,” Dr Green concluded.

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