Wednesday, March 23, 2022

CSIS Scholar to Lead Australian Think Tank

Dr. Michael Green, a Georgetown University professor and Japan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), will become the new head of the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre (USSC), according to The Australian.

USSC board members have privately voiced concerns about the "new direction" of the think tank.  Among other things, some are upset about the hiring of a US citizen for the post rather than an Australian.

Board members include American Dr. Gordon Flake, the founding CEO of the Perth USAsia Centre at The University of Western Australia.  Flake was previously the Executive Director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, a scholar at the Atlantic Council, and a director at the Korea Economic Institute of America.

Dr. Bates Gill, another American, was CEO os USSC from 2012-2015.  He was also the Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), as well as Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS.  US journalist James Fallows once held the USSC Chair in US Media.

USSC has previously been criticized for adopting an anti-Trump position, with critics saying the think tank was dominated by left-wing academics, according to the paper.

Green has been a vocal critic of Trump, but USSC has not completely shut itself off from supporters of the former US president.  Last year, USSC named former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as a non-resident senior fellow.

CSIS recently announced a new Australia Chair, which is headed by Charles Edel, who was formerly a senior fellow at USSC.  That chair was started with a $1.5 million donation from Pratt Industries.  [The company touted this fact in a June 2022 Washington Post ad.]

USSC was jointly established in 2006 by then-Prime Minister John Howard as a joint venture among the Australian government, the New York-based American Australian Association, and the University of Sydney.  

At that time, it received a $25 million endowment.  Now, close to half of its funding comes from student tuition fees, and another 30% comes from member contributions.  Only around 3% comes from corporations.