RSNSW and Four Academies Forum 2020

The Porte Cochere of Government House, Sydney“After COVID-19: Creating the Best of Times from the Worst of Times"

Preliminary Notice and Draft Program

Date: Thursday, 5 November 2020
Venue: Government House, Sydney, Live Streaming and subsequent availability on YouTube


 More than 100 years after the 1918 Spanish flu claimed more than 50 million lives, pandemics remain on the list of major global risks. They are difficult to predict and invariably alter the course of history in ways we cannot foresee. The effects of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic spread quickly well beyond the people it infected, disrupting society as a whole and smashing the economy. Globally, even though government intervention is heading towards $10 trillion, hundreds of millions of people will be unemployed.

The pandemic has exposed the social and economic vulnerabilities of today’s highly leveraged and interconnected world, including the fragility of global supply chains. It has compounded other existential risks for Australia, including the impact of climate change, a decade of household income stagnation, and an erosion of critically important political institutions that underpin national prosperity and our free, open, democratic society.

The Royal Society of NSW and Four Academies Forum 2020 will examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has become a wake-up call for all of us to drive a wide-ranging, national program that will create a more resilient, self-sufficient, and prosperous Australia. Transformations achieved already during the pandemic include in telemedicine, automation and digital commerce and communications, to name but a few. These show us what is possible when the wrecking-ball of a virus exacts its human and economic toll and stirs us into action to build the society and institutions we envisage for the future.

The Royal Society of NSW and the four Academies (AAS, ATSE, ASSA, and AHA) acknowledge the generous support from Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales as host of this event, and also the generous support provided by the NSW Government Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer and the New South Wales Smart Sensing Network.

Draft Program

Start End  
08:30 08:50 Registration 
08:50 08:55 Guests seated
08:55 09:15 Governor announced into the Ballroom
    Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country
Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan AO FAA FRSN
President, Royal Society of NSW
    Official Opening
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC
Governor of New South Wales
    Introduction to the Moderator and Rapporteur  (Professor Eric Knight FRSN, Macquarie University)
Dr Susan Pond AM FRSN FTSE FAHMS — Chair, Forum Program Committee
09:15 10:15 Keynote Address
Immunity from history: what can we learn from collective responses to crises
Peter Hobbins — Principal Historian, Artefact Heritage Services
10:15 10:45 Morning Tea — served on the Verandah
10:45 11:45 Session I: Forging a resilient future for Australia’s youth
    Title pending
Genevieve Bell AO FTSE— Director, 3A Institute, Florence Violet McKenzie Chair and Distinguished Professor, The Australian National University, and Vice-President and Senior Fellow, Intel
    Emerging generations and evolving intersctions between technology and humanity
Jordan Nguyen — Founder & CEO, Psykinetic
11:45 12:45 Session II: Sweeping Changes to Australia’s Healthcare System
    Title pending
Teresa Anderson AM — Chief Executive, Sydney Local Health District, NSW Health
    The Australian COVID-19 public health response: lessons and future directions
Gregory Dore — Scientia Professor, Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney
12:45 14:00 Lunch  — served on the Verandah
14:00 15:00 Session III: Australia’s Culture and Creative Industries
    Title pending
Larissa Behrendt AO FASSA — Distinguished Professor and Director of Research, Jumbunna Indigenous House Of Learning, University of Technology Sydney
    For what it’s worth: performing arts value lost and found during COVID-19
Bethwyn Serow — Executive Director, Australian Major Performing Arts Group
15:00 16:00 Reshaping Australia’s Institutions
    Martin Parkinson AC PSM FASSA — Chancellor, Macquarie University
    Anne Tiernan — Professor and Dean Engagement, Business School, Griffith University
    Julianne Schultz AM FAHA — Professor in Media and Culture, Publisher of the Griffith Review, Griffith University, amd Chair The Conversaation Media Group
16:00 16:30 Rapporteur Session
Professor Eric Knight FRSN, Macquarie University
16:30 18:00 Refreshments — served on the Verandah

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