Minds & Hearts, Summer 2021

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Issue 12 | Summer 2021


* * * * * * * * * * Speech / spitʃ / noun 1. the faculty or *power * * * * * * * * * * of speaking; oral communication; ability * * * * * * * * * * to express one's *thoughts and emotions by * * * * * * * * * * speech sounds and gesture: Losing her speech * * * * * * * * * * made her feel isolated from humanity. 2. the act of *speaking: He expresses himself better in speech than in writing. 3. something that is *spoken; an utterance, remark, or declaration: We waited for some speech that would indicate her *true feelings. 4. a form of communication in spoken language, made by a speaker before an *audience for a given *purpose: a fiery speech. 4. any single utterance of an actor in the course of a play, motion picture, etc. 5. the form of utterance characteristic of a particular people or region; a language or dialect. 1. SPEECH, LANGUAGE refer to the means of communication used by people. Speech is the expression of ideas and thoughts by means of articulate vocal sounds, or the faculty of thus expressing ideas and


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"Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech." - Benjamin Franklin Written about as 'the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom', Speech is one of the mofi fundamental liberties required for a functional democracy. Yet our social, cultural, and judicial interpretations of Freedom of Speech are a f r rf om black and white .

1st Amendment | Human Rights | Big Tech | Campaign Finance

The Fulbright Program The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the United States of America, aimed at increasing binational collaboration,— delete cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas.

in confidence

Born in the aftermath of WWII, the program was established by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 with the ethos of turning ‘swords into ploughshares’, whereby credits from the sale of surplus U.S. war materials were used to fund academic exchanges between host countries and the U.S. national security risk Since its establishment, the Fulbright Program has grown to become the largest educational exchange program in the world, operating in over 160 countries. In its seventy five year history, more than 370,000 students, academics, and professionals have received Fulbright Scholarships to study, teach, or conduct research, and promote bilateral collaboration and cultural empathy.

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Since its inception in Australia in 1949, Fulbright has awarded over 5,000 scholarships, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and interconnected network of Alumni.

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Our future is not in the stars but in our own minds and hearts. Creative leadership and liberal education, which in fact go together, are the first requirements for a hopeful future for humankind.

Fostering these—leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures—was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program that I was privileged to sponsor in the U.S. Senate over forty years ago. " Senator J. William Fulbright The Price of Empire









Fulbright Alumni Updates


Freedom of Speech in American Constitutionalism Today Professor Howard Schweber


Speech and Human Rights Alice Gardoll 3


The Splintering of the Internet Helen Zhang and John Fowler


Democracy, Free Speech, and Campaign Financing – A Delicate Balance Ben Ye


Debating Debates on Free Speech Professor James Arvanitakis


Faces of Fulbright Professor Hala Zreiqat Jolyon Ford Clare Stephens Professor Antonio Tricoli Cover art by Alex Maclaurin

F u l b r i g h t A l u m n i U p d a t e s

Sasha Purcell (2020, Griffith University to New York University) was named as the 2021 National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Scholar of the Year.

Diana Zhang (2020, University of New South Wales to Boston University University) was named as the Early Career Researcher Representative on the Board of Science & Technology Australia.

Victor Lopez-Carmen (2018, Ithaca College to Western Sydney University) was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 -Healthcare list for his contributions to Indigenous Health advocacy.

Clare Sullivan (2011, University of Adelaide to George Washington University) won a National Science Foundation IUCRC grant to expand the multidisciplinary cyber research activities of the insitute she founded at Georgetown University; the Cyber SMART Center.


Gina Cass-Gottlieb (1987, University of Sydney to University of California, Berkeley) was named as the new Chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). Gina will be the first woman to head the independent watchdog.

Holly Ransom (2019, Emergent to Harvard University) published her new book The Leading Edge, which examines what true leadership look like in the 2020s, and how people can we be part of the solution, while crafting meaningful and satisfying careers.

DR PAUL HARPUR NAMED BLIND AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR The Blind Australian of the Year Award was announced this month, and we were thrilled to hear that Dr Paul Harpur (2020, University of Queensland to the Burton Blatt Institute and Harvard University) was named as the winner. Harpur, now an Associate Professor at the TC Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland, and chair of the University of Queensland Disability Inclusion Group, has had an incredible couple of years. He was awarded a Fulbright Future Scholarship in 2019, and in 2020 worked at the Harvard Law School Project on Disability. His plan from there was to travel to Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute, before COVID-19 cut his Fulbright experience early and sent him home. This was barely a roadblock for Paul, however, as he pivoted his research examine the impact that public health crises have on society’s most vulnerable, subsequently winning a 2021 Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. He now adds the Blind Australian of the Year award to his collection of accolades. The Blind Australian of the Year Award recognises and celebrates Blind Australians who by example inspire others to excellence, by action, improve Australian life. This year there were 58 nominations from all around Australia from many different walks of life, from the legal fraternity, the media, refugee assistance, the arts, music, culinary pursuits, fashion, medical professions, and sport. Read more about Paul's fantastic achievement HERE.

FULBRIGHT PROGRAM CELEBRATES 75 YEARS OF IMPACT Alumni of Australian Fulbright Program were featured among those making their mark in education, the environment, public service, science, and the arts at the Program’s 75th Anniversary celebration. Ambassador Thomas Pickering (1954, University of Melbourne) Garth Fagan (1996, State University of New York) and Sam Nester (2010, Manhattan School of Music) were all featured in the Fulbright Program’s 75th Anniversary celebration on November 30 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, marking the accomplishments of the past 75 years and looking ahead to the exciting future of the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program. More than 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds have participated in the Fulbright Program since its inception in 1946, including 40 heads of state or government, 61 Nobel Prize Laureates, 75 MacArthur Foundation Fellows, 89 Pulitzer Prize Recipients, and 16 U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients. Fulbright Australia alum Ambassador Thomas Pickering was featured in video remarks about Fulbright’s impact on public service, musician Sam Nester was a featured performer, and choreographer Garth Fagan was highlighted in a special tribute to Fulbrighters who have contributed to the arts. Read more about the event HERE.



in American Constitutionalism Today By Howard Schweber

Free speech is as American as, well, apple pie. Grounded in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, freedom of speech has become much more than a legal principle, it has become an American cultural touchstone. Ask an American primary school child to identify an important right and the odds are 10 to 1 she will answer “freedom of speech.” And, like every other American cultural touchstone, free speech is front and center in the ever more bitter culture wars that define current American political identity.


Political conservatives rail against “cancel culture” and insist that free speech goes with unregulated markets, gun rights, and religious exemptions from legal obligations as part of the core of American exceptionalism (the idea that the United States is an historically unique polity that has everything to teach to and nothing to learn from others). They point to progressive efforts to introduce raceconscious curricula in schools, prevent the invitation of speakers to college campuses based on their views, impose vaccination requirements and marginalize purveyors of misinformation as evidence of hostility to freedom of speech. Political progressives, conversely, point to efforts to ban the teaching of uncomfortable subjects such as critical race theory, the removal of books from libraries, and the laws in numerous states that impose penalties on individuals and businesses who participate in politically motivated boycotts (specifically of Israel) as evidence that is it conservatives who seek to silence dissenting voices.

One thing that drives this dynamic is the sense that whoever can invoke “freedom of speech” has the ideological high ground in American politics; perhaps for that reason arguments over the legal status of religious practices, corporate influence and politics, and political gerrymandering are all presented as free speech issues. For a topic that is so central to Americans’ political self-conception, it is remarkable how little freedom of speech is studied or understood by most Americans, including elected representatives, media pundits, and even university professors. There are three key things that most Americans do not understand about our constitutional tradition of free speech protection: 1. Freedom of Speech Is Actually Rather New First, freedom of speech in its robust, relatively (compared to other countries) libertarian form is a recent invention. Specifically, prior to 1969 the U.S. Supreme Court saw no problem with putting people in prison for “mere advocacy” of a future communist takeover of the United States. In 1969 the liberal Warren Court for the first time declared that such advocacy was protected political expression. In later cases over the following decade the same Court discovered First Amendment protections for other forms of speech, including libel directed at public figures, artistic expression, the use of indecent language in public, expressive conduct of various kinds (as in the boycotts mentioned earlier), and a host of other expansive applications of the concept.

HOWARD SCHWEBER is a professor of American Politics and Political Theory at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and the 2011 Fulbright-Flinders Distinguished Chair. He teaches courses focusing on constitutional law and legal and political theory, and has authored numerous books, articles, essays and chapters on Constitutionalism, law, the First Amendment, and a variety of related topics. His current areas of research include comparative constitutionalism and democratic theories of representation.

This is the period that establishes the exceptionally robust, libertarian version of freedom of speech that American law is usually understood to protect. By contrast, courts in other countries including Australia have found strong protections only for political speech, and even there only for political speech that does not threaten basic shared values. In other words, what most Americans think of as a cherished historical tradition of speech rights is in fact less than 50 years old, was the product of highly controversial judicial decisions that were politically unpopular at the time, and has been contested since its inception. 2. Not All Speech Is Protected Speech A second misconception has to do with the scope of these free speech rights. For all the rhetoric of freedom of speech as “the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom” (Benjamin Cardozo), the fact is that even after the 1970s, in the American constitutional and legal tradition as in all other systems there is an enormous amount of speech that is treated as “unprotected.”

This means that governments at various levels in the federal system may freely regulate expression in various ways up to and including its criminalization. Laws against threats, blackmail, fraud, treason, and criminal conspiracy are some obvious examples, but there are many others. Intellectual property protections involve restrictions on expression, as do laws against “trade libel” (disparaging commercial products), false or misleading advertising, association with organizations identified as supportive of terrorism, workplace harassment, and the infliction of emotional distress. These “content restrictions” are perfectly consistent with the First Amendment. The idea is that while we begin with a basal assumption that speech is protected, and the burden is then on the government to show that the speech it wants to regulate is in a specifically identified category that is outside the scope of the First Amendment.

Like every other American cultural touchstone, free speech is front-and-center in the ever-more-bitter culture wars that define current American political identity.


If political actors manipulate the norms of a political system to their advantage, eventually those norms collapse, and with them, the institutions they support. In American law there is probably no form of conduct subject to so many types of regulation as expression in ways that are largely acknowledged as entirely acceptable. In many ways, in fact, American law is less protective of expression than other jurisdictions, particularly where economic interests are involved. The problem becomes determining the limits of these categories, and whether a particular instance of regulation goes too far (is “overbroad”) such that it ends up limiting protected as well as unprotected expression. A good illustration is the contemporary debate over “hate speech”. There is no precise and technical definition of hate speech, but as a Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said about pornography, “I know it when I see it”. (Stewart was speaking of the novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and the rest of the quotation was “and this is not it”.)


“Hate speech” is not the name of a recognized category of unprotected speech, so a law banning “hate speech” would be unconstitutional. But hate speech frequently includes threats, harassment, incitement to violence, and excessive provocation, all of which are recognized unprotected categories. So, on the one hand, it is correct to say that the First Amendment does not permit a law against hate speech, but it is quite wrong to say that all hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. An obvious question about the concept of unprotected categories is, who gets to decide what these categories are, and can they change over time?

American courts have been extremely resistant to the idea of new unprotected speech categories, in part based on a contemporary commitment to historicism often referred to as “originalism”. One consequence is that where radically new contexts emerge, as in the creation of the internet, American free speech doctrines can seem woefully inadequate to deal with new challenges. Contemporary debates over communications-based corporations like Facebook and Google reflect this uncertainty. 3. Even Protected Speech Has Its Limits A third misconception is that I can exercise my First Amendment right to free speech anywhere and any time. In fact, even where a category of expression is protected, as in the case of political protest (which is often referred to as “core protected speech”), the government is free to impose “neutral time, place, and manner restrictions.” The limits of these kind of rules depend on the “forum” in which they take place. In traditional public forums such as parks and sidewalks, rules against overnight occupation, or noise restrictions, or rules against blocking traffic or holding parades without a permit are all perfectly acceptable so long as they apply to everyone equally. The situation becomes more complicated in what are called “limited public forums,” spaces that the government opens up in order to allow private expression. An example that is much in recent American news is a school board meeting that is open to the public.

The school board is perfectly free to insist that only town residents participate, or that only comments germane to the subject at hand will be entertained—the school board is not required to allow even parents in the community to use the meeting time to extoll the virtues of their favorite baseball team or presidential candidate. These supposedly neutral restrictions on the time, place, and manner of expression can easily become an excuse for preventing the expression of dissenting views. Governments at the State and local level, in particular, have proven to be ingenious at pushing the limits of their authority to limit speech. Protests may be allowed but only in designated protest zones located far from the public eye; city and state governments have successfully asserted exceptions where public employees are involved; educational institutions have used very expansive notions of what constitutes disruption to try to shut down speech critical of the institution. At the same time, provocateurs and what is sometimes called the “political grievance complex” (a takeoff on the “militaryindustrial complex”) have found it both financially and politically profitable to push the boundaries of protected categories of expression to their limits. It is sometimes difficult to decide whether a particular action is an exercise of free speech or an attempt to limit that exercise. “Cancel culture” is a good example: when individuals on social media publicize an offensive statement and call for that individual to be barred from professional activities, is that an exercise of free speech or an attempt to punish the expression of a viewpoint? The answer, in many cases, is “both”. The fact that many or even most Americans do not understand these three aspects of First Amendment free speech principles—that it is a recent and contested concept, that there are a wide range of unprotected speech categories, and that even protected speech is subject to restrictions—has arguably led to a crisis in American constitutionalism.

One way to think about the state of free speech in America is that it mirrors the state of American politics generally. In their book How Democracies Die, Steven Livitsky and Daniel Ziblett talk about the need for “forbearance,” the idea that if political actors manipulate the norms of a political system to their advantage eventually those norms collapse, and with them the institutions they support. When teaching about freedom of speech, I like to tell students that if everyone exercised their free speech rights completely all the time, those rights could not exist because life would be intolerable. A combination of a weaponized language of rights and a lack of understanding of their limits poses a serious danger to the very people those rights protect. Today there is nowhere that danger is more evident than in the United States.

A combination of a weaponized language of rights and a lack of understanding of their limits poses a serious danger to the very people those rights protect.


S P E E C H Human Rights And

With Alice Gardoll

You have been working on an interesting project related to Freedom of Speech -- can you tell us about it? I am so fortunate to be the Editorial Assistant for an upcoming book edited by Amal Clooney and Lord David Neuberger on freedom of speech in international law, and to jointly author some of the book’s chapters. We’ve tried to do three things with the book. First, to survey how states currently use the law to respond to different types of speech—hate speech, misinformation, whistleblowing of official secrets, incitement to terrorism and defamation— and to shine a light on precedent setting examples, from Julian Assange to Maria Ressa.

Secondly, to clarify what the right to free speech actually means under international law. This is surprisingly challenging! There are so few resources that have taken a global approach which addresses the spectrum of speech offences rather than just one or two. Finally, where gaps and disagreements exist within the law we have sought to make recommendations for reform. The Co-Editors of the book have brought a wealth of experience, pragmatism and thoughtfulness to what is a huge topic – I hope it becomes a useful tool for lawmakers, journalists and activists around the world.

Speech is a hugely divisive issue that everyone seems to have an opinion on -- how does one determine best-practice judicial approaches to something like this?


The approach we’ve taken, that I think is a really important one, is to start off with the basics: what are the minimum obligations that each state has? Because many states, democratic ones included, aren’t even meeting those, let alone taking legally controversial steps. Take, for example, the provisions of the U.S. Espionage Act which mean that Edward Snowden cannot even bring an argument before a court that his groundbreaking disclosures were in the public interest. Or the Australian Federal Police raiding the ABC after they reported allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan which an independent inquiry has since found to be credible.

Before we get to the more divisive elements of speech, so much can be done in this space to protect journalists and dissidents that should be entirely uncontroversial and in keeping with existing obligations. I also think it’s important to think of speech as part of the broader spectrum of human rights. I am someone who believes passionately in the importance of restorative justice and addressing mass incarceration in this country and across the world. Whilst free speech can sometimes be pitched as a conservative issue, on the flip side it’s crucial to remember that more punitive measures against speech will disproportionately impact marginalised communities in the same manner as the rest of the justice system.

ALICE GARDOLL earned her law degree from the University of Sydney, before working as a public interest lawyer in Australia and abroad. She practiced as a public defender for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, representing Aboriginal Australians living in the remote Northern Territory. She has also volunteered as a refugee lawyer in Sydney and in a refugee camp on the island of Samos, Greece. Alice began her career as a commercial litigator and a clerk to the president of the NSW Court of Appeal. She undertook her Fulbright Scholarship at Columbia Law School, focusing on human rights and racial justice issues. Her current role is as a Senior Lawyer in the Office of Amal Clooney.

What do you find most challenging about this work, and why? This is my first proper foray into more academic writing, as my background – and my true passion – is in client-focused lawyering. As a result, something I find challenging about this project is trying to make sure it is as impactful and practical as possible whilst also being thorough, objective and principled. However, this is also what makes this project exciting and a growth opportunity for me.

Turning up to court every day as I have done in previous roles, losing more than you win and not having an opportunity to strategically tackle fundamental flaws in the legal system can be incredibly frustrating. My hope is that even though academic work can sometimes feel more removed from the courtrooms and newsrooms of the world, it can have a much greater strategic impact.

Before we get to the more divisive elements of speech, so much can be done in this space to protect journalists and dissidents that should be entirely uncontroversial and in keeping with existing obligations.


During and post-COVID, there has been a deluge of misinformation spreading online -- how do we balance the need for restrictions on the kind of information people can share, without forcing ordinary people to sacrifice an undue degree of their freedom of expression? I think where we draw the line should depend on harm. We know that misinformation, including about vaccines or fake cures, has had dramatic, real world consequences. But we also know that governments have been misusing ‘fake news’ laws to stifle legitimate concerns about COVID-19. This began at the pandemic’s very inception: Dr Li Wenliang, a doctor from Wuhan who issued one of the first warnings about a new virus was detained by police for ‘spreading false rumours’, and later died of the virus.

I think it’s important to recognise that speech can result in serious harm and endangerment of human life, but that it is only when speech reaches that very high bar that it should be sanctioned – and even then by the least intrusive measures possible to neutralise the threat. There is a big difference between freedom of speech and freedom of reach, and I think there is a lot social media companies can do to limit the damage of misinformation without sacrificing an individual’s right to speak.

We've also seen illiberal regimes take Western approaches to information regulation and repurpose them—often under the guise of counter-terrorism or public health messaging—as methods for repression and control. How can we prevent our own ideas about Speech from being misused in this way? This is a critical point – I think it is the responsibility of Western governments to make sure that they are abiding by minimum international standards to ensure that autocratic regimes cannot use our laws as justification to enact their own repressive and speech-restrictive policies.

This of course applies across the board in relation to the erosion of all human rights, but is particularly troubling with speech, because a law doesn’t need to be used to chill speech, sometimes it is enough that it is on the books at all.

We’ve seen that with European countries enacting strict laws with huge penalties against social media companies that have been quickly replicated by nations such as Russia and Turkey.


There is a big difference between freedom of speech and freedom of reach, and I think there is a lot social media companies can do to limit the damage of misinformation without sacrificing an individual’s right to speak.

Right now Australian lawyers are fighting— for journalists, for refugees, for climate activists, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are incarcerated in completely unacceptable numbers —with one hand tied behind our back. Turning to Australia -- we have no explicit freedom of speech protections in our constitution. Rather, the High Court has held that an implied freedom of political communication exists, ostensibly preventing government restraint. Considering that the same court upheld the legality of the 2019 AFP raids on ABC offices, and the ongoing prosecution of ASIS whistleblower, Witness K suggest this implied freedom does not offer much in the way of tangible protection where government interests conflict with those of the individual. With this in mind, what are your thoughts on Free Speech protections in Australia? Do we need more specific legal guidelines?

My answer here is the same for speech as it is for all human rights in Australia: we should have a Human Rights Act!

We do not have the basic human rights tools to hold governments and other powerful actors to account.

Right now Australian lawyers are fighting —for journalists, for refugees, for climate activists, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are incarcerated in completely unacceptable numbers—with one hand tied behind our back.

I firmly believe that a Human Rights Act would give us a chance to support impacted communities and allow individuals’ freedom of speech to flourish. 13


Splintering Internet of the

By Helen Zhang and John Fowler

Mainstream social media has now been (some argue, mercifully) free of former-U.S. President Trump for almost a year. One year on, we examine the impact of this event and the precedents it set for the Big Tech industry in regulating the right to free speech. Washington v Silicon Valley President Trump's final year in office brought the battle between Washington and Silicon Valley into clear focus.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian President Bolsonaro commented: A world where [Venezuelan president Nicolás] Maduro is on social media, but [President] Trump is suspended, cannot be normal.

Over the 2020 northern summer, Trump tried to force the sale of the Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok. His heavy-handed intrusions were roundly criticised, but we’ll go ahead and call that skirmish a stalemate.

Mexican President Obrador observed: Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government, this is not an issue for private companies.

The final fortnight of his presidency saw the Twitter v Trump showdown, and the Big Tech v Parler stoush.

Finally, influential Indian politician Tejasvi Surya opined: If they can do this to POTUS, they can do this to anyone. The sooner India reviews intermediaries regulations, the better for our democracy.

Taken as a whole, the outcomes of these clashes made it easy to see where the future of political power lies. This was due in no small part to Congress ceding their political power by being slow to intervene. Left unregulated, Big Tech executives will become political king-makers in a way 20th-century newspaper barons could never have dreamed. 14

Other nations have been watching, very closely What do Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and India have in common? Former-German Chancellor Angela Merkel said via her spokesman: [Freedom of speech] can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators, not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms.

We could include many more examples, but you're busy people. The point is, politicians from the far left, the far right, and everywhere in between are united on one thing: only government can regulate free speech, and reliance on U.S. ‘Big Tech’ for critical infrastructure and ecosystems like social media and web hosting is a serious threat to national security. Perhaps we are cynics, but despite what world leaders might say, this is about power, not values. Social media, e-commerce, and the rise of remote work all suggest an increasingly online future. The internet is like the Iron Throne; whoever controls it, controls the country.

HELEN ZHANG was former-Consul in Hong Kong, Second Secretary (Political/Economic) and Vice-Consul at the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, from 20152018. During her diplomatic posting, Helen reported on international security issues such as the Syrian war, ISIS, foreign fighters, and the Iran nuclear deal. Helen also spearheaded the innovative ‘Ozraeli’ campaign to promote Australia in Israel through digital diplomacy. Helen's Fulbright Anne Wexler Scholarship took her to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she built on her expertise in international security and deepen her understanding of challenges facing democracies and the liberal international order. She currently works for Google, and has launched Intrigue Media, a media-tech startup focused on making geopolitics fun..

JOHN FOWLER began his career as a lawyer after graduating university, working with the department of foreign affairs and trade. But after admittedly becoming disillusioned with that path, he leveraged his legal learnings as a diplomat for the Australian Foreign Service working on maritime law. His career has taken him all over the world, from Australia to China, and now John has pivoted again, having just finished his MBA in London. John’s experiences have given him an incredible perspective on all things geopolitics and global affairs, and this has culminated, somewhat recently in the launch of Intrigue Media, a media-tech startup focused on making geopolitics fun, which he co-founded with Helen Zhang.

The Chinese ‘sovereign internet’ model China has long understood this dynamic. When technology of any kind threatens to usurp or displace the existing source of political power, autocracies are the canary in the coal mine. No leader is more finely tuned to potential threats to their power than the autocrat. For around 24 years, China has effectively built a separate, sovereign internet behind its great firewall. The Chinese Communist Party’s control over social media is allencompassing. By some estimates, there are more than two million Chinese officials working across the various agencies responsible for censorship. We still remember the first time we typed a forbidden Chinese phrase into a WeChat conversation, only to watch it disappear half a second later. (If only there was a ‘Drunk Text Censorship Bureau’.)

Social media, e-commerce, and the rise of remote work all suggest an increasingly online future. The internet is like the Iron Throne; whoever controls it, controls the country.


The Splinternet China has been spruiking this alternative model of ‘internet sovereignty’ for a few years. Every country is now facing a very real choice: continue with the current 'open model' of the internet and accept Big Tech’s power, or; develop a national alternative which preserves political power internally. American tech analyst Ben Thompson nails it; what is new is the increased splintering in the non-China Internet: the U.S. model is still the default for most of the world, but the European Union and India are increasingly pursuing their own paths. But, just like a 20 year old on Savile Row, most countries can't afford to go bespoke. As a result, the future of the internet is fragmenting along geopolitical lines:

Throughout the course of 2021, an offthe-shelf version of the Chinese sovereign model started to look a lot more attractive.

One last chance to save the open internet? The events of the last year in the U.S. have dealt a blow to American soft power, even as President Biden moves to rally democratic countries with his ‘Democracy Summit’ via Zoom this month. Countries are right to be worried; the fact that Silicon Valley has such political power over sovereign nations is problematic. When it comes to the future of the internet, a splintered system of sovereign internet benefits only those who promote nationalism, isolationism and protectionism. An open internet is vital to the future of international business, accessible education, and global prosperity generally.

The world needs a credible alternative to China’s sovereign internet model. For that, innovative regulation that preserves the openness of the internet, while curtailing the power of Big Tech to make political decisions, is vital. An ‘open internet 2.0’. The private sector should fight its natural instincts to resist government intrusion, and instead pro-actively help design a successful ‘open internet 2.0’. Failure to do so might mean the end of the internet as we know it.


Innovative regulation that preserves the openness of the internet, while curtailing the power of Big Tech to make political decisions, is vital. An ‘open internet 2.0’.


A Delicate Balance

By Ben Ye

Upon hearing the phrase “money in politics”, many of us instinctively conjure a negative mental image. Indeed, over 75% of Americans polled in 2018 believe that there should be limits on the amount of money individual and entities can spend on campaigns, and a vast majority views political donation by big donors as immoral, corruptive, or otherwise undesirable. Similar sentiment exists in Australia. There are good reasons behind this sentiment. Monetary contribution to candidates and parties by large donors creates the risk of actual or perceived corruption and undue influence. Unlimited spending on political advertising inflates the voice of one in the marketplace of political ideas, which distorts the balance of political influence among equal citizens. Demand of fundraising activities prevents elected legislators and officials from focusing on their electoral duty. All of which detracts from the proper functioning of the democratic process. On the other hand, we must be cautious before imposing aggressive restriction on money in politics, for its propensity to affect the freedom of speech that is integral to democracy. As a matter of fact, campaign financing is necessary for the proper functioning of our democratic process. Campaigning is a costly endeavour, especially for non-incumbents lacking the natural access to channels of public messaging that comes with elected office. In order to sustain election campaigns, funds must be raised through either public funding or private contributions.

Outside the formal electioneering structure, ordinary citizens ought to be able to engage in public political discourse during an election, which at times involves partisan messaging aimed at convincing their fellow citizens to support or oppose a certain candidate or policy. Monetary expenditure is necessary for these messages to be effective and to reach a wider audience. Therefore, the question is not, as some proponents for campaign finance regulation argue, whether money constitutes speech. Rather, the question is to what extent any restriction on campaign contribution and expenditure affects a citizen’s ability to effectively participate in political communication, as creator, distributor, or mere recipient of ideas and information. Campaign finance regulation thus needs to achieve a delicate balance between the need to protect the integrity of the democratic process, and the need to preserve freedom of speech.

Regulation thus needs to achieve a delicate balance between the need to protect the integrity of the democratic process, and the need to preserve freedom of speech.


Many Australians will be surprised to know that very little regulation on campaign financing exists in Australia, at least when it comes to federal elections. With exception to foreign donors, there are few limits on who can donate to candidates and campaigns, how much they can donate, and how much candidates, parties and other actors can spend in an election campaign. While some disclosure requirements exist, the reporting threshold is high, and in any event the disclosures will not be made public until well after the election. There have been persistent calls for stronger regulation in federal election campaign financing, and these calls are well justified. How should Australia reform its campaign financing laws in a way that achieves an adequate balance between protection of the democratic process and respect for freedom of speech? The United States’ long struggle in regulating campaign financing provides a good case study.

As early as 1907, the Tillman Act prohibited corporations and national banks from making monetary contribution to candidates for federal elections. In 1974, amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act introduced a cap on contribution to candidates and campaign committees, and a cap on expenditures related to a candidate. These measures were subject to various constitutional challenges, as they all burden the freedom of speech to some extent. These litigations gave rise to a growing line of Supreme Court jurisprudence, such as the landmark decision of Buckley v Valeo in 1976 and the now infamous case of Citizens United. In Buckley v Valeo, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cap on political contribution to candidates and their campaign committees, and the cap remains to this day. Unfortunately, as a result of this strict limit, the vast quantity of campaign contribution now flew to outside groups colloquially referred to as “527s”, “501(c)s”, and Super PACs. There is practically no limit on the amount of contribution these groups can receive, and they are subject to little-tono obligation to disclose their donors.

Reformers need to acknowledge that money, just like water, will flow down the path of least resistance. 18

Patchwork lawmaking introducing fragmented regulation inevitably creates loopholes for exploitation.

BEN YE is a lawyer with a strong interest in public and constitutional law. After graduating from ANU with a University Medal, Ben has worked with public law in various roles. He was an Associate to the Honourable Chief Justice Helen Murrell of the ACT Supreme Court, a volunteer at Legal Aid ACT and Canberra Community Law and has participated in public interest litigations before the High Court. He has also published articles and commentaries on constitutional doctrines as applicable to an evolving Australian society. Ben is using his Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Master of Law at NYU. He hopes that through a comparative study of public and constitutional law, he can better contribute to legal and constitutional reform initiatives in Australia for the future.

The rise of outside groups was aggravated by the fact that limitation on independent campaign spending was found in Buckley v Valeo to be an unconstitutional interference with free speech rights. Subsequent efforts in limiting coordinated spendings and sham advocacies similarly fall foul of the constitution due to the impossibility to delineate between electioneering campaigns, issue advocacy and general political discourse. As a result, there is practically no limitation on political expenditure in the United States. The American experience provides us with a cautionary tale on the difficulty in achieving the right balance between appropriate regulation to protect the democratic purpose and respect for freedom of speech. The proliferation of outside groups that are capable of engaging in unlimited spending and are subject to little oversight is by no means a satisfactory state of affairs. Instead of alleviating the perception of corruption and undue influence, the status quo arguably contributes to the continuing decline of public confidence in the democratic process. Indeed, the image of a politician elected on the backing of secretive Super PACs offers little assurance that the politician will be responsive to the need of the people. This is not to say that Australia should be dissuaded in campaign financing law reforms. Rather, reformers need to acknowledge that money, just like water, will flow down the path of least resistance. Patchwork lawmaking introducing fragmented regulation inevitably creates loopholes for exploitation.

Instead, reformers need to take care in identifying, with precision, the public interest the reform seeks to protect, and carefully balance that with a comprehensive set of regulations. Australia is in a good position to innovate in this space. The implied freedom of political communication recognised under the Australian constitution allows more flexibility to governmental action than its First Amendment counterpart in the United States, which arguably allows Australia more opportunity to experiment new approaches. There are also low-hanging-fruit reform options available. Even in the United States where First Amendment protections are rigidly enforced, prompt disclosure requirements have been consistently upheld as a permissible campaign financing regulation, notwithstanding its possible chilling effect on the donor’s freedom of speech. Similar requirements are unlikely to fall foul of the implied freedom in Australia. A federal election is due in 2022, where Australians will once again experience an election campaign, and exercise our longcherished freedom of speech. As trust in the democratic process has been declining as a matter of global trend, it is a critical time for Australia to update its campaign financing laws. How to improve transparency and confidence in the democratic process, without seriously jeopardising freedom of speech, is an important question that requires both careful consideration, and urgent actions.


D E B A T I N G D E B A T E S on Free Speech By James Arvanitakis

What we mean by 'free speech' and where to draw the line has been a central debate throughout the world’s liberal democracies for well over a century. What makes contemporary debates even more complex, however, has been the rise and rise of social media. We saw this play out when the three large social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube removed former president Donald Trump. Others, and not just his supporters, raised concerns about censorship and infringement of his First Amendment rights. For example, Russian pro-democracy advocate, Alexei Navalny raised concerns about the power of such platforms to remove political figures.

Despite this position, Mill also suggests that there is a need for some rules of conduct to regulate the actions of members of a political community. The limitation he places on free expression is, in his words, the ‘very simple principle’ which has come to be referred to the ‘harm principle’:

Despite this, the debates over free speech generally take place along partisan lines: Democrats want to see more interventions by social media giants while Republicans want little (if any) policing.

We saw the application of the harm principle play out in a contemporary context when earlier this year President Biden expressed frustration with Facebook, accusing them of ‘killing people’ by carrying COVID-19 misinformation.

Interestingly, this is a reversal of free speech debates in the ‘60s and ‘70s when it was progressives who defended the right to free speech and conservatives who argued for its limitations.


The arguments for and against free speech centre on the first and most foundational liberal defences of free speech, John Stuart Mill’s classic 1859 text, On Liberty. Early in the text, Mill states: “…there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered.” Mill warns that, if liberty of expression is limited, the price is, ‘a sort of intellectual pacification …’ that forgoes ‘… the entire moral courage of the human mind’.

“… the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

One area that we must now consider is how social media platforms shape the public sphere as they see fit with little, if any, accountability.

JAMES ARVANITAKIS is the Executive Director of the Australian American Fulbright Commission. James has 20-year experience in the higher education sector having also had successful careers in finance and the notfor profit sector. As an educator, researcher and public commentator, James was the driving force behind several innovative programs at Western Sydney University where he worked for fifteen years including the establishment of The Academy, and the Graduate Research School. Most recently he was PVC (Engagement and Advancement). James is a Fulbright alumnus, having spent 12 months at the University of Wyoming as the Milward L Simpson Fulbright Fellow.

Though the President somewhat walked back from these comments, it reflects a regular argument from the Democrats that social media platforms need to be more proactive and faster in shutting down hate speech and misinformation, and de-platforming those responsible. But how do we apply the harm principle? While indeed a simple statement, the application of the ‘harm principle’ is much more complex. Many hours of academic research and political argument have been dedicated to understanding just how narrow limits on free speech should be applied and, what types of speech, if any, cause harm.

The problem is attempting to apply such restrictions on speech on a universal basis, without careful consideration and definition of exceptions from protection, risks unintended consequences. In other words, a universal declaration on what is harmful risks free speech. In saying that, universal declarations that no speech harms are also inappropriate. Both the context and purpose matter. Yet one area that we must now consider is how social media platforms now shape the public sphere as they see fit with little, if any, accountability, and can alone decide what exactly is ‘free speech.’

One attempt to apply the harm principle is through the ‘purpose test.’ That is, understanding the ‘purpose’ of the speaker may assist us in assessing whether or not a speech act should be protected. The Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) has itself struggled with this purpose test: sometimes ignoring it and at other times making judgements on a speaker’s specific ‘purpose.’

This article is drawn from a co-published paper with Dr Jason McConnell (University of Wyoming) that resulted from my Milward L. Simpson Fulbright Fellowship.

Where SCOTUS has landed is that freedom of speech can be understood as the general rule that speech is protected from censorship, with certain notable exceptions – each with its own specific justification. SCOTUS is essentially arguing that any analysis of harm from offensive speech must be contextually determined.

Educational EXCHANGE





Our 2021 cohort of Fulbright Scholars is one of the largest in our 71-year history.

We're proud to introduce you and give you some more personal insights into the research these incredible people are doing, why it matters, and what drives them to dedicate their lives to these pursuits.

HALA ZREIQAT 2021 Fulbright Future Scholar Funded by the Kinghorn Foundation

Home: The University of Sydney Host: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Field:


Biomedical Engineering

PROFESSOR HALA ZREIQAT PHD AM FAHMS FIOR FTSE FAA is is a professor of biomedical engineering at The University of Sydney and Director of the Australian Research Centre for Innovative BioEngineering. Hala is a trailblazer in the field of biomaterials and tissue engineering. Her team invented new bioceramics implants with outstanding strength and biological properties, and developed innovative technologies for 3D-printing these ceramics enabling personalized approaches to the repair and regeneration of large bone defects under load. As a Fulbright Scholar, Hala will spend time at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Professor Robert Langer, a globally recognized pioneer, leader and entrepreneur in the biomedical sciences. She will learn strategies for commercialising and translating medical research into life changing products. Learnings will inform the commercialisation of regenerative medicine research in Australia. Why is your field of research important? Tissue Engineering and regenerative medicine is my field of research. This an exciting area with enormous potential to benefit mankind. There is a huge unmet medical need for restoring musculoskeletal tissue that is damaged due to disease, ageing and trauma.

What makes you passionate about it? This field provides an exceptional opportunity to unite my own areas of expertise in Biology with multi disciplines in material science engineering medicine and industry. The inspirational value of working in a team of brilliant rising stars cannot be overestimated and provides the greatest highlight in my career. Who is your hero/role model? My Mother, Father and Brother. What do you hope to achieve over the next year? That our discovery of the new bioceramics will progress to implantation in humans. I am also hoping in the not-too-distant future that we can proceed with our patented technology of intelligent magnetic nanorobots that can selectively identify and kill cancerous cells in the human body.

This research is being used to investigate some of the biggest unanswered questions in biology.

Another arm of our work addresses one of the biggest challenges in generating human tissue in the lab. We have developed methods to structure synthetic tissues through material-cell interactions. This research is being used to investigate some of the biggest unanswered questions in biology, such as how complex structure and function emerge in an organism; including shape, size, and the body coordinates of an organism. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to succeed in the way you have? In my experience there is the courage to step out of your comfort zone. Build successful collaborative relationships. Never give up or be intimidated by opposition and discrimination.


JOLYON FORD 2021 Fulbright Scholar

Home: Australian National University Host: University of California, Berkeley Field: Law

JOLYON FORD works on the regulation of responsible business and financial activity. Before re-joining the Australian National University law school in mid-2015, he worked in range of sectors including the federal public service, an intergovernmental organisation, academia, civil society, the private sector and a think-tank. He holds law degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Cambridge, and the ANU. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, he became an Australian citizen in 2010. Jolyon will use his Fulbright award to develop sustained research collaboration and networks with scholars and practitioners around the Centre for Responsible Business at the University of California, Berkeley. The focus of this work is comparative Australian-US perspectives on building effective models for regulating how corporations (and financial institutions) show transparently that they are managing the risk that their global supply chains may potentially contribute to patterns of forced labour and human trafficking. Why is your field of study important?


Our quality of life as rich-world consumers improves year on year. Yet it is estimated that over 40 million people are caught up in human trafficking and forced labour: ‘modern slavery’. Through globalised supply chains, things that we use and consume (from cocoa to cotton, to components for electronic devices) may be sourced, at least in part, from people living and working in slavery-like conditions in source countries. Procuring firms have the power to insist on certain labour standards in source businesses lower down the supply chain. My research looks at how to leverage that power, including by regulations that force firms to ‘know and show’: know more about human conditions in their supply chains, and show what they are doing to address slavery risks. What makes you passionate about it? ‘Transparency’ and ‘accountability’ are buzz-words for our age. I am driven by a curiosity about how we can use information to pressure for accountability and change, and passionate about increasing our understanding of how informed consumers and markets can help incentivise firms to adopt slavery-free business and buying practices. My work explores how to design regulatory schemes to encourage or require corporate and financial actors (and government procurers) to be more transparent about their efforts to eradicate slavery. But I am sceptical of whether existing reporting schemes in fact deliver transparency, let alone accountability.

Who is your hero/role model? Martin Luther King. Otherwise my father David, now 90. For four decades from 1950, through civil war etc., he worked in Zimbabwe to help subsistence communal farmers implement sustainable farming methods and increase food security. Passionate about soil quality, he saw soil erosion as a metaphor for the breakdown of rural social systems, as in the opening of Alan Paton’s classic apartheid novel Cry, the Beloved Country. What do you hope to achieve over the next year? As Australia and other countries roll out mandatory corporate reporting modern slavery legislation based on an influential decade-old Californian model, my research will enable us to understand better whether (or under what conditions) such reporting schemes in fact help (a) shed light on forced labour in global supply chains and (b) drive cultural change within the firms that must report. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to succeed in the way you have? Persistence and perseverance matter more than ‘natural talent’, even if luck plays a big role. What is bringing you joy right now? Canberra’s beautiful mild Spring weather and the joys of gardening, especially when my daughters join in.

I am driven by a curiosity about how we can use information to pressure for accountability and change, and passionate about increasing our understanding of how informed consumers and markets can help incentivise firms to adopt slavery-free business and buying practices.


CLARE STEPHENS 2021 Fulbright Future Scholar Funded by the Kinghorn Foundation Home: University of New South Wales/Western Sydney University Host: University of Virginia Field:

Water Engineering

CLARE STEPHENS is a postdoctoral researcher at the UNSW Water Research Centre. Her work focuses on the implications of climate change for water resources, specifically the complex interactions between landscape processes and climate that impact the hydrologic cycle. She will use her Fulbright Scholarship to visit a leading ecohydrology group at the University of Virginia and learn how to better apply advanced modelling tools to simulate the Australian environment under change. This project aims to provide new insights into future shifts in vegetation growth, fire regimes and nutrient cycling across Australia’s unique landscapes, focussing on hydrologic impacts at the spatial scales most useful to water managers. Clare’s time at the University of Virginia will allow her to build valuable networks while enhancing her knowledge of important vegetation processes and adaptive strategies. Why is your field of study important?


Sometimes we forget that the natural world provides so many of the resources we rely on, and of course water is no exception. Water security isn’t just about dams and pipes; it’s also about healthy forests and soils that allow rainfall to infiltrate and flow through the system, recharging groundwater and improving water quality. Plants are dynamic organisms that respond to environmental change, including shifts in temperature, rainfall and CO2 concentrations, so it follows that climate change could have serious impacts on ecosystems and the services they provide us. However, there’s still a lot we don’t know about how forests are responding. This is especially true for Australia, where over 80% of trees are endemic (meaning they only occur here) so it can be difficult to generalise learnings from research in other places. Ecohydrologic research aims to untangle the complex interactions between plants, climate and water. This involves developing and applying models that simulate the movement of water through the landscape along with vegetation response to changing conditions. Ultimately, I hope my work will contribute to informing water policy and environmental conservation strategies in a changing world. What makes you passionate about it? I’ve always wanted to work at the intersection of human society and the wider environment, but I didn’t originally think it would be in science. As an undergraduate, I studied engineering thinking it would be easier to make a difference on the ground. However, after four years in industry, I felt that we didn’t have the tools we needed to adapt to climate change. I decided to take some time to do my PhD, and within a few months I was hooked on research and never went back.

Ecohydrologic research inspires me because I believe there is still so much to be learned about the interactions between landscapes and water, and the answers will make a real difference to communities in the future. At the same time, I love thinking about trees all day; they are beautiful, fascinating and sometimes quite secretive! Many of the processes we need to understand are very difficult to measure. But of course, that’s part of the challenge that makes research so rewarding. Who is your hero/role model? My grandmother was a huge influence on me growing up, and she really encouraged my love of the natural world. We used to find special places to go – our favourite was a secluded beach near her house that was covered in the most beautiful mother-of-pearl shells. I hope I can maintain the same sense of wonder and natural curiosity that she had all her life. What do you hope to achieve over the next year? I recently moved to the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, so the next year will be all about developing new skills and getting to know my colleagues. I’m learning a lot more about the physiology of Australian vegetation in particular, and the diversity of ecosystems we have here. My Fulbright exchange will focus on applying a detailed ecohydrologic model in Australia for the first time, so the information I’m learning at Hawkesbury will be extremely useful. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to succeed in the way you have? The early stages of academia can be quite stressful, partly because everyone’s path looks different and it’s difficult to benchmark your progress (cue imposter syndrome!). My advice is to work with a supervisor or mentor to set goals for yourself, and avoid comparing against the achievements of other people. Everyone goes through stages of fast and slow progress, and we tend to compare our ‘slow’ times against whoever is currently ‘fastest’. For me, meditation can be a great way to practice self-compassion, but you should explore what works for you. Research is a long game, not a sprint. What is bringing you joy right now? Conversations with my new colleagues about plants! I love discussing potential reasons why different species have the traits that they do – for example, why do eucalypts have large leaves when they are young but smaller leaves as they mature? Often these questions can’t be answered with the data we have, but it’s a lot of fun to hypothesise and debate different ideas. I’ve also been loving long walks with my dog – we’re lucky to live in Sydney’s east so there are plenty of stunning ocean views.

Water security isn’t just 27 about dams and pipes; it’s also about healthy forests and soils that allow rainfall to infiltrate and flow through the system, recharging groundwater and improving water quality

ANTONIO TRICOLI 2021 Fulbright Future Scholar Funded by the Kinghorn Foundation

Home: The University of Sydney Host: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Field: Engineering

PROFESSOR ANTONIO TRICOLI is Professor of Materials Science at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Sydney, where he leads the Nanotechnology Research Laboratory. His research focuses on understanding light-matter interactions over multiscale interfaces for the design of innovative materials and devices with application in Personalized Medicine and Renewable Energy. He is a founding member and co-chair of the inaugural 2017 ANU Grand Challenge strategic research program “Our Health in Our Hands”, which brings together a large multidisciplinary team of scientists from HASS and STEM disciplines aiming at developing transformative technologies to better manage our health. He is author of more than 100 scientific publications, including book chapters and journal articles. He is recipient of the 2010 HILTI Prize for the most innovative PhD thesis of ETH Zurich, the 2012 Future Engineering Research Leadership Fellowship of the Australian National University, a 2015 Westpac Research Fellowships, a 2016 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Award and a 2020 ARC Future Fellowship. Antonio will spend his Fulbright Scholarship with the group of Prof Jennifer L. M. Rupp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he will explore the use of neuromorphic design principles for the engineering of future miniaturized biomedical diagnostic technologies. Why is your field of study/research important? Our bodies interact continuously with our environment via a variety of biomolecular paths. However, our capability to detect biomolecules is limited and mostly confined to bulk equipment in pathology and analytical laboratories. This limits our understanding of key biological process and blinds us from observing important events happening in our body and in our surroundings. 28

For instance, a major challenge for stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has been the difficulty in identifying asymptomatic yet infectious individuals. Similarly, antibioticresistant superbugs can thrive in hospitals and other dangerous settings without being detected. My research focuses on developing nano-scale bio-transducers that can be integrated in miniaturized sensors for point-of-care, portable, and wearable detection of biomolecules. The development of nanoscale biosensing technology can be a game changer, contributing to the deep personalization of healthcare and transforming public biosecurity for better prevention of future pandemics. What makes you passionate about it? I have always been fascinated by the complexity and yet elegant simplicity of nature. The ability of cells to replicate into forming a human body, the development of functional biological structures capable to repel liquids such as the lotus leaf, and the capacity of living matter to evolve are mediated by sophisticated biochemical interactions.

I am passionate about creating ways to unravel these powerful mechanisms with the aim to enhance our understanding and capability to care for our health. I envision that the convergence of emerging miniaturized biosensors and Big Data approaches will lead to a transformation of our healthcare system from the current one based on rough statistics to a deep personalization of diagnostics and treatments. Who is your hero/role model? As a child, I was always a great fan of Indiana Jones, Einstein, Archimedes and Pythagoras. While I may not have taken anyone in particular as role model, I admit to have been inspired by their search for knowledge despite often adverse circumstances. I also have profound respect for political leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Malcom X who have dedicated their life to improve our society and ethical values. What do you hope to achieve over the next year? I have recently moved from the Australian National University to the University of Sydney. I am looking forward to complete the establishment of our new research infrastructure and group that will enable to rapidly advance my nanoscale biosensor research program. We are also working on validating some of our miniaturized biosensor platforms for application in Type 1 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis that may be able to improve the efficacy of diagnostics, treatment and management of these diseases. I am also looking forward to my Fulbright research period at MIT in Boston, where I plan to expand my research and cultural horizons. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to succeed in the way you have? Success is relative and, in my opinion, makes only sense if it brings upon happiness. I would not be trying to focus on succeeding but instead on finding what makes me passionate and drives me to become better. It is often the case that finding one's true passion also leads to achievements and on a successful life. What is bringing you joy right now? I am planning to visit my family in Italy during Christmas. I've not been able to meet them for the past two years due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on travel. Being finally able to see my mother, my father and my sister this year makes me very joyful. I am also enjoying being able to regain some of the freedoms that were lost during the past lockdowns. Spending time with friends and resuming a more human dimension of getting together is uplifting my days.

The development of nanoscale biosensing technology can be a game changer, contributing to the deep personalization of healthcare and transforming public biosecurity for better prevention of future pandemics.


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Visit Fulbright.org.au to apply for a scholarship Annual Deadlines: Australian candidates (all)........................6 January – 6 July U.S. Postdoctoral/Scholar/Distinguished Chair candidates........6 January – 15 September U.S. Postgraduate candidates....................31 March – 6 October Fulbright Specialist Program.................1 July – 30 September

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