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Dr Alexey Muraviev, head of the Department of Social Sciences and Security Studies at Curtin, was invited by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) recently for high-level, bilateral strategic discussions between Australia and Japan.
He attended exclusive meetings with MOFA senior staff, meetings with senior staff of Japan’s defence ministry, as well as visited headquaters of major defence corporations and flagships of Japanese industry.
Dr Muraviev is a multi award-winning strategic affairs analyst and Senior Lecturer in National Security and International Relations at Curtin. He is a Coordinator of the International Relations and National Security programs and founding director of the Strategic Flashlight forum on national security and strategy at the University.
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been seeking to meet with Dr Muraviev for two years, such is his vast knowledge and expertise in foreign policy and national security.
It was Dr Muraviev’s first time in Japan and he says the meetings worked to further enhance the country’s relations with Australia.
“The two countries consider each other as strategic partners, and the level of trust and confidence in each other, and the level of economic, security and political dialogue is growing from strength to strength every year,” he says.
Issues discussed at the meetings included Japan’s concerns about the changing strategic role of the United States and its future engagements with Asia, China’s rise as a global military power, and Japan’s ability to provide the Royal Australian Navy with future submarine capability.
As well as attending meetings with Japan officials, Dr Muraviev traveled to Hiroshima and met with a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombings. The exchange affected him profoundly and made him increasingly aware of the need for future leaders and thinkers to develop nuclear-free strategies.
“It was probably one of the most emotional and moving experiences of my life,” he says. “Though I was fully aware of the operational and strategic use of nuclear weapons, seeing it on site, understanding it happened right there puts it in a different perspective. Even for me, who is a specialist in the field of strategy and defence, it was a massive learning experience.”
“One of the key points that I took away from there was, if you have a passion for international relations, if you want to work in the field of security, this is one of those places you must visit, because the dangers of nuclear weapons continues to exist.”
Dr Muraviev says his time in Japan helped him enormously as a practising expert in the field of international security, and some of the findings will be incorporated into his research and teachings at Curtin. He believes an understanding of international relations is crucial to being an active and engaged citizen.
“It doesn’t matter who you want to be in this life, these days almost all personal and professional endeavors have an international angle or connection,” he says.
“Within seconds we can reach out and talk to our friend, partner or affiliate on the other side of the world. And in this sense, thinking outside of our boundaries, is one of the most effective ways to develop an appreciation for international relations.”