Newcastle American history lecturer Dr Michael Ondaatje selected for international leadership program IVLP
University of Newcastle Senior Lecturer in American History Dr Michael L. Ondaatje, has been
selected by the US Ambassador in Australia and the US State Department to participate in the
International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
He is the latest in a long line of distinguished Australians to have participated in the IVLP,
including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, and former Prime
Ministers Paul Keating, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser.
The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) has been the US Department of State's
premier professional exchange program since 1940. Dr Ondaatje will fly to the US on 17 June
2013 to join current and emerging international leaders in government, politics, the media
and education for a two-week exchange of ideas.
Dr Ondaatje has been invited alongside other prominent internationals including Julia Peyrani
Di Castelnuovo, Chief of Staff and International Relations Advisor to National Senator Ruperto
Godoy (Argentina) and Essam Abdulaziz Abdulla Aljassim, Executive Director of Protocol, Court
of HRH Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander (Bahrain).
He will be part of a program in Washington DC called “Decision-Making in US Foreign Policy”,
specifically looking at how decisions are made, the processes of formulating, articulating and
implementing foreign policy in the US federalist system, and US foreign policy priorities and
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Michael Ondaatje was awarded his PhD, with Distinction, from
the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2008. His thesis in American political history was
recognised with the Robert Street Prize for the most outstanding PhD across all of the University's
disciplines. In 2010, Michael's first book, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press and became a Top 20 International Bestseller in US history. In 2011, the book was recognised with the University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence, and in 2012 was shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association's W.K. Hancock Prize.
In 2012 the Australian Academy of the Humanities awarded Dr Ondaatje, the Max Crawford
Medal, Australia's most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities. The
Crawford Medal is granted to early career Australian researchers for outstanding scholarly
achievement in the humanities in Australia, and to those whose publications make an exceptional
contribution to the understanding of humanities disciplines by the general public.
Dr Ondaatje is also a regular commentator on American politics in the Australian and international
media, and in 2011 was invited by the United Nations Association of Australia to deliver its Annual
International Human Rights Day Address.
He is currently working on a number of projects covering African American political history and the
history of American foreign policy (with special emphasis on US-Australia relations). Two new
books in these areas are due to be completed in 2014.
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