Closing lunch at Real Madrid's stadium, where the participants reviewed the key aspects of this edition of the programme
As is now traditional, the Leaders Programme agenda ended with a closing lunch, during which the participants summarised their experiences over the past week. This lunch took place at the restaurant Puerta 57, overlooking the pitch at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
The four participants in the Programme gave a positive overview of the experience, explaining that its varied agenda had allowed them to gain a comprehensive idea of Spain and its place in the world. “The value of the Programme lies in its variety,” said Alastair Davis. They also said they had thoroughly enjoyed some of the activities. Susan Windybank mentioned the meeting with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and appreciated “his candour on all the topics discussed.” She added: “Before taking part in the Programme I was familiar with Spain as a tourist destination. Now I've discovered another side to the country, and I must say I'm really impressed”.
Garth Pratten praised the organisers on how balanced the agenda was and the variety of topics covered. Among the various reflections shared throughout the week, he emphasised the conclusion that “Australia has spent a long time looking exclusively at the Pacific” and the fact that “though it may not be among the world's largest, the Spanish economy has a strong footprint in the industry, economy and technology sectors. My concern is that Australia will not follow suit”.
Alastair Davis said he had thoroughly enjoyed meeting with great professionals, but especially with peers from Spanish think tanks. The rest of the visits made it clear to him that: “In economic terms, Spain's international footprint is greater than I thought”.
Liam Nevill was the only one of the Leaders who was already familiar with the Foundation's work, having represented the Australian Strategic Policy Institute at a seminar on cyber-security last year in Canberra. The analyst was “impressed” by what he had witnessed during his first visit to Spain and particularly appreciated the visits to Spanish companies, especially those involved in defence and security (Navantia and Indra).
SACF's Secretary General closed the third edition of the Programme by thanking the Leaders for their presence, and emphasised their active participation in all the activities, “which goes to show they have found them of interest.” Alonso Dezcallar expressed his wish to continue to work with the Leaders in the future and said he hoped the experience had “helped them to get to know Spain better”.