The official agenda of the Leaders’ Programme began at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
The official agenda for the Australian Leaders Programme began on Monday, 9 March with a briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Palacio de Santa Cruz). SACF’s Secretary General, Alonso Dezcallar, welcomed the delegation and gave an overview of the Foundation’s work. He emphasised the fact that SACF is a public-private partnership backed by the Ministry and with a board made up by the main Spanish companies and institutions with interests in Australia, and explained that “it devotes all its efforts to the promotion of bilateral relations between the two countries.”
Dezcallar underscored the lack of awareness in the two countries regarding each other’s current situation and explained that the Foundation’s mission is to serve as a “tool for public diplomacy” to amend this situation and strengthen ties in all areas. He went on to thank the group for their participation in the Programme, an outstanding opportunity to foster mutual knowledge and strengthen bilateral relations.
During the meeting, the Secretary General gave an overview of the agenda for the delegation in Madrid, Seville and Cádiz, packed with work meetings combined with an insight into Spanish culture through art, food and tourism. Among the first activities, he emphasised the formal presentation of the Spain Australia Council Foundation at the offices of OHL, whose Chairman, Juan Miguel Villar Mir, also leads SACF. Dezcallar encouraged the participants in the 1st edition of the Leaders’ Programme to participate actively both in this event and in the others to come, including the meeting with members of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the breakfast meeting with representatives of Spanish civil society to take place at Garrigues’ offices.