The Hon Julie Bishop MP at the naming of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Photo by Stuart Hay.

The Hon Julie Bishop MP at the naming of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Recognising a foreign affairs pioneer

Diplomat-turned-ANU academic Dr Coral Bell AO held an internationally recognised reputation as a distinguished scholar and policy maker, broke down the barriers for women in foreign affairs roles and continues to be a source of inspiration today.

According to former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger; "No other commentator has been as perceptive about [US] policies related to each other, the alternatives we face and the disasters we are seeking to avoid."

These words demonstrate the expertise and know-how of ANU academic Dr Coral Bell AO. As the first female graduate to enter the Department of External Affairs (now Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) in 1945, Bell overcame many hurdles to pursue a career in foreign policy.

Bell, who died in 2012, was an "accidental academic" dedicated to avoiding Armageddon and a pioneer in a field long dominated by men.

She was once approached to spy for the Soviet Union, was a source of inspiration for Kissinger and has inspired many women in the field of international policy, including current Foreign Minister THE HON JULIE BISHOP MP.

Earlier this year, ANU recognised the influence of Bell by naming the former School of International, Political and Strategic Studies after her.

Ms Bishop launched the new Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Below is an edited extract of her speech. You can watch the full speech in the video at the bottom of the page.