The AICD’s international director education is growing rapidly, contributing to stronger global governance and expanded director education for international members.

    For more than 40 years, the AICD has been committed to excellence in governance. The International division has broadened that commitment to improving global governance, with a particular focus on strengthening regional institutions. Over the past decade, the division has delivered governance education to over 1000 directors, aspiring directors and senior executives who operate across global jurisdictions. Its efforts saw the AICD receive the NSW Premier’s Emerging Exporter Award for 2017.

    The AICD’s strong strategic focus has seen international membership grow rapidly over the past three years, rising more than nine per cent in 2016–17. It has 1600 members across more than 75 countries, with a strong focus on key markets in Hong Kong, Singapore and Fiji. In 2017, the AICD opened new operations in Dubai as a strategic hub for the Middle East.

    Edward Palmisano MAICD, head of International, says that the work of the AICD makes an important contribution to global governance. “We are committed to strengthening governance through director education and member services,” Palmisano says. “The AICD is very well regarded internationally. It’s great to see the recognition that strong governance can improve culture, strategy and financial performance of a board and organisation.” Palmisano leads the AICD’s international engagement in Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East. As a former diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), he represented Australia at international negotiations and missions. He studied law at Sydney University, has a master’s degree from Cambridge, and received a DFAT citation during the Israel-Lebanon War.

    In 2016, Australia was benchmarked no.1 in Asia for corporate governance by the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA). Australia performed strongly on financial reporting and literacy, continuous disclosure, board composition, political and regulatory environment, accounting and auditing, corporate culture and shareholder rights.

    According to Palmisano, Australia’s reputation for strong governance has helped to reinforce its national public diplomacy messages that Australia is a trusted and reliable partner with an open and resilient economy, committed to regional prosperity and security.

    The AICD’s international operations are in a considerable growth phase, and over recent years have spanned Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China (Shanghai).

    The International Company Directors Course is currently delivered in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, with attendees travelling from all over the world to attend. Shorter programs, such as the Fiji Directors Course, are also delivered in-country.

    Nicole Sparshott GAICD, CEO of T2 Tea, Unilever, attended the program in Singapore, saying: “The International Company Directors Course was one of the best — if not the best — professional development course I have ever attended. The quality and relevance of the content, the calibre and generosity of the lecturers, and the interactivity and capability of the other participants was world-class.”

    The next step for the International division is the development of its Governance Diplomacy Program. A new initiative, the program aims to strengthen governance in developing countries in the Asia Pacific region in partnership with international agencies. This includes a new international scholarships program, which launched on 1 March.

    The AICD is committed to providing a scholarship place for every international course it runs.

    “We think it is right to award scholarships to those who are not financially able to attend our courses, but who are able to demonstrate the benefit the course will have on their organisation or community,” says Palmisano, noting that the AICD’s education work in the region also contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goals by helping to promote the rule of law, reduce corruption and strengthen governance institutions in developing countries. It also reinforces Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper commitment to promoting good governance, democratic institutions and strengthening civil society internationally.

    Asia-Pacific reach

    The AICD has done a lot of work previously in the Asia-Pacific region. In Fiji, they have delivered the Fiji Foundations of Directorship course, provided scholarships for female directors and given advice on the creation of the Pacific Corporate Governance Institute in Suva.

    In Papua New Guinea, the AICD has delivered the PNG Directors Course, Boardroom Effectiveness for Women Program and partnered with DFAT on the launch of the Pacific Leadership Governance Precinct in Port Moresby.

    In Indonesia, aside from delivering the International Company Directors Course and International Foundations of Directorship course, the AICD has provided director briefings on bribery, corruption, corporate fraud and whistleblowing. It has also provided scholarships under the Australia Awards Indonesia Program.

    The AICD has also worked with other partner institutions in Thailand, Myanmar, the Solomon Islands and other countries.

    Coming up

    The AICD will deliver eight International Company Directors Courses in the coming year. The course examines the duties and responsibilities of directors working across international jurisdictions and helps participants apply frameworks for international board operations. Participants learn from global case studies and real-life examples while networking with senior colleagues from around the globe.

    The next AICD international courses will be held 14–18 October in Dubai, 19-23 November in Singapore and 4-8 March 2019 in Hong Kong. The AICD will also present the Fiji Directors Course on 1-3 October.

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