CAPRI Inaugural Event

Democratic Leadership in a Populist Age

CAPRI’s inaugural event in the United States took place on April 19, 2023, featuring Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the CAPRI International Advisory Council, and Lucy Turnbull, former Lord Mayor of Sydney, in conversation with Steve Mull, Vice Provost for Global Affairs at University of Virginia and member of the CAPRI International Advisory Council. The event, held in-person in the Dome Room at the University of Virginia’s historic Rotunda, was also live-streamed across the globe. A recording of the livestream is available here.

After opening remarks by University of Virginia President Jim Ryan, Malcolm and Lucy spoke from their experience on the various threats and challenges faced by democracies in the modern age. They focused on how democracy is under threat globally because of both internal and external factors. As Malcolm put it, “I think the greatest threat is within. The greatest enemies to our democracy are among us.” He added that widespread accessibility to misinformation (propagated in part by social media) has threatened democratic systems and led to growing polarization and partisanship. On the need to nourish democracy with facts, Malcolm noted the importance of institutions like CAPRI that can advocate for the truth and serve the informed public.

“In the Asia-Pacific where there is not much of a think tank tradition, CAPRI is making a real difference in health resilience, environmental resilience, and political resilience to get us in a position where we can withstand shocks.”

— Malcolm Turnbull

Lucy also shared her expertise from her time in local governance. “When you go to the grassroots and talk to people about what interests them, you can capture their imagination,” she noted.

“It’s the job of all leaders to engage with people on the terms they want to be engaged with.”

— Lucy Turnbull

As former Lord Mayor of Sydney, one of the most diverse cities in the world, Lucy is passionate about bringing together different perspectives and coordinating stakeholders across the spectrum to make a difference in people’s lives. To achieve that, as Lucy emphasized, there needs to be mutual respect and trust, as well as the willingness to break down silos among different sectors in society.

This event is co-sponsored by CAPRI, the Miller Center of Public Affairs, UVa Global, and the Karsh Institute of Democracy. As CAPRI’s first event overseas, this forum was an important step in CAPRI’s mission to enhance global resilience and promote innovative governance by drawing on the experience of the Asia-Pacific region. In May, Malcolm Turnbull and other members of CAPRI’s international advisory council will convene in Taipei for CAPRI’s inaugural Annual Forum. Distinguished leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond will come together to explore how the region has emerged as a beacon of resilience in the aftermath of the pandemic.

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About the Event

As populism is on the rise from the United States and Europe to the Asia Pacific, many fear that it presents a serious challenge to democratic institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and other crises have shown that for democracies to be resilient to shocks, they need both good governance and public support. How can democratic leadership maintain public trust, enhance resilience, and improve political institutions to avoid democratic backsliding?

Join us for a conversation led by Steve Mull, Vice Provost for Global Affairs at University of Virginia, with Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the International Advisory Council of the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation (CAPRI), and Lucy Turnbull, former Lord Mayor of Sydney, who will discuss characteristics of effective leadership from the local to the global level. Malcolm Turnbull will discuss his national and international leadership as well as his initiatives to promote cooperation in the Asia Pacific, such as salvaging the floundering Trans-Pacific Partnership and supporting the formation of CAPRI. Lucy Turnbull will share her experiences in creating and managing sustainable urban spaces that enable people and communities to thrive.

This in-person event will also be livestreamed here.

This event is co-sponsored by CAPRI, the Miller Center of Public Affairs, UVa Global, and the Karsh Institute of Democracy. Read more at the UVa Global website.


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

14:00 – 15:15 ET


The Dome Room of the Rotunda, University of Virginia & online

About the Speakers

The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull AC

The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull AC

Prime Minister of Australia (2015-2018)

Chair of the International Advisory Council of the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation

Australia’s 29th Prime Minister (2015-2018) had international careers in law, business, and the media before entering politics at the age of 50. As Prime Minister, he reformed Australia’s personal income tax, education and childcare systems, oversaw the legalization of same sex marriage and announced the construction of Snowy Hydro 2.0, the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the southern hemisphere. Mr. Turnbull embarked on the largest peacetime investment in Australian defense capabilities and set out Australia’s first national cybersecurity strategy. Globally, Mr. Turnbull played a leading role in reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11 or CPTPP) after the United States withdrew. He also struck deals with US Presidents Obama and Trump to accept refugees who tried to arrive in Australia illegally by boat. As a young lawyer, Mr. Turnbull successfully defended former MI5 agent Peter Wright against the British Government in the 1986 “Spycatcher” trial before entering business, where he ran his own investment banking firm for a decade before joining Goldman Sachs as a partner in 1997. Both before and after his political career, Mr. Turnbull has been a successful venture capitalist. He cofounded OzEmail Limited, the first Australian tech company to be listed on the NASDAQ. Since leaving politics, Mr. Turnbull has resumed his business career. He is a senior adviser to KKR and an investor in, and adviser to, many Australian technology businesses. He is a director of the International Hydropower Association and Chairman of Australian Fortescue Future Industries. Mr. Turnbull speaks and writes on a range of issues including cyber security, geopolitics, and renewable energy.

Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO

Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO

Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney (2003-2004)

Chief Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission (2015-2020)

Lucy Hughes Turnbull is an urbanist, businesswoman, and philanthropist with a longstanding interest in cities, culture, technological and social innovation, and Australian research and commercialization. Lucy is a Director of Turnbull and Partners Pty Ltd, a family-owned business which invests in earlier stage innovative enterprises. In January 2020 she was appointed by the New South Wales (NSW) government as Chair of the Sydney Opera House Trust. From 2015 to 2020 she was the inaugural Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, tasked by the NSW state government to assist in delivering strong and effective strategic planning for the whole of metropolitan Sydney. Prior to that she spent several years as Deputy Chair and Chair of the Committee for Sydney. From 2003 to 2004 she was Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, the first woman ever to hold the position. She has held many other board roles in the not-for-profit and private sector, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales Trust, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art, Redfern-Waterloo Authority, Redfern Foundation, and the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. In 2011 Lucy was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to the community, local government and business. In 2012 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from University of New South Wales Business School, in 2017 she was awarded an honorary doctorate (Arts) from Western Sydney University, and in 2013-18 she was Honorary President of the German-Australian Chamber of Commerce.

About the Moderator

Stephen D. Mull

Stephen D. Mull

Vice Provost for Global Affairs, University of Virginia

Member of the International Advisory Council of the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation

Ambassador Stephen D. Mull is Vice Provost for Global Affairs at the University of Virginia. In this role he is the primary lead on global relations at the University, responsible for developing a strategic vision, designing outreach, and overseeing international activities. Steve is responsible for overseeing institutional development of global partnerships and developing a wide array of services, programs, experiences, and strategic partnerships that promote global imagination within the university community.

Mull has served in a broad range of U.S. national security positions, most recently as Acting Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, working as the day-to-day manager of overall regional and bilateral policy issues, and overseeing the bureaus for Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Near East, South and Central Asia, the Western Hemisphere, and International Organizations. He served as Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation from August 2015 until August 2017; in which capacity he led U.S. government interagency efforts and diplomacy to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Mull was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Poland from 2012 until 2015 and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania from 2003 to 2006.