Jayden Evett

Jayden graduated with a Master of Diplomacy.

Jayden Evett, originally from Wellington, New Zealand; began his study journey in Vienna, Austria at the world’s oldest school of diplomacy.

Studying diplomacy has long been a goal of mine. My passion for communication and connecting people translates naturally to diplomatic studies, a unique practice-driven disciple grounded in experience-based education.

Jayden, better known as Jay, found this degree at The Australian National University (ANU) while searching for a diplomacy program which specialised in the Pacific. “I was sold on the program instantly. In mid-2018 I transferred into the Master of Diplomacy (Advanced) program and swapped the concert halls and palaces of Austria for the bush and roo-lined streets of Canberra”.

Jay believes that foreign policy is often framed by hawks and doves – aggressors and peacemakers. “In any time, the world benefits from diplomats trained in and familiar with the shared context in which countries have to cooperate to preserve peace. Yet innovative, well-read doves are more important in a world where hawks flourish amongst populism and political hyperbole. Studying diplomacy expands your worldview at a time when politically and socially isolating ourselves and our countries seem convenient if not fashionable”.

Jay’s favourite course during his degree was the sub-thesis research unit. “Though daunting, this was the course through which I experienced the greatest personal and academic development. I was lucky to work closely with Professor Greg Fry, the resident authority on Pacific Diplomacy at ANU, on a topic which deftly combined my passions for the Pacific - conflict resolution and New Zealand foreign policy. The thesis I wrote was vastly different from what I had proposed, as COVID-19 made field research and government archive access impossible. Despite the challenges it posed, the character-building of this course is second-to-none”.

According to Jay, one perk of studying at the ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs is the annual weekend away at the university’s very own coastal Kioloa Campus. “The serene coastal site wedged between beaches and bush provides a unique experience to learn in a non-traditional environment. A dialogue on indigenous diplomacy, led by a Yuin Elder, around the campus’ firepit during the weekend is one such experience which will stay with me for a long time yet. The weekend also provides a fantastic opportunity to connect with faculty members and other students in the program. A master’s degree at the ANU is not all stagnant libraries and midnight writing sessions”.

When asked about opportunities the program prepared him for, Jay's facial expression saddened. “While not the opportunity any person ever wants to receive, the program set me in good stead to jump into action following the horrific March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. Liaising closely with the New Zealand High Commission and the ACT Government, I helped organise Canberra’s vigil in the immediate aftermath, allowing over 3,000 Canberrans to join our Kiwi and Muslim whānau [families] while we grieved”.

“The faculty were very understanding and flexible in allowing me to focus on the consuming task of planning and publicising an event in a community I was still new to at the time. It was also a remarkable showing of support from the wider ANU community, from students and faculty who attended the vigil and those who sent messages of support to the ANU New Zealand Club”.

Jay’s next steps seem to be related to ANU. “Call me a sucker for punishment (some have) but I hope to return to the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs in 2021 to pursue a doctoral program. It is a rare luxury in life to find a place where you are supported and challenged by professionals of all backgrounds who share your passion for something. I have found that at ANU and plan to make the most of it while I can”.

“I plan to cross the Tasman in due course and expect to spend a career applying what I have learnt at ANU in service of the blue Pacific. Long-term, and after a life well-spent, it would be idyllic to retire to academia and inspire a new generation of globally-minded students – though with stories only half as thrilling as those of Professor William (Bill) Maley”.