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Australia's Most Travelled Foreign Correspondent

True stories are stranger than fiction and more interesting.

Eric Campbell has spent 30 years covering the globe for ABC television, working as a bureau chief in Moscow, Beijing and Kabul and as roving reporter for the acclaimed television series ‘Foreign Correspondent’.

He has made documentaries on every continent, including Antarctica, covered wars, revolutions and natural disasters and explored the lives of extraordinary people from Siberia to Timbuktu.

Current Work:

His travels have given him a unique insight into today’s biggest international issues. He is an expert commentator on Russia and Ukraine, witnessed the rise of Chinese militarism first-hand (including running a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea) and chronicled the battle between democracy and authoritarianism around the world.

Eric is passionate about the challenge of climate change, after seeing the reality of global warming from the Arctic and the Himalaya to West Africa and the Falkland Islands. He has made several documentaries on renewable energy and the possibilities and pitfalls of technological solutions and explored the future of the coal industry in Spain, Germany and the US.

Much of the Australian public has grown up watching Eric’s travels, enjoying reports that combine humour and humanity with clear explanations of complex and sometimes disturbing events. Eric has spoken frankly of dealing with PTSD and the need to see the joy and hope that can shine from dark places.

Eric recently made the decision to scale back his travel to spend more time with his three-year- daughter. He is keen to share his experiences as he prepares for new adventures.

Talking Points

Climate change challenges and solutions

Twenty years ago Eric saw that global warming was a frightening reality. Glaciers across Europe and the Arctic were melting at an unprecedented rate, farmers in the Himalaya were saying they no longer knew when to plant their crops, and deserts were encroaching on major cities.

It made him look for solutions, explore renewable energy systems worldwide, and test the claims that better technology could save us the need to cut emissions. He also investigated if there really could be a just transition for communities that relied on fossil fuels like coal.

This presentation is relevant for anyone concerned with the environment but particularly for corporations looking to cut emissions or deal with changing community perceptions.

Key Takeaways
- The debate on climate change is over and journalists have become more cynical about ‘greenwashing’
- Understanding that companies need to look beyond PR to embrace real change
- Understanding that there are effective and affordable solutions but the transition has to move faster to compete with other advanced economies

Russia/Ukraine war

Eric has been covering Russia since 1996 when he was first posted to Moscow as an ABC correspondent.

He witnessed the rise of Putin and his crackdown on the new democracy and made repeated trips to Ukraine as it fought over ties to Russia or the West. His take from a quarter of a century of reporting is that the war is not so much about Russian fears of NATO as Putin’s obsession to rebuild a great Russian empire.

This talk would be relevant to anyone with an interest in the world’s biggest story but also to corporations pondering how a conflict that threatens to wreck the global economy might end.

Key Takeaways:
- Putin will not even contemplate defeat and Ukraine will not stop fighting even if there’s a nuclear strike
- Putin’s attempts to force the West to withhold military aid by cutting fuel exports have failed. Instead, he has created a unity and determination that a year ago was unthinkable.
- There is no possibility of orderly succession in the Kremlin but there is a small chance of Putin’s inner circle taking him out and suing for peace to protect themselves

World Affairs

In reporting from more than 100 countries Eric has gained a unique insight into the issues facing most of humanity. Eric can address almost any topic with personal anecdotes of first-hand experience. That means he can bring life to issues that are crucially important to our future, particularly on the topics of:

- Climate change … an amplifier for environmental degradation, resource wars, mass migration and political instability
- Inequality … the failure of traditional economic models to provide for all
- The retreat of democracy … measured by the growth in illiberalism, populism and authoritarianism along with declining trust in media and agreed facts.
- The rise of China and the shift to more authoritarian, nationalistic rule
At our fundraising event with an attendance of between 250 to 300 potential donors Eric did all that was expected from him as MC and far more. He went beyond the call of duty when creating a conducive atmosphere for the evening as he introduced the special guests, slipped in anecdotes on his travels in the Himalaya, co-ordinated the auction …….as well as keeping men in blue shirts under tight control. Indeed Eric can claim responsibility for securing some outlandish bids in the live auction which he undertook with suitable aplomb and good humour. If you are considering hiring an MC to guarantee a memorable evening Eric Campbell is eminently suitable. Australian Himalayan Foundation
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