MELBOURNE – 27 July 2010 –Dimity Fifer, CEO of Australian Volunteers International, Australia's most experienced international volunteer organization, tells Asialink about the Australia’s performance as a volunteering nation. “There’s something about the Aussie spirit – we’re very pragmatic; we don’t get too political, we’re actually very down-to-earth as volunteers, we roll up our sleeves and get the job done”, she said. “People love Australians as volunteers.”In the context of Asia, Fifer emphasized that it was important for Australians to get to know the local nuance of the culture. “Its about really listening and becoming part of a local community”, she said. Australian volunteers often help the most in processes around human resources, legal, IT, finance and marketing. “Those skills are gold to organizations overseas.” In this interview we also ask about the challenges faced by Australians volunteering in Asia, and the potential for a rise in volunteering as a form of cultural diplomacy, or ‘soft power.’Ms Fifer participated in this interview prior to an address for the Asialink Leaders Program.