Conference program

Conferences in previous years have included prominent and distinguished policymakers, academics, diplomats and politicians including Peter Drysdale, Michael Wesley, Zhao Jianfei, Stephen Howes, The Honourable Gareth Evans AO QC, Admiral Chris Barrie AC, The Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser AC CH GCL PC and The Honourable Bob Hawke AC GCL.

Is blood thicker than paper? 

Economic integration and development in Asia and the Pacific is accelerating rapidly as the global economy increasingly relies on Asia-Pacific states for manufacturing and consumption. However, political tension in Northeast Asia is threatening progress with territorial disputes and ‘comfort women’ issues halting diplomatic progress between countries. To what extent are countries willing to negotiate and overcome political divergences for the sake of economic benefits? How does the nexus of international politics and economics explain this seemingly paradoxical tension within East Asian political economy? What are its implications for the greater Asia-Pacific region?


One size fits all

The various ways in which Asia-Pacific states govern themselves gives way to the question of whether certain means of leadership are more "efficient" than others. Are "Asian values” only applicable to certain parts of the continent (e.g. North and Southeast Asia)? Can there be an "Asian" models of governance and development based on democracy, dictatorship or monarchy? Or is one way inherently better than others? This panel will examine the different styles of governance and development in the Asia-Pacific region with the hope of discovering if one size really does fit all.


Genderless Asia

Gender in Asia is a contested issue with multiple perspectives and phenomena to consider. While the concept of "male" and "female" is often thought to be black and white, for many cultures in the Asia-Pacific the boundaries are often not as clear. Are there distinctive male and female roles in Asia-Pacific societies or are the lines blurred?

Tackling climate change in the Asia-Pacific

The climate is changing, and many Asia-Pacific countries are considering how to best balance economics growth and environmental sustainability. There are two approaches when it comes to climate change: mitigation (reducing the extent of climate change) and adaption (limiting any negative impacts of climate change). This panel will explore these approaches and discuss specific actions that countries in the Asia-Pacific should take.


Counterfactuals: Religion


The influence of religion on Asia-Pacific societies is vast and permeates various facets of everyday life. For example, Indonesia is the largest Islam country in terms of population, while the legacy of Christian missionaries in Northeast Asia remains stronger than ever. However, if religious history were to take different courses and forms, would these countries still have the same customs and socio-political issues as they do today?


Decoding Asia

George Orwell once said, "If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." While Orwell wrote this more than 50 years ago, today this still rings true, no more so than in the Asia-Pacific. This panel will look at how language can reflect state ideology and obfuscate and distort the truth, often in the hope of obtaining political goals or expanding one's control over society. This panel will also examine the language policies of governments across the region and discuss what impacts these polices have upon the population and for their own state apparatus.


The American Asian century

As countries across the Asia-Pacific continue their rise, people within these countries are starting to enjoy living standards on par with the West. As the economies of countries in Asia and the Pacific continue to rise, these governments are seeking to play a more prominent role in international politics and organisations.  Is the 21st century going to be the Asia Pacific century, like the 20th was the “American” century? Or in today’s globalised society is the world now big enough to handle more than one power?


Is Asia and the Pacific big enough? 

As countries across the Asia-Pacific region develop at an increasing rate, their increased influence has given them improved confidence to assert themselves over historical territorial claims.  This is often done to restore past glory, right previous wrongs or for resource or territorial benefits.  What does this mean for security and stability in the region? How should these competing claims be managed and what role should outside powers play in this? This panel will examine the causes and consequences of competing claims and overlapping interests.


From the "Noble Savage" to Psy

Portrayals of Asia-Pacific civilisations by the “Other” – in this instance, European and North Americans – in the past have depicted them as backwards, uncultured beings. Consequently socio-cultural ‘modernisation’ processes have been largely moulded by the “West” in the 19th and 20th Centuries, with the “Rest” following in their footsteps. However, with the rise of Asia-Pacific cultural items such as food, music, movies and literature, it now seems the Asia-Pacific region is starting to exert its influence on the rest of the world. Given the increased interest towards Japanese culture during the 1990s, can other Asia Pacific states achieve a similar level of cultural proliferation?


Ambassadors Panel

Did you know that the compass was invented in China during the Han Dynasty? Always a highlight of Asia Pacific Week, the 2014 Ambassadors' Panel will bring together Ambassadors and High Commissioners from various Asia-Pacific nations to discuss the best contributions their countries have made to world history. 


The Pitch

This brand new panel for 2014 will give delegate groups the opportunity to "sell" a seemingly unsellable idea through the use of both rational and "creative" reasoning. The Pitch is based on a television segment of the same name which forms part of an Australian program called The Gruen Transfer.


The Great Debate

The Great Debate will unite some of the Australian National University's most esteemed academics with Asia Pacific Week's wittiest delegates to debate over whether an "Asia-Pacific Union" is a foreseeable reality. For many years there was an increasingly popular view that countries in the Asia Pacific region might merge together in the future to consolidate their strength against world superpowers, such as the United States. However, the various predicaments of the European Union have led to the loss of faith in this expectation during recent times. Is an Asia-Pacific Union still possible, irrespective of the troubles Europe has experienced?



Admiral Chris Barrie AC and colleagues will reintroduce Wargames, to the Asia Pacific Week 2014 calendar this year. Often regarded as one of the most intuitive and thought-provoking events at Asia Pacific Week, Wargames places delegates in the console of a real-life conflict situation. The expert direction and experience of the retired Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie AC, will guide participants through the key challenges and discussions made when conflict is at hand. The Wargames event is open to delegates of Asia Pacific Week 2014. The event will be from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on the 23rd of June.


Q & Asia

Q and Asia is an open discussion for delegates and the public to gain insight pertaining to the growing Asia-Pacific. During this session the audience is invited to ask questions and, in line with the theme of 'GlobalisAsian', this years Q and Asia will discuss power in the context of the growing states in the Asia-Pacific. The past century has seen a shift from the military-centric hard power to the seemingly pragmatic virtues of soft power. What consequences does this shift pose to the Asia-Pacific? How does it affect its relationship with the rest of the world? What changes does this bring to state-to-state relations? The panel hopes to demystify these questions and offer some insight into the future of the Asia-Pacific. The Asia Pacific Week 2014 at the Australian National University presents this public forum on the 24th of June 2014 at 1:30 pm. The forum will be held in the 'China in the World' theatre.


Updated:  11 May, 2022/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team