Asia Pacific Week 2016 Conference

By. Johni Korwa

This is a short reflection on my personal experience from the Asia-Pacific Week (APW) Conference 2016. It may be useful for those who consider applying for this event in the coming years. Let me start by giving you a little bit background of what the Asia-Pacific Week is. Put simply, APW is a student-run conference held by the Australian National University. The APW offers a valuable window of opportunity for those who are concerned about Asia-Pacific issues or keen to learn about these two regions. This year there were more than 500 applicants from all around the world and just under 100 participants were selected.

Slide2

The APW committee 2016

Slide1

One of the sessions during the APW

 

 

 

 

 

While it was an international conference, the APW remained grounded. I thought it was notable that prior to the opening speech of the APW (like every formal event I have ever attended in Australia), the presenter paid respect to, and acknowledged the traditional owners of the land (Aboriginal people).

 

Slide3

The photo session at the Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra

During the APW, I have to say that all the sessions were great. The speakers were experts on the issues and content. For example, Tjanara Goreng Goreng (An Adjunct Assistant in Indigenous Studies at the University of Canberra) emphasized the importance for recognizing indigenous rights and reconciliation. Similarly, Dennis Blair (A guest speaker – President Obama’s first Director of National Intelligence) observed and commented on the war games session which was wonderful. Also, Mr. Nadjib Koesoma (Indonesian Ambassador to Australia), along with Mr. Charles Lepani (High Commissioner for PNG) and Mr. Somasundaram Skandakumar (High Commissioner for Sri Lanka) sketched out the opportunities and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.

Slide5

A guest – Dennis Blair – former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific Region and President Obama’s first Director of National Intelligence

Slide4

Prof. Hugh White (left), Dr. John Blaxland, moderator, Prof. Ben Zala (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this short article, I am going to pick up on four reflections that I find to be interesting and worth sharing. The first, is about reconciliation and the memory of conflict encountered by Aboriginal people. I reckon this is crucial to not only show a mark of respect to indigenous rights, but also to create a sense of harmony and peace among nations in this century.

Second, the map of Melanesian nations is apparently not clear enough and this lead to some debate. For some, the map expanded to a few regions in Indonesia while other resources did not agree with this expansion. So, it always depends on what resources you select.

Slide6

The last day of APW 2016 – Free style – Cheers – after Gala dinner

Third, the rise of China is also a key issue in this 21st century. It seems that China is pursuing its strategic interest to be a leader in Asia but facing too much pressure from the regions, as well as from the US; just like the issue of China exit (Chexit) celebrated by Filipinos quite recently regarding South China Sea disputes.

Finally, although frosty Canberra winter made us freezing all the time, the committee of the APW did such a great job to give us a warm welcome and keep us alive in this cold. They were able to ensure  everything went well including time management which is really crucial. If you consider visiting Canberra in winter, make sure you have proper warm clothes to make you feel comfy. But once your body adapts to the weather, you will find your comfort-zone. ‘No worries mate, she’ll be right’. Cheers…!!!

Slide8

MITRA team at the Australian Centre on China in the World

 

Slide7

Gala Dinner at the National Gallery of Australia

 

 

 

 

 

Johni is a master’s student at Flinders University, South Australia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s