Recent activity

2022 Christie Eliezer Memorial Lecture: “Epidemic to immuno-epidemic models of COVID-19”

On 21 November 2022, La Trobe Asia, in collaboration with the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, were delighted to present the inaugural Christie Eliezer Memorial Lecture.

Professor Malay Banerjee from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India presented the inaugural memorial lecture following an introduction from Renuka Eliezer and Geoff Prince. Christie’s daughter, Renuka, gave a short speech about her father’s time at La Trobe University. Emeritus Professor Geoff Prince, who was one of the last PhD students to be supervised by Christie, spoke about the hugely important influence Christie had on his learning and career.  Geoff had nothing but praise for the collaborative way Christie supervised, and shared some memories of working with Christie that illustrated his humble, kind, gentle, generous and inclusive personality.

Professor Banerjee’s presentation, although quite mathematical at times for some participants, was fascinating as he shared how he and his team developed a new modelling approach for the COVID-19 epidemic that accounts for the variation of how people experience COVID within a population. We thank Malay for travelling all this way, and for sharing his knowledge and expertise with us.

The event can be viewed here.


The Quad: Emerging Security Issues in the Indo-Pacific

On 16 November 2022, La Trobe Asia hosted a hybrid panel event The Quad: Emerging Security Issues in the Indo-Pacific.

We would like to thank our panellists: Stuti Bhatnagar, Kate Clayton, Tom Corben, and Eleanor Shiori Hughes for sharing their thoughts on the opportunities and challenges facing the Quad in an increasingly contested region. This public event was the culmination of a two-day policy workshop at the La Trobe University City Campus for emerging policy leaders from India, Japan, US and Australia, with the generous support of the US Embassy in Canberra.

The event can be viewed here.


'Philippines in Focus' Seminar Series - Seminar # 1

Exploring the Filipino community in Melbourne and Australia - Launch event

On 19 October 2022, La Trobe Asia held the first of four seminars focused on the Philippines.

Our launch event featured a panel of young Filipino-Australians who shared their experiences of coming to Melbourne and Australia.  They shared how they came to be a part of the Filipino community in Melbourne as well as their work to create and develop a space within the community for Filipinos to feel at home, remain rooted in Filipino culture, yet connect with other culturally diverse communities in Melbourne.

We are extremely grateful to May Red Zafra, Raine Cabral Laysico and Melvin Mata for sharing their times, stories and experiences with such honesty – they were inspirational!  And thank you to Francis Sollano and Rei Fortes for their expert moderation of the event.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Seminar # 2

Space and Identity: Indian Diaspora in the Philippines - Gilbert Jacob Que, PhD candidate, Department of Social Inquiry at La Trobe University and Instructor, Ateneo de Manila University

Gilbert's insightful presentation gave us a comprehensive overview of Indian migration to The Philippines.  Based on his doctoral studies carried out in the PhD program partnership developed between Ateneo de Manila University and La Trobe University, Gilbert gave a very engaging presentation exploring the varied instances and spaces in which Indian migrants interact and develop a sense of belonging in The Philippines.  His work is a novel contribution to knowledge that should help open new avenues for research and policy change in the future in the important topic of migration to The Philippines.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Seminar # 3

Relational Inequality and COVID-19 in the Philippines - Jacqueline Marie J. Tolentino - PhD Candidate, La Trobe University-Ateneo de Manila University

Jacqueline Marie Tolentino’s excellent presentation offered a detailed approach to a critical topic of our times:  How COVID-19 has not only uncovered, but also complicated pre-existing socio-economic inequalities in The Philippines. Her presentation explored this phenomenon from the point of view of relational egalitarianism, this is, the premise that individuals consider and treat one another as equals.  This premise is directly connected to questions of democratic citizenship, the protection of rights and just state-society relations – all themes of great importance in The Philippines and beyond. Jacqueline’s presentation was based in her doctoral research, carried out in a partnership program developed between Ateneo de Manila University and La Trobe University.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Seminar # 4

Contingent Breadwinners: Precarious Livelihoods of Left-Behind Family Members of Filipino Victims of Trafficking - seminar # 4 – Associate Professor Sallie Yea, Tracey Banivanua Mar Principal Research Fellow, Department of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University.

Sallie Yea presented her very important research, which is still in progress, on what happens to the ‘left-behind women’ and what they often need to do to survive in the absence of migrant men. Sallie painted a very clear picture of the financial and relational effects of migrant worker exploitation from her data from a study of human trafficking and forced labour in the offshore fishing industry.  It was quite confronting at times but we are extremely grateful to Sallie for sharing her knowledge, insights and time with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here .


Academic Mobility and International Academics: Challenges and Opportunities book launch

On 18 October 2022, La Trobe Asia was delighted to host this hybrid launch to celebrate this significant achievement for our colleague, Dr Jasvir Kaur Nachatar Singh, and the book she edited Academic Mobility and International Academics: Challenges and Opportunities.

Congratulations to Jasvir on such a wonderful publication!  It was a fascinating discussion between Jasvir and Ashleigh-Jane Thompson, perfectly moderated by Kerstin Steiner and Sabrina Gupta.  Marian Mahat also provided an excellent introduction to the book as Series Editor.  We thank them all for making the time to be a part of this launch.

A copy of the book can be purchased here.


Indigenous Language Rights and the Politics of Fear in Asia

On 4 October 2022, La Trobe Asia held the Melbourne launch of the excellent La Trobe Asia Brief – Issue 7 written by Gerald Roche, Madoka Hammine and Tuting Hernandez on Indigenous Language Rights and the Politics of Fear in Asia.

Our panel of inspirational academics and activists: Gerald Roche, Jakelin Troy and Dolly Kikon, moderated by Professor James Leibold, provided much food for thought as they discussed the issues with great passion and knowledge with their many examples and personal observations from all over the world.  There were practical suggestions for all of us to follow in our daily lives and the informed questions from the audience added to the quality of the event.

We are extremely grateful to James, Gerald, Jakelin and Dolly for giving so generously of their time to share their knowledge and experiences with us.

The event can be viewed here.

If you would like a copy of the brief you can download a pdf from our website or we will send you a free printed copy if you email us with a snail mail address we can post to (domestic or international).


Human Rights in China

On 17 August 2022, La Trobe Asia and Human Rights Watch collaborated to present a hybrid panel event at the La Trobe University City Campus and online.

Our panel ( Yaqiu Wang, Vicky Xu and Gerald Roche) moderated by Professor James Leibold, explored the current state of human rights in China, with a focus on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, language oppression and the experiences of being a human rights researcher.

We are extremely grateful to James, Yaqiu, Vicky and Gerald for giving so generously of their time to share their knowledge and experiences with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


China’s Antarctic ambitions - and their implications for Australia

On 2 August 2022, La Trobe Asia, China Matters and the Australian Institute for International Affairs (AIIA) were delighted to come together to launch the report written by AIIA China Matters Fellow Yun Jiang.  

Yun’s report China’s Antarctic ambitions – and their implications for Australia is available for download here.

The panel moderated by Professor Nick Bisley included a presentation from the author, Yun Jiang, with Dr Nengye Liu and Richard Maude providing their responses to the report.  The report includes recommendations for Australian policy makers on ways to engage with Beijing on Antarctic matters in a way that promotes Australia’s interests, and we are extremely grateful to Yun Jiang, Nengye Liu, Richard Maude and Nick Bisley for giving so generously of their time to share their knowledge and expertise with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Protest, Dissent, and the Struggle for Justice in India

On 28 July 2022, La Trobe Asia hosted an 'in-conversation' with Professor Nandini Sundar, professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics.

In this conversation, Professor Nandini Sundar discussed her widely read 2020 report on threats to academic freedom in India, recent arrests of academics journalists, and activists, and her three decades of writing and scholarship about Adivasi communities in Bastar district, Chhattisgarh. The conversation took place on the two-year anniversary of the arrest of Delhi University professor of English Hany Babu.  Professor Sundar discussed his arrest, and the arrests of other lawyers, activists and academics who have been charged in the infamous Elgar Parishad case. The conversation concludes with Professor Sundar’s thoughts on the rights granted to all citizens by the constitution of India.

We are extremely grateful to Professor Sundar, Ian Woolford and Gerald Roche for giving so generously of their time to share their knowledge and expertise with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Enhancing Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific

On 25 July 2022, La Trobe Asia, in collaboration with Griffith Asia Institute and Kings College London, hosted a panel to launch the report Enhancing Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific which written by:

  • Hillary Briffa, King’s College London
  • Ian Hall, Griffith Asia Institute
  • Alessio Patalano, King’s College London
  • Bec Strating, La Trobe Asia

The report is the product of a series of workshops held in early 2022 involving experts from the United Kingdom and across the Indo-Pacific and was supported by a grant from the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. A copy of the report can be downloaded here and we thank all involved in this project for their invaluable contributions to the project.

We invited three of our experts back to discuss the report with one of the authors – Ian Hall.  Together Huong Le Thu, Tara Davenport and Abhijit Singh provided their responses to the three questions posed by the authors:

  1. What are the central maritime security challenges facing states in the region?
  2. How do they respond individually and collectively to these challenges?
  3. And what legal and institutional mechanisms exist to manage ongoing disputes?

We would like to thank Ian, Huong, Tara and Abhijit for their time and sharing their knowledge, understanding and expertise with us all.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Perspectives on Gender Mainstreaming in Foreign Policy from the Indo-Pacific

On 13 July 2022, La Trobe Asia, in collaboration with 9DASHLINE and Kubernein Initiative hosted a panel to discuss gender mainstreaming in foreign policy.

Introductory remarks were given by our colleagues Hunter Marston (representing 9DASHLINE) and Priyanka Bhide (representing Kubernein Initiative).  The recent Kubernein Initiative report ‘Understanding Feminist Foreign Policy: A view from India” was presented to the audience and a copy of this report can be downloaded here [PDF 570KB].

The panel discussion with Soumita Basu, Elise Stephenson and Maria Tanyag was excellent.  The panel covered:

  • the objectives and universality of the Feminist Foreign Policy concept
  • how it intersects with the Women, Peace, Security agenda particularly in times of interdependent, complex and overlapping crises
  • the importance of representative, inclusive, intersectional and bottom-up approaches to foreign policy-making
  • how effectiveness of Feminist Foreign Policy might be measured.

We hope that this contributes to an ongoing conversation about reconceptualising foreign and security policy across Asia.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Sleepwalk to War: the Australia-US alliance in Asia

On 30 June 2022, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel which discussed a new Quarterly Essay by Hugh White.

We thank Hugh White for joining us to discuss his writing “Sleepwalk to War: Australia’s unthinking alliance with America”. We would also like to thank Emma Shortis, from RMIT and Andrew O’Neil from Griffith University for sharing their views on some of the key themes outlined in the essay. It was a terrific discussion which engaged with different views about the costs and benefits of Australia’s enduring alliance with the US in the context of a contested region and an increasingly divided US, the extent of US’ enduring credibility and commitment in Asia, the nature of Australia’s agency and independence in its relations with Washington, and what Australia can and should be doing to differently to support its interests in the future.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


A China Reset?

On 7 June 2022, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel which discussed what Australia's China policy might look like under a Labor government, whether it needs to 'reset' the relationship and what such a reset might look like. A number of valuable points emerged from the discussion, including the dangers associated with using the language of a 'reset' , the importance of high-level diplomacy for managing bilateral relations, and different levels of optimism regarding Australia's ability and willingness to re-calibrate relations with China.  We thank our panel members Kevin Magee, Dan Hu, Nick Bisley and Kate Clayton for their participation and insights.

The event can be viewed here.


Australia votes 2022: Our place in the region

On 17 May 2022 La Trobe Asia was delighted to present this event in collaboration with University of Western Australia’s Defence and Security Institute. DSI’s Director, Professor Peter Dean, joined Associate Professor Bec Strating on the panel alongside Associate Professor Andrea Carson, Dr Jennifer Hsu and Sarah Ison. We thank Peter, Andrea, Jennifer and Sarah for sharing their perspectives on the key issues of the election campaign, what it says about how Australian politicians and citizens view our place in the region, and the key priorities in foreign and defence policy.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


'Indonesia in Focus' Seminar Series - Seminar #1

Indonesia’s foreign policy in a changing regional environment – Launch

On 28 April 2022 La Trobe Asia held the first of seven seminars focused on Indonesia.

La Trobe Asia had the pleasure of discussing Indonesian foreign policy and Australia-Indonesia bilateral relations with Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar during this launch event.

As an eminent practitioner and scholar of international relations, Dewi demonstrated her deep knowledge of so many of the complex regional and global issues that states such as Indonesia and Australia must grapple with, including strategic competition, trade, infrastructure and development, maritime security, the role of regional institutions such as ASEAN, just to name a few. We had a few technological/connection issues, but it did not stop us from having an illuminating conversation and we would like to thank Dewi for sharing her time and insights so generously with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Seminar # 2

Disability Leadership in Indonesia - Dr Elisabeth Jackson, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University and Nur Syarif Ramadhan, Director, Indonesian Diffability Movement for Equality. (5 May 2022)

Indonesia’s disability movement has made important progress in realising the rights of people with disability in the last decade. This has been led by disability advocates working at both the national and local levels. In this seminar, we share initial findings from our research with over 50 Indonesian disability leaders on their personal leadership journeys and how they see their leadership as contributing to social change.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 3

Managing oral cancer in Indonesia - Dr Elizabeth Fitriana Sari - Senior Lecturer, Department of Rural Clinical Science, La Trobe University. (12 May 2022)

Oral cancer is considered as a public health problem that carries significant morbidity and mortality, but Indonesians are often unaware of the deadly oral cancer. Indonesia has insufficient data in relation to oral cancer prevalence and their risk factors.

This seminar will present my continuing research about oral cancer in Indonesia, the prevalence, the risk factors associated with oral cancer and examine what role the Indonesian government should take in managing oral cancer in Indonesia.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 4

Democratic Regression and Environmental Politics in Indonesia - Associate Professor Dirk Tomsa - Head of the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University. (19 May 2022)

This seminar analyses how populist resource nationalism, anti-science attitudes, controversial new laws and tightening restrictions on political freedoms are undermining prospects for environmental protection in Indonesia. However, it also highlights some silver linings that provide hope for Indonesia’s embattled environment.

This event can be viewed here

Seminar # 5

Indonesia's fight for a law against sexual violence - Dr Dina Afrianty - Research Fellow, La Trobe Law School, La Trobe University (26 May 2022)

The struggle of Indonesian women for legal protection against sexual violence and gender equality has been faced by persistent opposition from conservatives and from parliamentary representatives both from Islamic and secular political parties. At this seminar, I will discuss the ongoing struggle of women for a law reform in the effort to eliminate sexual violence.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 6

Welfare-to-work Reform in Indonesia - Dr Phuc Nguyen - Senior Lecturer, La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University (2 June 2022)

This seminar will explore the effectiveness of the Kartu Prakerja (KPK) Program, and explore the complex intentions and values underpinning the government’s new approach to addressing Indonesia’s unemployment problem.  It will also examine whether the program reaches the intended targets using evidence from both service providers and program participants.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 7

Patient Safety and Quality of Care in Indonesian Hospitals - Dr Inge Dhamanti, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University (9 June 2022)

Patient safety is a human right and the critical aspect of service quality that must be met. The government has made numerous efforts to improve patient safety, however there are many challenges in implementing patient safety in Indonesian hospitals. This seminar will examine incident reporting in Indonesian hospitals, and secondly analyse compliance in Indonesian hospitals with reporting national quality indicators before and during the pandemic.

The event can be viewed here


“The New BJP: Modi and the making of the world’s largest political party” – a conversation with the author

On 26 April 2022 La Trobe Asia was delighted to be joined by Dr Nalin Mehta who discussed the central arguments of his new book The New BJP with La Trobe University academic Dr Ian Woolford. It was a fascinating look into some of the key controversies in explaining the BJP in Indian politics, including: the role that Hindutva nationalism and ideology plays in sustaining and growing support for the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the nature of continuity and change in the BJP, and the extent to which it has expanded its focus beyond Hindu nationalism in order to enhance its power. The book is based on extensive empirical research on the BJP and we thank Nalin for talking us through the book, and Ian for his probing and insightful questions.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


The Xinjiang Emergency: Perceptions of Uyghur Detention in China

On 5 April 2022 La Trobe Asia was delighted to present the Melbourne book launch for The Xinjiang Emergency: Perceptions of Uyghur Detention in China at our City Campus and online.

We thank our guests Michael Clarke and James Leibold for sharing their extensive expertise and insights on the current situation in Xinjiang, the drivers of the Chinese Communist Party policies and actions, the language of justification used domestically and in the international community, and options for international responses that could feasibly uphold principles of human rights.

I would also like to congratulate Michael on the release of his new important edited collection "The Xinjiang Emergency" published by Manchester University Press.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Deepening Australia-Japan Relations in a contested region

On 4 April 2022 La Trobe Asia, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan in Melbourne was delighted to present 'Deepening Australia-Japan Relations in a contested region' at our City Campus and online.

We were delighted to welcome Stephen Nagy from the International Christian University (ICU), Tokyo in Japan to this La Trobe Asia event, our first international visitor and our first in-person seminar in over two years!  We were joined on the panel by two leading La Trobe experts Nick Bisley and Kaori Okano to discuss how Japan and Australia view security and economic dynamics in the region and opportunities for deepening bilateral ties. We managed to cover a vast range of issues in our conversation, including trade relations and prospects of economic decoupling, why Taiwan and Ukraine matter for Australia, Japan and Asia, the value of cultural, educational, business and people to people links for the bilateral relationship, security dynamics in the South and East China Seas, AUKUS, five eyes, and language policies. I want to thank Kaori, Nick and Stephen for sharing their deep knowledge and expertise with us.

We were also very fortunate to hear insightful welcoming comments from Consul-General Shimada Junji from the Japanese Consulate in Melbourne. It was terrific working with the Japanese Consulate again (after so long) to deliver this hybrid event!

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Fresh Perspectives on the Indo-Pacific

On 24 March 2022 La Trobe Asia was pleased to launch the La Trobe Asia Brief, Issue #6, Fresh Perspective on the Indo-Pacific.  In  2021 La Trobe Asia (supported by the U.S. Embassy in Canberra) supported emerging leaders discuss critical issues facing the Indo-Pacific. The brief, written by students and young professionals from a diverse range of areas, was a product of the program and launched by a panel of three of the authors who explored gender and conflict resolution in the Indo-Pacific, Australian foreign policy, and South Korea’s maritime strategy.

As the balance of power shifts in the Indo-Pacific, future leaders are looking at strategic challenges from a fresh perspective. To understand the future of the Indo-Pacific, it is vital we listen to future leaders.

We thank Tom Barber, Isadora Vadasz and Alexander M. Hynd for sharing their thoughts and ideas with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Gendering the Pandemic: Women’s representation and participation in the Asia-Pacific

On 15 March 2022 La Trobe Asia was pleased to partner with the Griffith Asia Institute to deliver a panel that carried on the conversations of International Women’s Day on this important topic. Vivian Lin, Dhara Shah and Ryce Chanchai spoke eloquently about women’s representation, participation and visibility during COVID-19 across the Asian region. This rich and timely discussion canvassed a range of issues including how the pandemic has affected women across Asia, the factors that contribute to women disproportionately experiencing adverse effects from the pandemic across political, social and economic sectors, and what governments, business, international organisations and non-government organisations might do better to mitigate these effects and better prepare for future pandemics.

We  thank them all for sharing their time and expertise with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Indigenous Language Politics in Asia

On 22 February 2022 La Trobe Asia was delighted to participate in Global Language Advocacy Day by hosting this powerful conversation between Tuting HernandezMadoka HamminePrem Phyak, and Gerald Roche.  This webinar panel was part of a series of activities to mark the beginning of the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages.

The conversation about Indigenous language politics in Asia will continue through three podcast interviews with Charisma LepchaGegentuul Baioud, and Maung Nyeu which will be available on our Asia Rising podcast soon.

We thank our panelists for sharing their time, knowledge, expertise and experiences with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Surviving Covid-19 and a military coup as a garment worker

On 23 November 2021, La Trobe Asia in collaboration with the Women in Asia Conference 2021, presented a public lecture to open the conference.

Associate Professor Shelley Marshall and PhD candidate Sara Tödt shared their insights from empirical studies  on the complex and sometimes allegedly conflicting narratives of female garment workers in Myanmar and Thailand. Based on the research, the presenters suggested a form of ‘regulatory solidarity’, i.e. laws and policies in the Economic North in order to assist in improving the working conditions of these workers.

We are very grateful to our panellists  for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.

The event can be viewed here.


Democracy in Malaysia: Prospects and Possibilities

On 18 November 2021, La Trobe Asia presented a panel on Malaysian politics.

Associate Professor Kerstin Steiner - La Trobe University, Professor James Chin - University of Tasmania and Dr Amrita Malhi - Australian National University shared their deep expertise on historical and contemporary Malaysian politics. It was a discussion that unpacked the evolving and complex political landscape since 2018, and contextualised these shifts by paying close attention to Malaysia’s institutions, identity dynamics, and history.

We are very grateful to our panellists  for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


The AUKUS Deal: Regional Security in the Indo-Pacific

On 27 October 2021, La Trobe Asia, in collaboration with the US Embassy Canberra presented a panel which helped to demystify the new AUKUS agreement between Australia, US and the UK.

Maria Rost Rublee, Natalie Sambhi, Anna Powles, Peter Dean and Bec Strating separated what we actually know about the agreement from what we do not know. The discussion covered a wide range of issues, including the different aspects of the technology sharing agreement, the mixed regional responses to the announcement, what the move to nuclear-powered submarines suggests about Australia’s role in the region, and the implications of acquiring nuclear fuelled capabilities for Australia’s domestic policy settings and regional reputation.

We are very grateful to our panellists  for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Asian Monarchies in the Modern Age

On 12 October 2021, La Trobe Asia was delighted to launch the latest book by La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, Professor Dennis Altman - ‘God Save the Queen: the strange persistence of monarchies’. It was our great delight to celebrate this book with three exceptional members of the La Trobe academic community, with Dr Wendy Mee and Professor Kaori Okano also sharing their deep insights. The conversation traversed the fascinating and rich diversity of constitutional monarchies and hereditary systems in Asia, how they intersect with leadership and types of government, the different symbolic or political power their wield, and whether they tend to help or hinder populism. One of the key takeaways was the benefits of examining politics, history and society through the lens of monarchical rule.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


The Shortest History of China

On 28 September 2021, La Trobe Asia was delighted to help launch Linda Jaivin’s book ‘The Shortest History of China’. We were also grateful to Dr Ruth Gamble - La Trobe University and Professor Baogang He - Deakin University for their excellent contributions to the lively discussion that covered politics, international relations, language and literacy, culture, and the importance of understanding history. If you have not had the chance to read Linda’s book, we highly recommend it as a fascinating examination of the rich, messy and complex history of China.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


'India in Focus' Seminar Series - Seminar #1

Australia’s Relationship with India

On 19 August 2021, La Trobe Asia held the first of six seminars focused on India.

Our first 'India in Focus' event was a live recording of La Trobe Asia’s Asia Rising podcast with Lisa Singh - Deputy Chair, Australia India Council and Former Australian Senator (2011-2019).

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Seminar # 2

When India fought China, and why it matters - Dr Ruth Gamble, DECRA Research Fellow | Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University (26 August 2021)

China and India fought a war over their unresolved Himalayan border in 1962. Nearly sixty years later, this border remains unresolved, and the effects of the ongoing dispute over it can be felt in the whole region’s geopolitics, ecologies, cultures, and, increasingly, technologies. This seminar will present a political ecological analysis of the war’s causes, events, and aftermaths, and use the past to suggest what the region’s bifurcated future may hold.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 3

Heritage sites and tourism industry in India - Dr Kiran Shinde, Community Planning and Development, La Trobe University (2 September 2021)

This presentation examines prevailing tourism trends in heritage sites in India and then raises some pertinent questions about these trends in relation to the sustainability of those places. Adding to the conventional modes of inquiry against social, economic, and environmental indicators, this presentation argues that there is a deeper sense (or spirit) of place that plays an equally important role in understanding sustainability of heritage sites. The presentation draws on from many heritage sites that are popular in India.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 4

Diabetes self-management in India - Dr Sabrina Gupta, Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Dr Jency Thomas, Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology, La Trobe University, and Rahul Krishna Puvvada, PhD candidate La Trobe University (9 September 2021)

Self-medication practices are common across India and include taking both traditional and western medications without proper medical advice, and using old prescription drugs or unused drugs from friends and family members. These practices can lead to many detrimental effects. We aim to identify the factors that may influence these practices and gain perspectives of people living with diabetes, their carers; doctors and pharmacists living and working in Mysuru, India.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 5

Researching the smaller languages of the India-Myanmar border - Associate Professor Stephen Morey - Languages and Linguistics, La Trobe University.

The border of India and Myanmar is an area of great language diversity and cultural richness. Stephen Morey has been working to study and record the languages of this area since the 1990s and in this talk will present some data about the number of languages spoken there, about their diversity and some of the challenges of recording the very multilingual situation there in a time of globalization and modernization.

The event can be viewed here

Seminar # 6

Sport for Development: Opportunities and Challenges - Dr Biju Philip, Adjunct Lecturer, La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University.

What are the impacts of a sport-for-development program in social inclusion in rural India? This seminar will discuss some of the opportunities and challenges of sport-for-development programs in an Indian school setting.

The event can be viewed here


Developing Partnerships Between Australian and Indian Universities

On 11 August 2021, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel as part of 'India Week' with the Australia India Institute.

The panel discussed the importance and value of partnering and sharing their experiences in setting up the Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network (ASCRIN). Our speakers, representing each of the institutional partners (IIT Kanpur, BITS Pilani and La Trobe University) provided information about how the 10 themes were developed, the challenges to operationalise the partnership, the importance and value of industry partners, and where they hope to see the partnership go in the future.

We thank the speakers for sharing their valuable time with us and also for their insights and reflections:

  • Professor Aniruddha Desai, Founding Director of ASCRIN, La Trobe University
  • Professor Susan Dodds, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement), La Trobe University
  • Professor Yogesh M Joshi, Dean of International Relations, IIT Kanpur
  • Professor Sudhirkumar Barai, Director Pilani Campus and Director International Programs & Collaborations, BITS Pilani

The panel was moderated by Dr Bec Strating, Executive Director - La Trobe Asia.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


The Challenge of China

On 10 August 2021, La Trobe Asia and Ideas and Society collaborated to bring The Hon. Kevin Rudd AC, 26th Prime Minister of Australia,  and The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull AC, 29th Prime Minister of Australia, together to discuss the recent emergence of China as an economic and military super-power, rivaling the United States, as one of the most significant and challenging developments of the present era.  The event was introduced by Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University and moderated by Dr Rebecca Strating, Executive Director, La Trobe Asia.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Is Asia Heading for War?

On 4 August 2021, La Trobe Asia, in collaboration with Asia Society, hosted a panel which discussed the probability of war in the region, what it would mean for the balance of power, and how Australia could be expected to act.  These are real issues that could occur in the near future, and we thank our speakers for their time, insightful discussion and comments:

  • Dr Oriana Skylar Mastro, Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at American Enterprise Institute
  • Professor Nick Bisley, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University
  • Guy Boekenstein, Northern Australia Fellow, Asia Society

We are grateful to Asia Society for partnering with us on this event.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Australia Southeast Asia relations: the post COVID-19 Regional Order

On 7 July 2021, La Trobe Asia launched the fifth La Trobe Asia Brief “Australia Southeast Asia relations: the post COVID-19 Regional Order”.

This publication was the product of a fruitful online academic dialogue held in February 2021 in collaboration between: La Trobe Asia, Asia Centre, Centre for Strategic and International Studies Indonesia, Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia, Griffith Asia Institute, Asialink, Perth USAsia Centre and Generate Worldwide.

Some of the authors involved with the brief shared their knowledge and insights with the conversation spanning strategic, economic, health, diplomacy, environmental and human rights issues that affect bilateral and multilateral relations between Australia, Southeast Asian states and ASEAN. We thank Professor Caitlin Byrne, Chen Chen Lee, Dr Jeffrey Wilson and Dr Huong Le Thu for giving their time and providing their expertise.  We thank all our partners for their work in making this collaboration a success and would also like to acknowledge that this project was proudly supported by the Australia-ASEAN Council.

If you would like a hard copy of the brief, please email with a mailing address so we can send to you (note: we are happy to post internationally as well).  Soft copies can be downloaded from our website .

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Japan's Evolving Security Policy

On 8 June 2021, La Trobe Asia hosted the online launch of Kyoko Hatakeyama’s book Japan’s Evolving Security Policy: Militarisation within a Pacifist Tradition (published by Routledge).

Kyoko’s book provides a fresh perspective on the role of domestic politics and international norms shaping Japan’s security policies.

The event was also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on Japan’s emerging role in Northeast Asia and the broader Asian security order. We thank Nobuhiro Aizawa and Nick Bisley for contributing their time and expertise to help launch this wonderful book with Kyoko Hatakeyama.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


'China in Focus' Seminar Series - Seminar # 1: China's Grand Strategy and Australia's Future in the New Global Order

On 22 April 2021, La Trobe Asia held the first of six seminars focused on China.  Dr Geoff Raby AO, former Australian ambassador to China (2007–11); ambassador to APEC (2003–5); ambassador to the World Trade Organization (1998–2001), and member of the La Trobe Asia advisory board spoke about his recent book: China's Grand Strategy and Australia's Future in the New Global Order.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

The 'China in Focus' seminar series highlighted China related research at La Trobe University from all disciplines, allowing conversation and analysis on specialised topics with academics and experts and is an initiative of La Trobe Asia.

Seminar # 2 - Alcohol consumption and the risk of stroke in middle-aged and older adults in China - Dr Heng (Jason) Jiang, Health Economist and Epidemiologist at the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR), School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University (29 April 2021)

Seminar # 3 - Did the 2009 health reforms help China's pandemic response? - Professor Vivian Lin, Executive Associate Dean (Strategy and Operations) and Professor of Public Health Practice at the University of Hong Kong. Adjunct Professor at La Trobe Asia (6 May 2021)

Seminar # 4 - Mobilities and Vulnerabilities of Older Chinese Rural-Urban Migrants - Dr Rachel Winterton, Senior Research Fellow, John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research, La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University (1 July 2021)

Seminar # 5 - A Chinese perspective of China-Australia relations - Dr Dan Hu, Deputy Director of the Australian Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University (20 May 2021)

Seminar # 6 - Forging the Race/Nation: Coercive Nation-building in Xi Jinping’s China - Professor James Leibold, Head of Department, Politics, Media and Philosophy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University (27 May 2021)

Participants could choose to join for one, two or more seminars on China and each seminar will have a 45 min presentation followed by 15 min Q&A.

Not all the seminars were recorded.


Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking in Asia

On 20 April 2021, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel which discussed the complexities of tracking, and defining modern day slavery and human trafficking, the different sectors in which it occurs, why these labour/human rights and social justice issues persist, and what roles governments, NGOs and individuals in Asia and beyond can play in combatting MDS and human trafficking.

We are grateful to Sallie Yea, Jenny Stanger and Sunil Rao for sharing their expertise and insights with us throughout the discussion.

If you are inspired to learn and/or do more:

Download the Australian Government's National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Modern Slavery

Donate to the Australian Freedom Fund (AFF). The AFF directly benefits survivors of slavery by filling critical gaps when no other support is available. Grants from the AFF are directly managed by staff at The Salvation Army's Trafficking and Slavery Safe House – the only service of its kind in Australia and that operates independently of government funds.

Contributions to the AFF provide:

  • Emergency Relief – There is often a gap period between escape from slavery and access to formal supports/services that can be as little as 2 weeks or as long as 1 – 2 months.  During this time and at other times, funding may be needed for temporary accommodation, food, basic necessities, replacement of documents/photos, transport and access to a phone.
  • Independent Living Grant – Survivors transitioning into more permanent housing may seek a grant to assist with the costs of providing a bond and obtaining items to establish a household.  A second grant from this fund may be allocated to previous applicants being reunited with family members.
  • Family Reunification Grant – Most people who experience trafficking and slavery have family members left behind in their country of origin. This separation can be for unexpected periods of time, which increases the vulnerability of children/spouses, and stresses relationships. Separation from children, especially, contributes to depression and a sense of hopelessness among people enslaved in Australia.  Reuniting with family members can cost up to $10,000 and is out of reach for many survivors who are often working in low-paid jobs as they build a new life in Australia.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Fighting Fake News in a time of COVID-19

On 16 March 2021, La Trobe Asia, in collaboration with the Asia Centre, Bangkok, hosted a panel to launch Associate Professor Andrea Carson’s important and timely report Fighting Fake News: A study of online misinformation regulation in the Asia Pacific.

The event unpacked some of the key issues raised in this report, such as the nature of online misinformation, disinformation and fake news, the social and political problems that arise from its spread in Asia and elsewhere, how governments – particularly Singapore and Indonesia – have sought to regulate it, and what this has meant for journalists and civil society groups that seek to hold governments to account. Particularly interesting was the discussion about what happens when governments themselves are responsible for the dissemination of fake news, and the potential consequences of attempts to determine what news is ‘fake’ across different cultural contexts.

We are grateful to Associate Professor Carson, Dr James Gomez of the Asia Centre, Bangkok, and Associate Professor Dirk Tomsa for their excellent contributions to the discussion.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Could Taiwan be the next Global Flashpoint?

On 3 March 2021, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel on the prospects and challenges facing Taiwanese independence and democracy.

Brendan Taylor (Strategic Studies, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University), Natasha Kassam (Research Fellow, Lowy Institute) and Jessica Drun (Non-Resident Fellow, Project 2049 Institute) provided their different views which enabled us to better understand the complexities of Taiwan's unique position in Asian geopolitics, how strategic rivalry and a new Biden administration might affect Taiwan's future, public opinion and political dynamics within Taiwan itself and the interests and views of other regional states.  We thank them for the time they gave to participate in this panel.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Myanmar’s Military Coup: Challenging Democracy in Southeast Asia

On 24 February 2021, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel on the recent events in Myanmar.  Wai Wai Nu (Peace, Human Rights and Women Rights Advocate, Founder of Women's Peace Network, Myanmar), Hunter Marston (Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University), and Christopher Lamb (President of the Australia Myanmar Institute; Honorary Associate Professor - The University of Melbourne; and, Former Australian Ambassador to Myanmar) astutely convened by Bec Strating (Chair), used their deep knowledge of Myanmar politics and society to analyse the drivers behind the military takeover, outline possible futures for democracy and human rights, and make recommendations for how individuals and the international community might effectively support the Burmese people.  Their insights were incredibly valuable in helping make sense of the rapidly unfolding events in Myanmar and we greatly appreciate their time to participate in this panel.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Violating Peace: Sex, Aid and Peacekeeping

On 24 November 2020, La Trobe Asia held an online launch for La Trobe University's Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf most recent book -  Violating Peace: Sex, Aid and Peacekeeping.

It was terrific to hear Dr Westendorf discuss her extensive research on the critical issue of sexual abuse and exploitation during peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. In this discussion (and in the book) Dr Westendorf provided a persuasive account of why attempts to redress this problem have failed and how it has tarnished the legitimacy of international actors working in post-conflict environments.  It was also a privilege to hear expert practitioners Dr Helen Durham, International Committee of the Red Cross, and Professor Susan Harris-Rimmer, Griffith University, reflect on the important implications of Dr Westendorf’s work for states, inter- and non-governmental organisations, and local communities.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Australia-China Relations: A New Low?

On 11 November 2020, La Trobe Asia presented an online panel which discussed the current state of Australia-China relations.

This was an incredibly rich and nuanced discussion about the many varied and complex dimensions of a fraught relationship, including geopolitics and security issues, trade, the importance of free press, knowledge exchange and cultural literacy, and the ways political discourses can trickle down to affect communities and individuals.

We thank our expert panel for sharing their time, insights and deep knowledge of China and Australia-China relations:

  • Dr Gerald Roche (Senior Research Fellow, Politics, La Trobe University)
  • Assistant Professor Dan Hu (Deputy Director, Australian Studies Centre, Beijing Foreign Studies University)
  • Richard McGregor (Senior Fellow, Lowy Institute)
  • Mike Smith (China Correspondent, Australian Financial Review)
  • Dr Bec Strating (Chair and Executive Director, La Trobe Asia)

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


India's Heritage: Preserving the past while embracing the future

On 29 October 2020, La Trobe Asia and the Australia India Institute presented an online panel on India's Heritage as part of India Week.

The panel unpacked the complexities and tensions in preserving sites of cultural heritage while embracing modernisation, and ensuring that Indian cities remain 'living cities'.  Our expert panel, chaired by Dr Bec Strating, shared their insights on a range of issues, including the different levels of government involved in policy-making, the importance of infrastructure development, the role of the international community - particularly UNESCO - in heritage, the cost/benefits of tourism, and the nature of community consultation and the diverse views of the public on these issues. We thank our panel members for sharing their insights and observations: Professor Utpal Sharma (Nirma University), Dr Anita Smith (La Trobe University) and Dr Kiran Shinde (La Trobe University).

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Inclusive and accessible education and services to students with disabilities in higher education

On 21 October 2020, La Trobe Asia collaborated with AIDRAN and Universitas Brawijaya to present  an incredibly rich and enlightening discussion about developing an inclusive educational culture in higher education. It was particularly powerful to hear a range of first-hand experiences from Australian and Indonesian academics and students living with disability, who provided their valuable perspectives on learning and teaching at universities. While progress has been made on many fronts, it is important that we continue developing systems of social support and inclusive pedagogy that enable all students to flourish. It is through dialogues such as these that we can reflect on the barriers and expose ourselves to new ideas and knowledge about how to overcome them.

We would like to thank our colleagues at Universitas Brawijaya and the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Higher Education for their collaboration and participation in this event. We would also like to thank the speakers (in order of presentations) for sharing their knowledge, experience and time:

  • Prof. drh. Aris Junaidi, Ph.D (Indonesian Ministry of Research and Higher Education)
  • Prof. Dr. Ir. Moch. Sasmito Djati, M.S. (Universitas Brawijaya)
  • Prof. Dr. Ir. Hendrawan Soetanto, M.Rur.Sc. (Universitas Brawijaya)
  • Dr Ir. Achmad Wicaksono, M.Eng., Ph.D. (Universitas Brawijaya)
  • Alies Lintang, MA (Universitas Brawijaya)
  • Anthony Gartner (La Trobe University)
  • Beth Radulski (La Trobe University)
  • Ramas McRae (La Trobe University)
  • Elo Mandeville (student Universitas Brawijaya)
  • Andi Zulfajrin Syam (student Universitas Brawijaya)

The event was translated: AUSLAN and BISINDO and close captioned in English [PDF 193KB] and Bahasa [PDF 92KB].

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Resources

Australia-Indonesia Disability Research and Advocacy Network (AIDRAN) Membership Form:  if you would like to join AIDRAN, please complete the online membership form here

Online Learning Guide for Students with Physical Disabilities, 2020
Panduan Pembelajaran Daring bagi Mahasiswa dengan Disabilitas Fisik, 2020
Published by Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI), La Trobe University, Australia-Indonesia Disability Research and Advocacy Network (AIDRAN) and PSLD (Center for Disability Studies and Services) Brawijaya University

Download the guide here [PDF 430KB]

Neurodiversity Hub


Trump vs Biden: the US Election and Implications for Asia

On 7 October 2020, La Trobe Asia collaborated with the Perth USAsia Centre to present an online panel which looked beyond the frantic news cycles of the US election and considered  the nature of the Trump administration’s approach to Asia and what a Biden presidency might promise in contrast if elected.  Importantly, the panel reflected on the role of leadership in US foreign policy toward Asia, focusing in particular on the importance of alliances, credibility and predictability in formulating responses to emerging regional challenges.  We thank our guests: Frank Lavin (former White House Political Director; former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore), Professor Gordon Flake (Chief Executive Officer, Perth USAsia Centre), and Dr Kyungjin Song (Director, FN Global Issues Center)  for contributing their insights, expertise and time to the discussion.

The webinar can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

An article which may be of interest, referred to by Professor Flake can be found here.


Education and the politics of identity in East Asia today

On 9 September 2020, La Trobe Asia collaborated with Kyushu University to present an online panel to discuss the role of education in shaping national identity in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The discussion covered the politics behind education policy decisions, particularly around language and history, how these policies are implemented (or not) at the local level and the varying levels of success these policies have had in achieving particular political objectives around national identity. It was particularly interesting to hear about the similarities and differences in the policies and the aims of governments.

We thank our guests Professor Kaori Okano (La Trobe University), Professor Tzu-Bin Lin (National Taiwan Normal University) and Professor Ed Vickers (Kyushu University) for taking the time to tease out and explain the complexities of this important issue and Dr Bec Strating (La Trobe Asia) for expertly moderating the session.

The webinar can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Pandemics and Public Health Systems in Asia

On 2 September 2020, La Trobe Asia presented a panel discussion on pandemics and public health systems in Asia. This was a fascinating and insightful discussion canvassing a range of challenges and issues that feed into the delivery of effective health services during pandemics, and the lessons that states can draw from COVID-19. In particular, the discussion unpacked the range of factors that feed into the international and national governance of pandemics, including in the political, economic and environmental domains, how public health systems need to balance competing priorities and the pressing social justice dimensions of ensuring equitable outcomes in health.

We are extremely grateful to our panelists:

  • Professor Vivian Lin (Public Health Practice, University of Hong Kong)
  • Professor George Liu (School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University)
  • Dr Susan Mercado (Special Envoy of the President for Global Health Initiatives, Philippines)

for providing their valuable perspectives on this extremely topical issue and Dr Bec Strating (La Trobe Asia) for expertly moderating the session.

The webinar can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Growing up Asian in Australia

On 8 July 2020, La Trobe Asia collaborated with Ideas and Society to present an important discussion on what it is like to grow up Asian in Australia.  Our panelists Tim Soutphommasane, Alice Pung and Benjamin Law drew on their experiences, insight and expertise to provide important and valuable contributions to the broader national conversation about inclusion, diversity and multiculturalism in Australia. The panel was chaired by Dr Bec Strating (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia).

The event is available to view again here.


Trump in Asia: a More Dangerous Place

On 1 July 2020 La Trobe Asia launched the fourth La Trobe Asia Brief - A More Dangerous Place: Asia during the Trump Presidency, featuring eight opinion pieces from experts across the region.

Our panelists Associate Professor Nicole Curato (Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra), Professor Zha Daojiong (School of International Studies, Peking University) and Dr Huong Le Thu (Australian Strategic Policy Institute) shared their knowledge of Asia-US relations during the past three and a half years of the Trump administration, focusing particularly on Philippines, China and Vietnam.  They covered economic, sociological and strategic perspectives on the impacts and future directions of the U.S.’ contemporary Asia policy.  The panel was chaired by Dr Bec Strating (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia).

The webinar can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


South China Sea and Maritime Rule-Based Order

On 15 June 2020, La Trobe Asia held its fourth online event to launch the East West Center monograph ‘Defending the maritime rules-based order: regional responses to the South China Sea disputes’ by Dr Rebecca Strating.

Gregory Poling (Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, Center for Strategic and International Studies) and Lynn Kuok (Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security, International Institute for Strategic Studies) joined Rebecca Strating  (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) to discuss the historical, legal and contemporary strategic dynamics of this vital maritime area.  The panel was chaired by Professor Nick Bisley (Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University).

The webinar can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Women and Australian International Affairs

On 3 June 2020, La Trobe Asia held its third online event to launch the latest issue of the Australian Journal of International Affairs titled ‘A critical analysis of Australian foreign, defence and strategic policy’.  This issue was the brainchild of Dr Bec Strating and Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf, both from La Trobe University, in response to the issue of women's representation and visibility in Australian International Affairs.

The event began with a keynote panel which saw Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf, (La Trobe University), Professor Sara Davies (Griffith University) and Associate Professor Sarah Percy (University of Queensland), led by Dr Bec Strating (Chair, La Trobe University) discuss how women’s representation and visibility in Australian International Affairs can be supported.

This was then followed by a mini symposium chaired by Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf (La Trobe University) where ground-breaking research of women scholars published in the Special Issue was presented.

Topic 1:
The politics of strategic narratives on regional order in the Indo-Pacific: Free, open, prosperous and inclusive?
Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta (University of New South Wales) and Dr Priya Chacko (University of Adelaide)

Topic 2:
Perceptions of terrorism in Australia: 1978 – 2019
Dr Danielle Chubb (Deakin University)

Topic 3:
The Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, gender and conflict prevention: Ties that don’t bind
Dr Chris Agius (Swinburne University) and Anu Mundkur (Flinders University)

Topic 4:
The externalization of Australian refugee policy and the costs for queer asylum seekers and refugees
Dr Jaz Dawson (The Refugee Hub, University of Ottawa)

Topic 5:
Enabling authoritarianism in the Indo-Pacific: Australian exemptionalism
Dr Bec Strating (La Trobe University)

The webinar can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


How Asia Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pandemic

On 14 May 2020, La Trobe Asia held its second webinar with panellists from around the globe.  Tanvi Madan (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute), Bill Hayton (Associate Fellow, Chatham House Asia-Pacific) and Nick Bisley (Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University) led by Dr Bec Strating (Chair and Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) provided their expert analysis of responses to the COVID-19 crisis across Asia and their thoughts about what the future might hold.  This was a rich and stimulating discussion covering a range of themes including the acceleration of shifting balance of power dynamics, China’s rising regional influence, the potential for deglobalisation and growing nationalism, and the diverse nature of governance systems across Asia.

The webinar can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.


Uyghurs for Sale

On 9 April 2020, after the release of 'Uyghurs for Sale' report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), La Trobe Asia brought together an expert panel to speak about the new phase of the so-called ‘re-education’ of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, China, and the use of forced labour in factories that appear in the supply chains of many well-known global brands.

Panel members: Associate Professor James Leibold (Head of Department - Politics, Media and Philosophy at La Trobe University), Vicky Xiuzhong Xu (Researcher, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)) and Anna Fifield (Journalist for Washington Post), led by the Chair - Dr Bec Strating (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia), presented their knowledge and analysis which was extensive and provided food for thought.

This was the first webinar presented by La Trobe Asia and can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Read the Uyghurs for Sale report, published 1 March 2020


Contest for the Indo-Pacific: Why China Won't Map the Future

On 5 March 2020, La Trobe Asia hosted a conversation with Professor Rory Medcalf from the Australian National University about his new book published by La Trobe University Press.

Penny Burtt (Group CEO of Asialink) provided an excellent introduction and analysis of the book which was followed by the conversation between Professor Medcalf and Dr Bec Strating (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia).  Rory’s book is timely as Australia seeks to define and shape its strategic neighbourhood in response to emerging challenges and shifting patterns of power and influence.

The event was held at the State Library Victoria and an audio recording is available here.


Democracy in Hong Kong: A Challenging Road Ahead

On 18 February 2020, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel discussion with Sophie McNeill (Reporter, 4 Corners, ABC), Dr Kevin Carrico (Senior lecturer, Chinese Studies, Monash University) and Yun Jiang (co-editor of China Neican). Chaired by Associate Professor James Leibold (Head of the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University), the panel discussed the dynamics of the Hong Kong protests, the prospects for the island's democracy, and likely future scenarios for relations with mainland China.

It was informative and sobering to hear from the panel on their insightful perspectives and experiences with the protests in Hong Kong.

The event was held at the State Library Victoria and an audio recording is available here.



Climate change and conflict in the Himalaya (Gangtok, Sikkim)

On 21 November 2019 La Trobe Asia collaborated with Sikkim University to hold a Sikkim launch of the La Trobe Asia Brief #3. Academics from La Trobe University presented their ideas and views of the complexities of the Himalaya region, with comments provided by Sikkim University academia and the media.

The speakers were:

  • Dr Alexander E. Davis (New Generation Network Research Fellow, Politics, La Trobe University)
  • Dr Ruth Gamble (David Myers Research Fellow, La Trobe University)
  • Dr Gerald Roche (Research Fellow, Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University)
  • Dr. K.R. Rama Mohan (Associate Professor, Head of Anthropology, Sikkim University)
  • Pema Dorjee (Consulting Editor, Summit Times)
  • Dr Uttam Lal (Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Sikkim University)

Climate change and conflict in the Himalaya (Delhi)

On 18 November 2019 La Trobe Asia collaborated with O.P. Jindal Global University to hold a Delhi launch of the La Trobe Asia Brief #3. Academics from five different universities presented their views on how to manage climate change and conflict across the Himalaya region and participated in a constructive session designed to promote collaboration between the different institutions.

The speakers were:

  • Dr Alexander E. Davis (New Generation Network Research Fellow, Politics, La Trobe University)
  • Dr Ruth Gamble (David Myers Research Fellow, La Trobe University)
  • Dr Gerald Roche (Research Fellow, Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University)
  • Dr Sonika Gupta (Chinese Studies and Global Politics, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras)
  • Dr Anwesha Dutta (Post Doctoral Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway)
  • Dr Sandesha Rayapa (Assistant Professor, Linguistic Empowerment Cell, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
  • Dr Abhijit Banerjee (Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, O.P. Jindal Global University)
  • Dr Avinash Godbole (Assistant Professor, Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities, O.P. Jindal Global University)
  • Dr Swati Chawla (Assistant Professor, Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, O.P. Jindal Global University)

Maintaining Stability in a Volatile Region: a Japanese Perspective

On 11 November 2019, La Trobe Asia in collaboration with the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne hosted a conversation with Dr Tsuruoka Michito from Keio University.  Dr Michito generously shared his wide-ranging perspectives on Japan’s concept of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and Tokyo’s relations with key countries within the macro-region, including Australia.

The event was held at the State Library Victoria and an audio recording is available here.


Climate change and conflict in the Himalaya (Melbourne)

On 23 October 2019, La Trobe Asia held the Melbourne launch of the third La Trobe Asia Brief - Melting Opportunities: Managing climate change and conflict in the Himalaya. Three of the authors - Dr Alexander Davis (La Trobe University), Dr Ruth Gamble (La Trobe University) and Dr Anwesha Dutta (Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway) - along with La Trobe Asia's Executive Director Euan Graham, spoke about the challenges facing the Himalayan region.

Too often overlooked as a borderland, the Himalaya faces an array of intersecting threats of significant potential consequence. The interplay between climate change, geopolitics and competitive development in particular threatens not just the communities in the mountains, but also those downstream and further afield.

Topics covered by the panellists included hydroelectric dam construction, tourism and militarisation, and how each of these contribute to environmental and cultural degradation in what is the world's third-largest ice store and source for the major Asian rivers that support almost half of the global population.

As with all La Trobe Briefs, the authors outlined a number of policy prescriptions in line with their diagnoses. The Brief will also be launched in New Delhi on 18 November and Gangtok, Sikkim on 21 November 2019.


The Surprising Success of Chinese Communism: The PRC at 70

On 1 October 2019 La Trobe Asia and La Trobe University's China Studies Research Centre jointly presented this panel discussion in which some of Australia's leading China experts reviewed the PRC's highs and lows, its failures and its successes, through the 27 Mao Zedong years and the 43 years since then, of Deng Xiaoping's reform-and-opening followed by Xi Jinping's New Era for "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The panel also looked ahead and asked whether the PRC may credibly contemplate a further 70 years, after overtaking in early 2024 the lifespan of its original Big Brother, the USSR. The organisers thank the panelists--Rowan Callick (author and columnist); Professor Baogang He, Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in International Relations at Deakin University; Dr Gerry Groot, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies, Department of Asian Studies, University of Adelaide; and Dr Delia Lin, Senior lecturer in Chinese Studies, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne--for presenting a very informative and comprehensive set of discussions.


What kind of planning do Indian cities need to enhance livability for all citizens?

On 12 September 2019, La Trobe Asia collaborated with the Australia India Institute to deliver a panel event which included La Trobe Asia Visiting Fellow Professor Utpal Sharma.

The panel was part of the Australia India Institute's Question Marks Seminar Series at the University of Melbourne.  Along with Dr Ravikant Joshi, the speakers shared their views about how Indian cities are implementing plans to transform themselves into ‘smart cities’, the challenges they face to ensure they are livable for all urban citizens and whether existing city plans and smart city solutions promote livability for all segments of society.  The panel was chaired by Associate Professor Haripriya Rangan.


Australian Relations with China and Japan

On 12 September 2019 La Trobe Asia hosted a panel event with the Australian Ambassador to Japan, the Hon Richard Court AC, and the Australian Ambassador to China, Graham Fletcher.

The event highlighted the current relationship Australia has with the two countries, providing a snapshot and analysis of the current situation, what opportunities and challenges might be presented and how things are likely to change in the future.

The event was held under Chatham House Rule at the La Trobe University City Campus.


An Audience with a North Korean Defector

On 4 September 2019 La Trobe Asia hosted a public event with North Korean Defector Thae Yong-Ho in collaboration with the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Thae spoke on varied topics of North Korea, ranging from his childhood to ways of life, the Kim regime, international politics and perceptions of Australia. He bought a unique perspective to the geopolitical climate of the region, which proved invaluable to an appreciative and well-attended audience.

Mr Thae was in conversation with Dr Euan Graham (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) and Dr Jay Song (Korean Studies, University of Melbourne), and introduced by Professor Andrew Rosser (Asia Institute, University of Melbourne).

An audio recording of the event can be found here.

It was held at the University of Melbourne.


Asian Smart Cities Research Innovation Network (ASCRIN) Launch

On 2 September 2019 La Trobe Asia supported the University to deliver the launch of The Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network (ASCRIN), in Delhi.  Partners -  the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) – were present at the official launch by the Vice-Chancellor along with industry and government officials and other interested people which took place at the Australian High Commission.

The aim of the large-scale initiative is to build a critical mass of resources, know-how and targeted research strength from the three universities, along with close engagement with industry and local government, to deliver impact for the sustainability, liveability and efficiency of cities across Asia.

Key themes for research and industry collaboration are around infrastructure and technology; economic development; mobility and transport; health and well-being; education; urban planning; governance and engagement; security and safety; culture and heritage; and energy, water and waste.


The Indo-Pacific and Australia's East-West Perspectives

On 22 August 2019 La Trobe Asia held a panel which explored the role of geography and how it drives the different international and strategic outlooks throughout Australia.

Professor Gordon Flake (CEO, Perth USAsia Centre, University of Western Australia), Erin Watson-Lynn (Head of Programs, Perth USAsia Centre, University of Western Australia) and  Dr Euan Graham (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) provided an invaluable analysis on perspectives from the opposite coasts of Australia, and how we define the Indo-Pacific which is critical to a cohesive national strategy of engagement.

An audio recording of the event can be found here.


The Future of the Australia-U.S. Alliance - Regional Workshop

On 20-22 August 2019 La Trobe Asia in collaboration with the Perth USAsia Centre hosted the third regional workshop on the Australia-United States Alliance. Over the three day event 17 young professionals and 13 speakers collaborated to deliver diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on the relationship between the two major powers and the future of the Indo-Pacific region.

The workshop took place at the La Trobe University City Campus in Collins St and culminated in a public panel on Australia's east-west perspectives of the Indo-Pacific.


Pakistan's Terrorism Problem

On 15 August 2019 La Trobe Asia held a panel exploring how for years, the people of Pakistan have struggled with issues of terrorism.  With the recent developments in Kashmir it was timely to hear the expert opinions of Associate Professor C.Christine Fair (Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA) and Professor Ian Hall (International Relations and Deputy Director (Research) of Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University).

The panel was chaired by Dr Euan Graham (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) and took place on our City Collins Campus.

You can listen to an audio recording of the event here.

Additionally, Christine Fair was the guest on the La Trobe Asia podcast Asia Rising, discussing the crisis in Kashmir which you may listen to here.


Australia-China Relations: Finding the Elusive Balance

Australia-China relations panel 2019On 30 July 2019 La Trobe Asia held a panel exploring the complex relationship between Australia and China.

Speakers provided a thoughtful and balanced analysis of the difficulties the two countries are facing in bilateral relations, examining issues such as trade, defence, culture, politics and values.

The event was the official launch of the second issue of the La Trobe Asia Brief, featuring five of the contributing authors as speakers:

  • Professor Nick Bisley (Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University)
  • Dr Dan Hu (Deputy Director, Australian Studies Centre, Beijing Foreign Studies University)
  • Rowan Callick (Journalist, author, advisory board member of La Trobe Asia)
  • Professor John Fitzgerald (Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology)
  • Dr Euan Graham (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University)

The event was held at the State Library of Victoria.


Can Australia Defend Itself in the Asian Century?

On 17 July 2019, La Trobe Asia held the Melbourne launch of Hugh White's new book, How to Defend Australia, at the State Library of Victoria.

Hugh White, Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU, was in conversation with Euan Graham, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia. They spoke about the premise of White's book - that American primacy and, by extension, its hitherto protection of Australia vis-à-vis the two countries alliance - should no longer be assumed as a given by Australian strategic and defence policymakers.

Topics covered in the discussion included Australia's strategic posture in the South Pacific, the benefits of maritime denial over maritime power projection, whether Australia should develop its own nuclear deterrent, and Australia's future force structure more broadly. There were some particularly engrossing exchanges when Graham played the role of provocateur and challenged some of White's prescriptions - which he defended with his trademark composure.

All in all, those who attended were treated to a thoughtful and insightful discussion about Australia's future defence policy options and its changing strategic environment. You can listen to an audio recording of the event here.

How to Defend Australia is published by La Trobe University Press.


The Thousand Tongues in the Heart of Asia: Indigenous Languages of the Himalayas

himalayan languages sydneyOn 27 June 2019, La Trobe Asia co-hosted a public panel with the University of Sydney as part of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Held in Sydney, the event focused on Indigenous languages in the Himalayas and was convened by Gerald Roche, anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Politics and Philosophy at La Trobe University. Panellists included Tsering Shakya (University of British Columbia), George van Driem (University of Bern), Charisma K Lepcha (Sikkim University), Yankee Modi (University of Sydney), Henriette Daudey (La Trobe University) and Tshering Lama O’Gorman (Australian Himalayan Foundation).

The discussion received a strong, positive response from the audience, particularly from speakers of Indigenous and minoritized languages. Following the panel, one of our guests, Tsering Shakya, was interviewed by Philip Adams on Radio National (you can listen to the interview here).The event showcased some of the great work being done at La Trobe University, which is becoming a hub for Himalayan research.


Unmaking the Himalaya: Geopolitics, Environment, Citizenship

On 26 June 2019 La Trobe Asia presented a panel of speakers who shared their expertise on the Himalaya.  Dr Gerald Roche (La Trobe University) chaired the panellists: Associate Professor Sonika Gupta (IIT Madras), Dr Ruth Gamble (La Trobe University) and Dr Alex Davis (La Trobe University) as they discussed water shortages, dams, climate change and how all these factors are altering the nature of precipitation in the Himalaya. The complexities of the contested borders were also put into context for the audience.

The panel was held at La Trobe University's Collins Street Campus.


2019 Shangri-La Dialogue (The Asian Regional Security Summit)

La Trobe Asia and the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria once again combined to deliver a presentation about the recent Shangri-La Dialogue on 13 June 2019.

Dr Euan Graham, Executive Director - La Trobe Asia spoke about his experience after attending this years iteration of Asia's premiere security summit. Topics discussed included the pervasiveness of the Sino-American rivalry, the importance of the dialogue during times of geopolitical upheaval, and the agency and role of smaller Indo-Pacific powers.

The event was held at Dyason House in East Melbourne.


RDI Conference 2019

La Trobe Asia worked with the Institute for Human Security and Social Change (IHSSC) to deliver the bi-annual Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network Conference for 2019.  The conference took place on the Bundoora campus 11-13 June 2019 and showcased a remarkable breadth of perspectives and ideas as over 300 delegates spent time exploring themes around leadership for inclusive development.

Keynote speakers included:

  • The Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa and Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment;
  • Srilatha Batliwala, Senior Advisor, Knowledge Building and Feminist Leadership with Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action (CREA);
  • Dan Honig, Assistant Professor of International Development at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies;
  • Nyadol Nyuon, lawyer, community advocate, writer, and accomplished public speaker;
  • Solli Raphael, Australian Poetry Slam champion;
  • Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Climate Warrior at 350.org;
  • Barbra Thomas, PNG Projects Coordinator supporting the PNG-Australia Governance Partnership at the IHSSC;
  • Adam Bourne, Associate Professor of Public Health, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS); and
  • Sarah Cook, Director Institute of Global Development, UNSW

and were inspiring, thought-provoking, straight talking, timely, wise, passionate and challenging.


The Wihu Singing of the Tangshang / Tangsa Naga

On 27 May 2019 La Trobe Asia in partnership with the Australia Myanmar Institute (AMI) hosted an event that explored the traditional songs of the Tangsa or Tangshang Naga communities, who live astride the Myanmar-India border. La Trobe University scholars Stephen Morey (Senior Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Linguistics - unfortunately absent due to ill health), Jürgen Schöpf (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Linguistics) and Vong Tsuh Shi (Graduate Researcher, Linguistics) detailed and discussed the linguistic diversity of the roughly 80 'sub-tribes' of the Tangsa/Tangshang, along with audio and visual examples.

The seminar was held at La Trobe University's Collins Street Campus.


Australia’s defence diplomacy in Asia: Academic adventures on board HMAS Canberra

On 23 May 2019 La Trobe Asia held a seminar where Dr Euan Graham (La Trobe Asia) and Dr Bec Strating (Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy) shared their experiences on board HMAS Canberra, as invited academic participants of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) ‘Indo-Pacific Endeavour’.

Through a selection of their photographs, they shared what they observed and learnt during their time in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, particularly regarding the soft diplomacy activities undertaken by the ADF in these endeavours.

The presentation took place on the Bundoora campus.


The State of Indonesia - A post-election panel

Indonesia election panelOn 1 May 2019 La Trobe Asia held a panel to discuss the outcome of the recent Indonesian election.

Professor Vedi Hadiz (Asian Studies at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne), Dr Jemma Purdey (Research Fellow at the Australia-Indonesia Centre, Monash University) and Dr Dirk Tomsa (Senior Lecturer in Politics at La Trobe University) provided an interesting analysis of the 2019 Indonesian election, and some thoughtful insight into what lies ahead for the sprawling island nation in the second term of President Joko Widodo.

A visiting academic delegation from Indonesia also participated in the event via remote-link from the Bendigo Campus. The event was chaired by Dr Euan Graham (Executive Director, La Trobe University) at the city campus of La Trobe University.


South Asia - Citywide

south asia citywideOn 16 April 2019, La Trobe Asia in collaboration with the Australia India Institute (AII) and the Melbourne South Asia Studies Group (MSASG) hosted an intimate post graduate/early career researcher conference in the Borchardt Library, on the Bundoora campus of La Trobe University.

Twelve PhD/ECRs from WA, ACT and VIC gave ten minute presentations about their research to their peers and observers with interest in South Asian studies.

The research topics were diverse and a copy of the program can be downloaded here [PDF244KB].


Why the 'Indo-Pacific'?

Indo-Pacific panelOn 28 March 2019 La Trobe Asia hosted a public event examining the  Indo-Pacific.

A panel including Professor Nick Bisley (Head of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University), Dr Priya Chacko (Politics and International Studies, University of Adelaide), and Abhijit Singh (former Indian naval officer and Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation) discussed what is behind the rise in prominence of this term, what actors are pushing it, whether the meaning is clear and agreed upon and has replaced the Asia-Pacific?

The panel was moderated by Dr Alexander Davis (‘New Generation Network’ postdoctoral research fellow with the Australia India Institute and La Trobe University) and was held in Partnership with the Australia India Institute at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre.


Australia's Pivot to India

Lisa SinghOn 26 March 2019 La Trobe Asia in partnership with the Australia India Institute hosted Tasmanian Senator Lisa Singh who addressed a capacity crowd at the Australia India Institute’s Barry Street headquarters.

The Senator highlighted the deep people-to-people ties between Australia and India, labelling Australia’s Indian diaspora as a ‘national asset’. She also asserted that deepening Australia’s relationship with India should be a bipartisan issue, emphasising shared interests in regional institutions and in upholding a rules-based international order.

She spoke at length about the economic opportunities available in having closer ties to India, highlighting the findings of Peter Varghese in 'An Indian Economic Strategy to 2035'.


Mining Facts in the Evolving Australia-India Relationship

india-oz-panelOn 19 March 2019 La Trobe Asia in partnership with AsiaLink hosted a panel discussion on business and trade relations between India and Australia.

Professor Ian Hall (International Relations, Griffith Asia Institute), Dr Ruth Gamble (David Myers Research Fellow, La Trobe University) and Mr Shabbir Wahid (Director at VFS Global Services) discussed the growth opportunities in Australia/India trade and the challenges and resistance these presented. The panel moderator was Ali Moore (Journalist and Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, The University of Melbourne).


The Dawn of Eurasia

Euan Graham and Bruno MacaesOn 7 March 2019, Dr Euan Graham was in conversation with Bruno Maçães who launched his book, The Dawn of Eurasia.  Bruno’s book makes an important contribution to the changing geopolitical landscape, and his long term assessment of the changes to Europe and Asia provides an interesting assessment on how the rise of China and indeed most of Asia will affect the western world. It highlights how carefully international relations need to be handled, across the Asian region.

The event was recorded and can be heard here.


Does China Pose a Threat to Australia? What Should Our China Policy Be?

On 6 March 2019, La Trobe Asia and Ideas and Society co-hosted a debate examining the threat of China, Australia's China policy, and Australia's place on the international stage regarding China the United States.

Speakers Emeritus Professor Hugh White (Strategic Studies at the Australian National University) and Professor Clive Hamilton (Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University) presented a spirited debate on the Australia/China relationship, and a thought provoking discussion on the future of the two nations.

The event was moderated by Dr Rebecca Strating (International Relations, La Trobe University) and introduced by Professor John Dewar (Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University). It was held at the State Library of Victoria.


Are We Asian Yet?

On 28 February 2019 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a panel discussion with Australian Foreign Affairs to launch Issue 5  Are We Asian Yet? History vs Geography as well as introducing a new publication Next Voices: an initiative to showcase the best new thinkers on Australian foreign affairs.

Moderator: Jonathan Pearlman editor of Australian Foreign Affairs

Panellists: David Walker, Marie-Louise O'Callaghan, Nasya Bahfen and Bec Strating.

The panellists discussed the concepts presented by the authors in the issue and was attended by academics and students in the Library on the Melbourne campus.


Historical event information

If you would like information about events which La Trobe Asia presented from 2014-2018, please email asia@latrobe.edu.au and we can share with you.