Recent activity

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 atJohn 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;
  • 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.

What's Happening to the Uyghurs in China?

Uyghur eventOn 7 December 2018 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a public panel of Uyghur rights and the re-education camps in Xinjiang, China.

Speakers Nury Turkel (Uyghur Human Rights Project), James Leibold (Associate Professor, Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University), and Louisa Greve (Uyghur Human Rights Project) spoke on issues of human rights, threats to the Uyghur culture, and China's motivation. The panel was chaired by Euan Graham (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia).

It was co-hosted with the Australia Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) Victoria, and was held at Dyson House, Melbourne.

How Kawaii invaded downtown Tokyo

tokyo fruits panelOn 1 November 2018 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a public panel on shojo fashion and kawaii culture in Tokyo, Japan. Speakers Dr Lucy Fraser (University of Queensland), Dr Emerald L. King (La Trobe University), Dr Masafumi Monden (University of Technology, Sydney) and Megan Catherine Rose (University of New South Wales) spoke on the distinctive movement and how it has grown into an expression of identity. The talk was hosted by Madman MC and cosplayer K.

It was co-hosted with The Japan Foundation, Sydney, and was held at the State Library of Victoria.

India Week at La Trobe

Together with the Australia India Institute, La Trobe Asia hosted activities as part of India Week in Melbourne.

This week was about celebrating contemporary India and offering the public a chance to explore key policy challenges and opportunities through the various India Week activities.

At the Bundoora campus of La Trobe University, La Trobe Asia hosted a day long workshop for the Next Generation Scholars (a network of post-doctoral researchers working across Australia in a coordinated effort to deliver policy-relevant analysis on contemporary India) on Wednesday 31 October 2018.

Travelling Chai was offered in the Agora on the same day, and those who came early were able to try either a samosa, pakora or chai, but due to strong interest, it all went very quickly.

Tokyo FRUiTS! Exhibition - Opening

Presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney in partnership with La Trobe Asia and the La Trobe Art Institute.

The Tokyo FRUiTS! exhibition is located in the Writer's Block Cafe within the Borchardt Library at La Trobe University (Bundoora).  The exhibition runs 12 October 2018 - 27 January 2019 (library opening hours) and the official opening of the exhibition took place in the evening of Tuesday 16 October 2018.  Those who attended had an opportunity to view the images without distraction and hear speeches from Mr Shota Tohara, Vice-Consul on behalf the Consul General of Japan in Melbourne, Dr Emerald King, Lecturer in Japanese, and incoming Executive Director of La Trobe Asia, Dr Euan Graham.   Guests which included students, staff and members of the public also enjoyed the refreshments provided.

Australian Launch of AIDRAN

On 11 October 2018, La Trobe Asia and the La Trobe Law School launched the Australian-Indonesian Disability Research and Advocacy Network (AIDRAN) in the City Collins campus.

We heard from a number of speakers:

  • Professor Patrick Keyzer, Head of the Law School
  • Spica A Tutuhatunewa, Consul General for the Republic of Indonesia in Melbourne
  • Professor Simon Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce
  • Hien Tran, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Victorian State Office
  • Slamet Thohari, Secretary Centre of Disability Studies and Services/CDSS, Lecturer of Sociology Department and co-founder of AIDRAN
  • Dr Dina Afrianty, co-founder of AIDRAN and Research Fellow La Trobe Law School

They spoke with passion and eloquence about the establishment of this network and what it hopes to achieve through collaboration between academics, government and disability activists in both countries to ensure disability and social inclusion remains a priority for all.  International guests, academics from Universitas Brawijaya, Indonesia were also in attendance as well as supporters of the network from interstate.

For more information about the network please visit:

If you wish to contact AIDRAN you may do so via their email:

Australia and China in the Pacific

asiapacific-panelOn 20 September 2018 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a colloquium and forum on Australia and China's relationship with Pacific Island nations.

The half-day colloquium bought together scholars and practitioners from diverse backgrounds, offering six presentations exploring the opportunities and tensions between Australia, China and the Pacific.

The evening forum provided an engaging and illuminating contribution to the public discourse of Australia's relationship with the South Pacific, and China's presence and activity in the area. Speakers were John Brumby (Former Premier of Victoria, currently President of the Australia China Business Council, and incoming Chancellor of La Trobe University) and Ms Makereta Komai (Manager/Editor, Pacific Islands News Association). The event was chaired by Professor Nick Bisley (Head of School of Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University).

It was co-hosted by La Trobe University’s Pacific Research Community and the China Studies Research Centre, and was held at the City Campus of La Trobe University.

Cooperation in contested Asia (policy brief launch)

Policy launchOn 7 September 2018 La Trobe Asia launched its first policy brief Cooperation in Contested Asia: How Japan and Australia can shape the region's changing security dynamic.

The policy brief comes at a timely moment for Australia, with a new government in place, and a potentially fresh approach to regional security, and our relationship with Japan.

Speakers Professor Nick Bisley (Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University) Dr Rebecca Strating (Lecturer in Politics, La Trobe University) presented a compelling argument for a firmer partnership with like-minded countries and the benefit it can have to the ‘rules-based-order’. The conversation was hosted by Daniel Flitton (Managing Editor, The Interpreter Lowy Institute).

The event was held at the City Campus of La Trobe University.

Maria Elander book launchFiguring Victims in International Criminal Justice: The case of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

On 29 August 2018 La Trobe Asia hosted a launch for 'Figuring Victims in International Criminal Justice: The case of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal', a new book by Dr Maria Elander (La Trobe University Law School) published by Routledge.

Maria was asked a series of questions by Professor Gerry Simpson, Chair in Public International Law at the London School of Economics which provided more detail about her research into international criminal justice and how victims are represented in these processes.

The event was held at La Trobe's City Collins Campus.

Brendan Taylor and Nick BisleyHow Asia Goes to War

On 22 August 2018 La Trobe Asia hosted a launch for 'The Four Flashpoints: How Asia Goes to War', a new book by Associate Professor Brendan Taylor (Strategic Studies Defense Centre, Australian National University), published by La Trobe University Press.

Brendan was in conversation with Professor Nick Bisley (Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University) and gave an insightful analysis of the current geopolitical climate of Asia, how the region shouldn't be complacent with the current peace, and the concessions that may be necessary to avoid conflict in the future.

It was held at the State Library of Victoria.

North Korea refugee eventRefugee Crisis: Human Rights and North Korea

On 8 August 2018 La Trobe Asia hosted a public event on North Korean human rights and refugee issues. It featured speakers Hyeonseo Lee (North Korean refugee, Author of The Girl with Seven Names), Dr Danielle Chubb (Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Deakin University), Dr Jay Song (Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies, University of Melbourne) and was chaired by Dr Rebecca Strating (Lecturer in Politics, La Trobe University).

The speakers provided an interesting and provoking narrative of the experiences of North Korean refugees, and the challenges they face not only in escaping the country, but accessing safety and services.

It was held at the State Library of Victoria, and supported in part by the 2018 Bendigo Writer's Festival.

Himalaya Research Day

On 20 July 2018 La Trobe Asia hosted a day where academics, students and those with an interest across all disciplines came together to learn of the research that is being undertaken by La Trobe academics in the Himalaya region.  Key themes were discussed including the changing landscape of the Himalaya in the face of development and climate change, and the implications for Australia’s relationship with key political players in the region including India and China.  Invited academics provided high level summaries of their work in an effort to create knowledge, facilitate interdisciplinary connections and potential collaborations.

Fallout: North Korea, Nuclear Weapons and Indo-Pacific Security

On 20 June 2018 La Trobe Asia hosted a public event to launch the book When Proliferation causes Peace: The Psychology of Nuclear Crises by Michael Cohen.

Michael Cohen (National Security College, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific) provided an insightful analysis of the recent Trump/Kim summit in Singapore, as well as the possible future of the Korean peninsula and the historical context of nuclear tensions.

It was held at the city campus of La Trobe University.

Waste of a Nation: Garbage and Growth in India

On 31 May 2018 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a public event to launch the book Waste of a Nation: Garbage and Growth in India by Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey.

Assa Doron (College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University), Robin Jeffrey (La Trobe University) and Dolly Kikon (University of Melbourne) provided an interesting analysis of the impact and issues surrounding waste and garbage in India, the sociological aspects of the dilemma, and the challenges facing the government in delivering a successful Swachh Bharat. The event was chaired by Sally Warhaft.

It was co-hosted by the Australian India Institute and was held at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne.

Superbugs and Slow Violence in India

On 31 May 2018 La Trobe Asia hosted a seminar presented by Dr Assa Doron at the La Trobe University Bundoora campus.

Assa Doron (College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University) provided a concerning overview of the problems involving medicine production and effectiveness, and the operation and distribution of the pharmaceutical industry in India.

Australian journalists and Myanmar

On 30 April 2018 La Trobe Asia and the Australia Myanmar Institute (AMI) co-hosted to present a panel on the challenges journalists face in Myanmar at the La Trobe University City Collins Campus.

Journalists Michael Sainsbury and Mark Baker shared their recent and historical experiences with the audience. Dr Ivo Burum from La Trobe moderated the panel and was also able to contribute his own experiences in the region. The discussion that followed the presentations was illuminating as the audience asked many questions which shone a light on the work they have done, the people they have met and the difficulties they faced.

The event was recorded and is available on the AMI website and Facebook.

Is Australia's China narrative sensationalist and short-sighted?

On 11 April 2018 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a debate on Australia's motivation, attitude and interactions with China at the La Trobe University City Collins Campus.

Those in attendance enjoyed a vigorous debate on the question 'Is Australia’s China narrative sensationalist and short sighted?'

We thank the debaters: Allan Gyngell (National President, Australian Institute of International Affairs), Martine Letts (CEO, Committee for Melbourne), Philip Le Liu (Councillor, City of Melbourne) and Ellen Egan (Senior Policy Officer, Australian Government Department of Human Services) and moderator, James Scullin (Project Manager, Australia China Business Council) for giving up their time to participate and for agreeing to play a role (one which they may not necessarily personally subscribe to).

Following the debate, there was an opportunity for all present to network over some drinks and canapés.

The event was co-hosted in partnership with China Matters as the Fourth China Matters Young Professional Debate.

Julie BishopAustralian Foreign Policy in a contested Indo-Pacific Region

On 11 April 2018 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a public event on Australia's position amongst the great power rivalry, rising illiberalism, and growing nationalism of the Indo-Pacific region.

The Hon Julie Bishop MP (Foreign Minister of Australia) gave an address which was followed by a panel conversation with Professor Nick Bisley (Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University), Tony Walker (Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, La Trobe University), and Dr Rebecca Strating (Lecturer in International Relations, Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University).

The Minister’s speech and the discussion that followed highlighted key themes of the White Paper: an optimism about the future; a recognition of the risks entailed by the way economic prosperity is changing the region’s status quo; and, of course, an active embrace of the Indo-Pacific construct as the country’s principal strategic point of reference.

The event was co-hosted by the Ideas and Society Program of La Trobe University and was held at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne.

The event was recorded and can be viewed here.

Ageing Asia: Trends, Implications and Policy Directions

On 21 March 2018 La Trobe Asia co-hosted a public event on the implications of an ageing society in Asia at the City Campus of La Trobe University.

Professor Thomas Klassen (School of Public Policy and Administration, York University, Canada) spoke about overall trends associated with population ageing, and the implications that extend across most nations in Asia.

An analysis of the expansion of the welfare state for older people across the region was also explored in relation to the tensions between state and family, and between younger and older generations.

He also delivered the 2018 John Richards Oration in Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga.

The event was co-hosted with the John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research. It was broadcast on ABC Radio National program Big Ideas.

Nobu and NickJapan's approach to a changing world

On 28 February 2018 La Trobe Asia hosted a public event on Japanese politics and international relations at the State Library of Victoria.

Associate Professor Nobuhiro Aizawa (Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies, Kyushu University)  was in conversation with Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) on the regional context of Asia, Japan's relationship with China and the United States, and international trade.

On 1 March 2018 Nobuhiro Aizawa delivered a seminar on Japan's relationship with South-East Asia at the Melbourne-Bundoora Campus of La Trobe University.

The events were supported by the Consulate General of Japan in Melbourne. It was broadcast on ABC Radio National program Big Ideas.

Listen to the event recording

Nick Bisley and Nicole CuratoReading Duterte's Reign

On 30 November 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted the Melbourne launch of The Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency, edited by Dr Nicole Curato at a lunchtime event in the Collins Street campus of La Trobe University.

Nicole provided an interesting critique of what has been a controversial inaugural year in the Philippines under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.

Listen to the event recording

2017 Dragon Tails: Hopes, Dreams and Realities, the 5th Chinese-Australasian conference on History and Heritage

On 23-26 November 2017 the 2017 Dragon Tails: Hopes, Dreams and Realities, the 5th Chinese-Australasia conference on History and Heritage took place in Bendigo.

Convened by Dr Grace Gassin, Dr Nadia Rhook, and Museum Research Officer Leigh McKinning, the conference was held amongst the rich collections and colour of the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo.  Papers ranges from academic and family histories, to questions of memory and representation in art and curatorial practice, and the politics of public heritage exhibitions, with a keynote from Professor Madeline Hsu, University of Texas (pictured).  A pre-conference tour of goldfields, Chinese history and tours of the Museum were also highlights.

Dragon Tails was supported by La Trobe Asia, the University of Melbourne Asia Institute and the Golden Dragon Museum.  Participants and organisers alike enjoyed an inspiring, moving and successful conference.

China-Australia forumChina-Australia relations: affluence, influence and power

On 21 November 2017 the second annual Australia-China Forum was held in Shanghai as a partnership with East China Normal University (ECNU). Speakers from both ECNU and La Trobe presented thoughtful papers examining the interactions between China and Australia, and the key challenges and opportunities confronting the bilateral relationship.

The speakers were:
Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University)
Professor Chen Hong (Australian Studies Centre, East China Normal University)
Professor Hou Minyue (Australian Studies Centre, East China Normal University)
Associate Professor James Leibold (Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University)

The panel prompted public debate and discussion with three primary pieces of media:

Listen to the event recording

The Changing World Order: Gareth Evans on Australia and the rise of China

On 15 November 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted Gareth Evans in conversation with Professor Nick Bisley on international politics and the changing world order.  Gareth shared a thoughtful perspective on international relations under the Hawke and Keating governments, as well as the formative years of APEC. His experiences during a long and distinguished career gave an enlightening insider's view to the Australian political scene.

The event was held at the State Library of Victoria and following the event, Gareth signed copies of his recently published book - Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir.

Listen to the event recording

Kevin Rudd on China's Rise and a New World Order

On 26 October 2017 La Trobe Asia worked with the Ideas and Society program to present Kevin Rudd and Linda Jakobson in discussion on China.  Professor Nick Bisley chaired the discussion. The event was held at the Sofitel in the Grand Ballroom and more than 490 people were in attendance.

Both Kevin and Linda grappled with the complex challenges presented by the world’s most populous country becoming its most prosperous.  A more confident China is remaking the world with profound consequences for Australia.  They discussed both large scale issues as well as some interesting reflections on the newly installed leadership of the Communist Party revealed at the recent 19th National Party Congress.  Indeed, as they both discussed, the country needs a much greater depth of knowledge about the People’s Republic, a key focus of our work here at La Trobe University.

The event was recorded and can be viewed here

Kevin Rudd on China's rise and a new world order transcript [DOC 124KB]

Hindi Workshop

On 24 October 2017, La Trobe University hosted the Hindi Workshop as part of the India Week in Melbourne, organised by the Australia India Institute.  Several themes emerged over the course of the day forming a strong case for the importance of Hindi language in Australia, and for the India-Australia relationship.  The first panel focused on the theme of community.  The speakers demonstrated the enduring importance of Hindi in creating and nurturing community bonds within Australia.  During the second panel on creativity, exploration of Hindi literary activity within Australia was framed by a fascinating discussion of the role of translation. Judith Graley, Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Education, joined for a roundtable after lunch.  Judith brought some key points from the developing India White Paper to the attention of everyone and invited participants to share their thoughts regarding the place of Indian language education within Australia, and shared her view that language education—particularly at the primary school level—should feature in the India White Paper.  The final session concluded the day with performances and recitations from workshop attendees.  We were please to host guests from India, Aditi Maheshwari, Varun Grover, and Mrinal Pande, who enriched the proceedings with their insights and expertise as well as others from across Australia.

Age-friendliness and liveablility in Victoria

La Trobe Asia supported the John Richards Initiative to present this breakfast workshop at Rydges Melbourne on 12 October 2017.  The workshop was sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria - East Division.  Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians and Ambassador for Elder Abuse Prevention provided the opening address and then chaired the remainder of the workshop with presentations from Dr Kathleen Brasher and Dr Rachel Winterton.  Over 70 people attended the early morning breakfast.

3rd Annual International Symposium on Ageing and Old-Age in Asia-Pacific

La Trobe Asia supported the John Richards Initiative to present this symposium at Rydges Melbourne on 11-12 October 2017.

Over 70 people attended over the two days hearing a variety of keynote, plenary and oral presentations from across disciplines and countries about ageing in the region.  There were also some poster and workshop presentations.

Preparations for the 4th symposium taking place in Korea in 2018 are already underway.

East Asia’s Changing Security Order Expert’s Workshop

On 28-29 September 2017 La Trobe Asia and Kyushu University hosted an expert's workshop examining the challenges confronting Asia’s security order. "Understanding East Asia's Contested Security Order" received grant funding from the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  The workshop brought together established and emerging scholars from Japan, Australia, Southeast Asia, Korea and China. Workshop participants presented papers examining competing conceptions of regional security order, differing national perspectives including those Australia, China, Japan, as well as some of the region’s smaller states, and the role played by institutions, rules and norms. While discussion focused on many of the significant challenges faced by the region some constructive ideas were developed as to the ways in which states and institutions can work to mitigate some of the risks created by increasing great power rivalry. The ideas generated by the workshop will contribute to a short policy paper, a special issue of a scholarly journal as well as several policy focused essays.

China panelChina’s Influence: Propaganda, Persuasion, and Soft Power in Australia

On 19 September 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted a panel on the topic of Chinese influence in Australia. The speakers were:

  • Associate Professor James Leibold (Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University)
  • Louisa Lim (Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne)
  • Professor Bates Gill (ANU College of Asia and the Pacific)

The speakers provided thoughtful insight into Australia’s challenges and vulnerabilities when it comes to accepting or inviting investment from China, particularly in political and educational areas, and the important distinction between embracing Chinese culture and the agenda of the Chinese Communist Party. It was followed by an enthusiastic discussion with the audience.

The event was held at the State Library of Victoria.

Listen to the event recording

The Relentless Invention of Modern IndiaThe Relentless Invention of Modern India

On 12 September 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted a conversation with Adam Roberts, journalist for The Economist, at the Melbourne launch of his new book Superfast Primetime Ultimate Nation: The Relentless Invention of Modern India.

Adam provided thoughtful analysis of India’s progress, the challenges it faces as well some telling insights into the character of prime minister Narendra Modi, and I can attest that his book provides all this and more. There was also an engaging and vibrant discussion with the audience, making for an engaging session.

The event was held in partnership with Griffith Asia Institute at the State Library of Victoria.

Listen to the event recording

Ed VickersRethinking Education in China

On 28 August 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted a guest lecture by Professor Ed Vickers (Comparative Education at Kyushu University) on education in China.

Ed talked about the excellent results that China has had while assessing their education system, and presents the context for it. He also spoke of the problems it presented in encouraging social stratification in China.

The event was co-hosted by the China Studies Research Centre of La Trobe University and was held at the Bundoora Campus. It was recorded for later broadcast on ABC RN Big Ideas.

Listen to the event recording

Nicole CuratoDuterte's Ambition: A Challenging Future for the Philippines

On 16 August 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted a guest lecture by Dr Nicole Curato (ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow in the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra).

Nicole talked about the Philippines in the past year under Rodrigo Duterte's presidency, with particular focus on the bloody war on drugs and the internal conflict with the Islamic State.

The event was co-hosted by the Philippines Australia Studies Centre and was held at the La Trobe University city campus.

Listen to the event recording

Murray McLean and Nick BisleyJapan Faces an Uncertain Asia: Abe's Bold Vision for the Future

On 2 August 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted a discussion between Murray McLean (former ambassador to Japan, 2004-2011) and Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia).

Murray shared his thoughts of the current political developments in Japan, its precarious relationship with close Asian neighbours, and what the future may bring.

The conversation was attended by a large audience at the La Trobe University city campus.

Listen to the event recording

Richard McGregor and Nick BisleyAsia's Reckoning: China, Japan, the U.S., and Global Power

On 1 August 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted a seminar featuring Richard McGregor, a journalist and author of new book Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, the U.S., and Global Power.

Richard McGregor shared an overview of his book focusing on the international relations between Japan and China since World War II.

The event was introduced by Professor Nick Bisley, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia.

Listen to the event recording

Nick Bisley and Andrew CarrPublication launch - 'Integrated Asia' issue of 'Centre of Gravity'

On 20 June 2017 La Trobe Asia hosted the launch of Integrated Asia: Australia’s Dangerous New Strategic Geography, the new issue of the ‘Centre of Gravity’ series published by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU.

Issue author Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) was interviewed by series editor Dr Andrew Carr (Senior Lecturer, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University) about changing strategic geography in Asia.

Listen to the event recording

Cultural neuroscience masterclasses

On 9 June 2017, Professor HAN Shihui, Department of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences - Peking University, presented two masterclasses as part of his month-long visit to La Trobe University as one of five La Trobe Asia Visiting Fellows for 2017.

Understanding of the self: Cultural neuroscience approach - Masterclass 1

Reflection on one's own attributes is an important feature of human mental processes.  While previous brain imaging studies revealed the neural correlates of self-reflection, recent research has shown that the brain activity underlying self-reflection is modulated by individuals' cultural experiences and genetic makeup.  Professor Han presented his recent work in this area and the implications of these findings in relation with mental health.

Cultural neuroscience studies of racial ingroup bias in empathy - Masterclass 2

Humans empathize with others, but not equally - WHY?  Professor Han presented research which revealed neural, cognitive, genetic and environmental mechanisms underlying greater empathy for racial ingroup compared to outgroup members' physical pain.  His finding have novel implications for understanding ingroup favouritism in social behaviour.

Religious influences on behavioural and brain response to mortality threats

On 31 May 2017, Professor HAN Shihui, Department of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences - Peking University, presented a public lecture as part of his month-long visit to La Trobe University as one of five La Trobe Asia Visiting Fellows for 2017.

He presented his recent research that shows behavioural evidence that religious beliefs of the world's major religions reduce behavioural tendencies to avoid mortality threats in Christians, Muslims and Hindus.  Brain imaging findings reveal neuroscience evidence that religious beliefs result in decreased brain activity in response to oneself under mortality threats and he discussed how these findings help us understand the psychological and social function of religion and religious influences on social behaviour.

China's War on the Past: History in the People's Republic of Amnesia

On 25 May 2017, Louisa Lim, Senior Lecturer of Audio-Visual Journalism at the University of Melbourne, and an award-winning journalist who reported from China for a decade for the NPR and BBC, presented on China's battle to control historical memory, its ability to rewrite history and costs required to achieve this.

The event was introduced by Professor Nick Bisley, executive director of La Trobe Asia.

Cut the Tag - The Hon. Paul Keating on Australia’s role in Asia in the Trump era

La Trobe Asia worked with the Ideas and Society program to present Paul Keating in conversation with Nick Bisley and Allan Gyngell.  The event was held in the Melbourne Recital Hall and was extremely well attended.  The event was opened by Chancellor Profession Richard Larkins and introduced by Associate Professor Clare Wright.

The conversation was both enlightening and thought-provoking on the region’s changing dynamics and Australia’s place in the world. Many were particularly struck by Paul Keating’s rendition of Billy Joel’s ‘Allentown’.

The event was recorded and can be viewed here.

Book Launch - Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World since 1942

On 5 April 2017 the book Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World since 1942 (published by La Trobe University Press) was launched at the La Trobe University city campus.

Allan Gyngell was interviewed in front of an audience by Daniel Flitton, senior correspondent for The Age, sharing his thoughts on Australian foreign policy and reflecting on the challenges ahead, particularly Australia's position with China as American allies.

The event was introduced by Professor Nick Bisley, executive director of La Trobe Asia.

Listen to the event recording

Book Launch - China Matters: Getting It Right For Australia

On 30 March 2017, the book China Matters: Getting It Right For Australia by Bates Gill and Linda Jakobson was launched by the Hon. Peter Costello AC at the State Library of Victoria.

The Hon. Peter Costello AC gave a short keynote address which provided a very interesting perspective on the links between Australia and China, a country he reminded us is ‘not like us’.

Download the transcript [PDF 221KB]

The discussion between the authors Linda Jakobson, Bates Gill, and Arthur Kroeber was moderated by Jim Middleton and explored the various strategic, economic and foreign policy dimensions of the Australia China relationship. It also highlighted what Australia needs to think about in the coming years in their relationship to China.

Listen to the event recording

1MDB: Malaysia's financial scandal - a tangled web of politics, economics and war

On 29 March 2017, Dr Kerstin Steiner presented a seminar about Malaysia's long running 1MDB scandal.   Kerstin explained the complexities of the scandal, its international dimensions and anticipated how it might play out.  The extensive debate during the time devoted to questions, illustrated the level of engagement with the ideas and breadth of opinion relating to the scandal.

Ben Habib presentingWill China lead the world in global climate politics?

On 24 March 2017 a mixed audience of academics, students, staff and externals attended the first La Trobe Asia seminar for the year, in which Dr Benjamin Habib presented on China's position in global climate politics.

In 2005 China was home to 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, but today it is the world’s leading producer of renewable energy sources. It has the largest capacity solar, wind and hydro plants in the world, accounting for one-third of installed wind power, and one-fifth of installed solar.  It is now poised to step into a leadership role in global climate politics, and is well placed to be the dominant player in the post-carbon international economy.

Listen to the seminar

Overseas Opportunities Showcase

On 7 March 2017 La Trobe Asia and La Trobe Abroad presented a panel of speakers sharing their overseas study experiences.  This event was held to give new students and their parents an understanding about how studying part of their degree overseas can make a difference.  Attendees were able to hear from current and past students including one from South Korea and another from Singapore as well as staff.  A lucky door prize of a return flight to Asia was offered to those able to attend, and we are pleased to announce that Oliver de Rohan (planning to study in China) was the winner!  We look forward to hearing his stories when he returns.

We would like to thank the following people for participating in the presentation:

  • Rebecca (from Singapore)
  • Rowan (from South Korea)
  • Charlotte
  • James
  • Chelsea
  • Steve
  • Timothy
  • Dr Keir Strickland (academic and chair of the panel)
  • Harshini Egorov (La Trobe Abroad)
  • Kim Siemensma (La Trobe Abroad), and
  • Mirai from Asia Options

Brooke Wilmsen presentingResearch in China seminar

On 23 November 2016 La Trobe Asia presented a 'Focus on China Research' seminar, showcasing three La Trobe University research projects exploring issues in China.

China’s Soft Power Deficit
Speaker: Associate Professor James Leibold (Politics, Media and Philosophy, La Trobe University)

China is the world's most important rising power and its presence is now felt on every continent – and even in outer space. Yet how much influence does China wield at present? In this talk James explored the nature and limits of Chinese soft power in the West.

After the Deluge: The longer-term impacts of the Three Gorges Dam on livelihoods
Speaker: Dr Brooke Wilmsen (Social Inquiry, La Trobe University)

In 2015 the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China officially ended. For more than two decades, the 1.13 million people it displaced have been rebuilding their livelihoods. To assist, the Chinese government used policy and incentives to stimulate the local economy. Whether the resettlers benefited from such initiatives is not yet understood. This paper offers the first longitudinal analysis of the resettlers' livelihoods. Changes in income, food security and wellbeing are analysed across three periods. It finds that after resettlement, resettlers were struggling to meet basic needs; but eight years later, the gains are substantial.

Chinese Philosophy and Chinese Nationalism
Speaker: Professor John Makeham (Director, China Studies Research Centre)
This talk examined some of the connections between Chinese philosophy and Chinese nationalism and the implications of this connection both for philosophy and for China's role evolving role as a global citizen.

Jason Jiang speaking at seminarHealth in Asia seminar

On 11 November 2016 La Trobe Asia presented a 'Science in Asia' research seminar, showcasing three La Trobe University research projects exploring science themes in the Asian region.

Lifestyle, Diet and General Health in the Nilgiris Tribal Population of Southern India
Speaker: Dr Jency Thomas
(Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology, La Trobe University)
In the last few decades South Asia has experienced a rapid economic transition paralleled by an epidemiological shift in disease patterns. The tribal population of the Nilgiri Hills of Southn India has a low rate of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other metabolic disorders. This presentation is a qualitative study of current state of lifestyle, diet and general health in this traditional tribal population compared to the urban population of Niligiri district in southern India.

Youth drinking in Asian countries
Dr Heng (Jason) Jiang
(Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University)
Harmful use of alcohol has received increasing attention in Asian countries in the last two decades, particularly among young people due to their biological and psychological vulnerability. About or more than 20% of total deaths among men and over 10% of total death among women aged 15-24 years were attributable to alcohol use in a number of selected Asian countries in 2013. This study reviews youth drinking status and patterns, alcohol-related harm and alcohol control policies in Asian countries. It provides substantial policy implications for harm reduction on youth drinking in Asian countries, especially for China with almost no alcohol control policies compared with other countries.

Knowledge and needs of midwives in responding to violence against women in Timor-Leste
Speaker: Professor Angela Taft
(Director, Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University)
In Timor-Leste around half the women of reproductive age experienced physical or sexual violence in the past 12 months. As front-line health providers for women across the country, midwives are a key access point in rural and remote areas. Interviews with 48 midwives and community leaders reveals the importance of a ‘whole health centre’ approach which supports leadership to remove barriers to implementation and links health services with wider social change processes.

Chinals rise panelHow to respond to China's rise?

A public panel was held on 3 November 2016 examining the rise of China, how it will affect the balance of power in the world, and how America should respond. It was co-presented by the Ideas and Society Program in collaboration with La Trobe Asia at the State Library of Victoria.

Hugh White (Professor of Strategic Studies, Australian National University)
Linda Jakobson (Founding Director of China Matters)
John Fitzgerald (President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities)

CHAIR: Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia)

The panel was well attended, and the lively talks and subsequent discussion presented thoughtful and conflicting views on China's rise and what the reaction might be, both by America and other global players. Activity in the South China Seas and China's historical claims to territories were also discussed.

Science in Asia seminarScience in Asia seminar

On 3 November 2016 La Trobe Asia presented a 'Science in Asia' research seminar, showcasing three La Trobe University research projects exploring science themes in the Asian region.

Early identification of autism in China
Speaker: Professor Cheryl Dissanayake (Director, Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University)
Researchers from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre have been working closely with partners  at Nankai University to educate health professionals in Tianjin, China, in a new diagnostic assessment methodology. Chinese health authorities have shown great enthusiasm for this, and they have now trained more than 600 medical professionals to identify risk signs of Autism in children between the ages of 12-24 months using Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS), developed at La Trobe University by Dr Josephine Barbaro.

Motion signalling by Chinese Phrynocephalus lizards
Speakers: Dr Richard Peters (Zoology, La Trobe University) and Dr Qi Yin (Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
China has a fascinating diversity of reptiles and amphibians (herpetofauna), yet knowledge of their behaviour is very limited. The Animal Behaviour Group at La Trobe University were invited to participate in a project targeting the genus Phrynocephalus, which contains nearly 40 lizard species that are well-known locally for their signalling behaviour. Dr Qi Yin and Dr Richard Peters outlined the recording, measurement and analysis of complex motion-based signals, and relayed personal experiences of working in China.

Is high self esteem important in Asia?
Speaker: Assoc. Professor Emiko Kashima (Department of Psychology and Counselling, La Trobe University)
Research has shown that East Asians tend to be more self-effacing relative to Australians and North Americans, and some even claim that high self-esteem is non-essential for individuals to be well-adjusted in East-Asian cultures. Contrary to this view, recent fMRI studies conducted in Japan have shown that self-esteem plays an important role when Japanese people cope with a psychological threat by facilitating the connectivity between different brain regions.

Australia-China panelAustralia-China relations panel

La Trobe University and East China Normal University held the inaugural 'China-Australia relations' panel on 11 September 2016, exploring important issues in the significant partnership between the two countries.

Speakers Professor Hou Minyue (Head of the Department of English at East China Normal University), Dr Geoff Raby (Chairman & CEO Geoff Raby & Associates, Former Australian Ambassador to China), and Lisa Murray (China Correspondent for the Australian Financial Review) talked about the changing political landscape, cultural values, and economic concerns that China and Australia have with each other, and the likely influence from global changes and pressures.

The event was well attended by La Trobe University alumni, East China Normal University students,  and other members of the local Shanghai community. It was chaired by Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia) and Professor Chen Hong (East China Normal University), and introduced by Professor John Dewar (Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University).

Listen to the lecture

india panelCan India Realise its Potential?

On 30 August 2016 La Trobe Asia and the Australian India Institute hosted a panel event with three speakers presenting perspectives on India's future and development.

Professor Ian Hall (Government and International Relations, Griffith University) spoke about India's territorial history and disputes.
Dr Yamini Narayanan (Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University) spoke about city development and urbanisation.
Dr Ian Woolford (Hindi Studies, La Trobe University) spoke about Hindi and the uses of poetry.

The event was chaired by Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) and was held at the State Library of Victoria. This panel was the third event in a series titled Asia: The Next Chapter.

Listen to the lecture

philippines-panelThe Philippines' Future

On 15 July 2016 La Trobe Asia and Philippines Australia Studies Centre hosted an event with three panelists presenting an informative and thoughtful analysis on the future of the Philippines and Duterte's brand of leadership.

Dr Nicole Curato (Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra) gave an overview of Duterte's election campaign, his leadership style and what he will bring to domestic politics.
Lemuel Lopez (Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne) looked at the law under Duterte particularly when addressing the Philippines' drug problems.
Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University) gave a view on Duterte's international agenda.

The event was chaired by Dr Trevor Hogan (Director, Philippines Australia Studies Centre, La Trobe University) and was  held at the City Campus of La Trobe University.

This panel was the second event in a series titled Asia: The Next Chapter.

Listen to the lecture

Indonesia panelIndonesia at the Crossroads

On 7 July 2016 La Trobe Asia hosted an event with three panellists presenting a thought-provoking and stimulating perspective on the future of Indonesia under the leadership of President Joko Widodo

Dr Dirk Tomsa (Senior Lecturer, La Trobe University) spoke on domestic politics and the governer election in Jakarta in 2017.
Dr Ian Hall (Senior Research Fellow, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne) spoke on international relations with neighbouring countries.
Dr Bec Strating (Lecturer, La Trobe University) spoke about Australia's relationship with Indonesia and the difficulties experienced.

The event was chaired by Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia) and attended by approximately 60 people. It was held at the City Campus of La Trobe University.

This panel was the first event in a series titled Asia: The Next Chapter.

Listen to the lecture

China in an Unstable World

On 4 April 2016 La Trobe Asia co-hosted an event in which three eminent Chinese scholars delivered some very illuminating perspectives on how China perceives the world.

Professor Wang Jisi (Peking University) spoke on China and international order and China’s different images and the different understandings of the nation.
Professor Yan Xuetong (Tsinghua University) focused on the China government’s concept of ‘one-belt, one-road’ and its implications.
Professor Jia Qingguo (Peking University) explored China’s perception of the United States politics and the current candidates for the presidency.

They also fielded some constructive and intelligent questions from the audience, examining amongst other issues China’s position on the South China Seas, its approach and experience with terrorism and extremism, and Xi Jinping’s impact on the growth of China.

It was chaired by Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia), introduced by Professor Gary Smith (Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), Deakin University) with closing remarks by Dr Chengxin Pan (International Relations, Deakin University).

The event was co-hosted by Deakin University, and the Foundation for Australian Studies in China. It was attended by approximately 140 people and was held in the State Library of Victoria.

Listen to the lecture

China-Australia Roundtable

On 4 April 2016 La Trobe Asia collaborated with Deakin University and the Foundation for Australian Studies in China to facilitate a discussion with three prominent International Relations experts from Beijing.

Professor Wang Jisi (Peking University), Professor Yan Xuetong (Tsinghua University) and Professor Jia Qingguo (Peking University) discussed Australia and China's political relationship with a group of twenty Australian academics, media and government bureaucrats.

Anthopology book launch

On 1 April 2016 La Trobe Asia hosted the launch of two books written by La Trobe University anthropologists.

Dr Nicholas Herriman's book, Witch-Hunt and Conspiracy: The ‘Ninja Case’ in East Java, is published by Monash University publishing and was launched by Associate Professor Zane Goebel from the Centre for Research on Linguistic Diversity at La Trobe University.

Monika Winarnita's book, Dancing the Feminine: Gender & Identity Performances by Indonesian Migrant Women, is published by Sussex Academic Press and was launched by Dr Ken Setiawan from the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne.

Visit by delegation from Chongqing University, China

On 31 March 2016 La Trobe Asia hosted a visiting delegation from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences at Chongqing University, China.

Visitors Associate Professor Yao Fei, Li Fangchun, Dr Peng Xiadong, Professor Li Dong, and Xia Lulu met with La Trobe University administration and academics. There is an intention to hold a research colloquium later in the year to introduce academics from each institution and facilitate opportunity for research.

The delegation also met with library staff to discuss the sharing of resources, and La Trobe International staff to discuss recruitment and mobility.

2nd La Trobe Asia Advisory Board Meeting

On 18 March 2016 La Trobe Asia held its second advisory board meeting. In attendence to discuss strategy for La Trobe Asia was:

  • Professor John Dewar (Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University)(chair)
  • Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia)
  • Emeritus Professor Robin Jeffrey (Politics, La Trobe University)
  • Professor Paul Yip (Director, Centre Suicide Research and Prevention, University of Hong Kong)
  • Professor Khatijah Yusoff (Dean of Biotechnology & Molecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia)
  • Steven Foo (Head of Asia Business Development in Australia Post Parcels Services)

2016 Nancy Millis lecture in Microbiology

On 17 March 2016 La Trobe Asia co-hosted the 2016 Nancy Millis lecture in Microbiology, delivered by Professor Khatijah Yusoff, Dean of Biotechnology & Molecular Sciences at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Professor Yusoff is an alumnus of La Trobe University, and a recipient of the distinguished alumni award.

Her presentation focused on her research investigating the application of viruses in combating cancer. Such a development could open up new possibilities for making cancer treatments accessible and affordable – of particular concern in developing countries such as Malaysia, where it has become a leading cause of death.

The Nancy Millis lecture series was established in 1999, and named in honour of a former Chancellor of La Trobe University and respected microbiologist.

Lecture by Professor Paul Yip, University of Hong Kong

On 17 March 2016 La Trobe Asia had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Paul Yip, Director for the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, and a Professor at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong.

La Trobe Asia co-hosted a well-received seminar with the School of Psychology and Counselling at La Trobe University. Professor Yip lectured on the topic of suicide prevention in Hong Kong, speaking to an audience which included students studying psychology. His lecture covered the scope of restricting means for suicide, improving data records, and media engagement.

He was also a guest on the La Trobe Asia podcast 'Asia Rising' in which he discussed the proactive approach Hong Kong has to suicide prevention, and the cultural differences in attitudes between the east and the west.

Listen to the interview

'Experience Asia' Mobility Showcase

On 11 March 2016 La Trobe Asia and La Trobe Abroad co-hosted a half-day symposium aimed at academics was held to showcase student mobility. A similar event was held at the Bendigo campus on 22 March 2016.

Participants learnt how to structure a study tour for students and what funding was available through Federal Government scholarship schemes, such as the New Colombo Plan and Endeavour for Asia.

They heard from a panel of students who received these prestigious scholarships and completed exchanges in Asia, as well as academics involved in creating and promoting these opportunities.

La Trobe University / Kyushu University Colloquium

On Friday 4 March 2016, La Trobe Asia hosted a colloquium with visiting academics from Kyushu University and humanities and social sciences researchers from La Trobe University.

The colloquium explored the possibilities for collaboration between the two partners, both in research and teaching, given the growing closeness of the two institutions and their shared commitment to internationalization of their academic activity.

"The group established an excellent rapport and there is a great deal of enthusiasm for the connections that we are seeking to foster," says Professor Nick Bisley, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia. "I am convinced that we have a strong foundation to further develop the relationship and to foster first rate collaborative research and teaching programs."

Book Launch: Why do Peace Processes Fail?

On Monday 30 November 2015, La Trobe Asia hosted the book launch of La Trobe University academic Dr Jasmine Westendorf's new book Why Peace Processes Fail: Negotiating Insecurity After Civil War at the La Trobe University City Campus.

The book was launched by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AO QC (former Australian foreign minister and current Chancellor of ANU) who gave an engaging assessment of the book and its larger argument ( Dr Westendorf and Professor Evans took questions from the 80 strong audience on issues ranging from the current crisis in the Middle East to the failures in Rwanda.

China Matters Second National Meeting

The Second National Meeting of China Matters was convened in Melbourne on Friday 20 November 2015. Held in partnership with La Trobe Asia, and opened by Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor at La Trobe University, the meeting brought together senior figures from business, policy and academia for off-the-record discussions of Australia-China relations. Participants formulated policy recommendations for the Australian government on each of the session topics.

Panellists included Mr Richard Maude, Director-General of the Office of National Assessments; Mr Chris Moraitis, Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department; and Mr Dennis Richardson, Secretary of the Department of Defence.

The panel sessions focused on:

  • What does China want from the region? How should Australia respond?
  • China's economic environment under Xi Jinping: what are the implications for Australian business?
  • The PRC's engagement with Australian society: how should Australia respond?

Discussion papers on the panel topics are available. See also the meeting agenda, biographies of the panellists, and list of participants.

Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans AC QC delivered the welcome dinner's keynote address: "Navigating Australia's Relations with China and the United States".

View photographs of the national meeting and the welcome dinner, co-hosted with PwC.

La Trobe Asia Research Showcase

On Wednesday 11 November 2015, La Trobe Asia presented the first La Trobe Asia Research Showcase.  La Trobe researchers presented aspects of their work that was supported by the La Trobe Asia Grant Program. The aim was to highlight the remarkable research being undertaken in the region and to bring together a diverse group of scholars and researchers to share ideas and approaches to undertaking research in the region.

The speakers:

  • Dr Patricia Fenner
  • Dr Benjamin Habib
  • Ronald Knevel
  • Dr James Leibol
  • Dr Jasmine-Kim Westendorf
  • Dr Markandeya Jois
  • Dr Ian Woolford
  • Dr Andrew Gilmore
  • Dr Zhanming Liang
  • Dr Nicola Henry

spoke passionately and expertly about their research in the limited time we gave them.  Participants were impressed at the range and depth of the Asia related research happening at La Trobe University.  It not only showed a strong focus on the region, but demonstrated the excellent working relationship we have with many Asian countries.

Download the program for the Research Showcase [PDF 409KB]

We also welcomed guest speakers John Garnaut and Dr Kumuda Simpson-Gray for sharing their insight in our live podcast discussions.  You can listen to the discussion with John Garnaut 'Turnbull's Asia':

Finally, we launched our new research publication: Asia Rising which you may download here.

South Asia - Citywide: A MSASG - La Trobe Asia Conference

On Wednesday 4 November 2015 in the Borchardt Library at La Trobe University, La Trobe Asia along with the Melbourne South Asia Studies Group hosted a post graduate research conference.

They keynote was given by Professor Craig Jeffrey, Director - Australia India Institute and participants also received an overview of the extensive South Asia collection held by the library.

16 post graduate students representing La Trobe University, Monash University, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Swinburne University and RMIT presented on a variety of topics across all disciplines.  They rose to the challenge of limiting their presentation to 12 minutes.  The breadth of research was fascinating and the passion and enthusiasm of each presenter infectious.  It is hoped that the conference will be repeated in 2016.

Download the Conference Program [PDF 161KB]

Download the Conference Abstracts [PDF 105KB]

Linda Jakobson, John Lee, Nick Bisley, Geoff Raby and Bob CarrPublic Lecture on Australia-China Relations

A public lecture examining the complex relationship between Australia and China was held on Monday 21 September 2015 by the Ideas and Society Program in collaboration with La Trobe Asia at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The panel speakers were:

Bob Carr: Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology, Sydney, a think tank focused on Australia-China relations.

Linda Jakobson: Founding director of not-for-profit, 'China Matters', which aims to stimulate a nuanced and informed public discourse about china's rise and its implications for Australia.

John Lee: Adjunct Associate Professor at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, and a Senior Fellow (non-resident) at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC.

Geoff Raby: A graduate of La Trobe University, also Australia's Ambassador to China from 2007-2011. He is now director of his Beijing-based business advisory company – Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd.

It was chaired by Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director of La Trobe Asia) and introduced by Jane Long (Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic), La Trobe University).

'The panellists' comments and subsequent question and answer session was both engaging and illuminating, in no small part due to the quality and breadth of audience questions,' says Professor Bisley. 'I was particularly struck by the way in which it drew attention to the ways Australia's ties not only with Washington but also with Tokyo are complicating life in Canberra.'

Fear and Greed? Australia-China Relations

Australia-India Relations Panel

Dr Meg Gurry, John McCarthy and Professor Ian Hall were members of the panel discussing Australia-India Relations held at Old Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 8 September 2015 attended by 55 people from across universities, government departments and the private sector.

The panel explored the challenges facing Australia's relationship with India, the extent to which these continue and the ongoing need to work hard, on both sides, to improve links not just between Canberra and Delhi but between our societies more broadly.

The rich discussion highlighted the need for greater people-to-people links and also the limits to how the governments can improve things. Universities, businesses, think tanks, civil society groups and other non-governmental actors have much work to do, to make mutually beneficial links between the two countries.

Thanks to the Australia India Institute for their help in co-hosting the event.

Download recording

Refugee protection panelForum on Refugee Protection in the Asia-Pacific

On 1 September 2015 a forum took place highlighting the challenges in providing advice and services to asylum seekers in the Asia-Pacific region.

It was chaired by Mary Anne Kenny (an Australian lawyer) and Assoc Professor Savitri Taylor (La Trobe Law School). It was paneled by three lawyers involved in the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network – Renuka Balasubramaniam (Malaysia), Lakshan Dias (Sri Lanka), and Yunita Purnama (Indonesia).

The event was booked out with 180 in the audience, and almost $2000 was raised which will go directly to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Download recording

Hindi poet and political leader Dr Kumar VishwasLecture by Dr Kumar Vishwas

On 28 August 2015 Hindi poet and political leader Dr Kumar Vishwas visited La Trobe University and delivered a guest lecture to a Hindi speaking audience. He spoke on on the place of poetry in Indian culture, drawing on his own experience as a well-known performer at Hindi poetry gatherings.

It was Introduced by Professor Nick Bisley (Executive Director, La Trobe Asia), Dr Ian Woolford (Director of the Hindi Program, La Trobe University) and Subhash Sharma (Director of Sahitya Sandhya).

Download recording

The Hon. Sun Chao and Professor Jianfu ChenVisit by the President and Judges of the High Court of the Guizhou Province, China

On 24 August 2015 The Hon. Sun Chao (President and Chief Justice of the Guizhou High Court) along with five fellow judges were guests of honour at the City Campus of La Trobe University.

The Hon. Sun Chao delivered a lecture on the progress of judicial reforms in China, intended to uphold efficiency, fairness and justice as fundamental principles. It was attended by La Trobe University academics and staff, as well as members of the community with a professional interest.

The lecture was introduced by Professor Patrick Keyzer (Chair of Law and Public Policy, La Trobe University) and translated by Professor Jianfu Chen (La Trobe Law School). It was presented in association with La Trobe Law School.

Download recording

Visit by Republic of Korea's Consul-General to Victoria

On 17 August 2015 Jo Hong-ju (Republic of Korea's Consul-General to Victoria) visited La Trobe University to meet with academics and staff.

While on campus he delivered a guest lecture to International Relations students introduced by Dr Benjamin Habib. He presented a South Korean perspective of inter-korean politics, and the fundemental divide between north and south.

Download recording

China study tour student movie presentation evening

On 14 August 2015 a student movie presentation night took place hosted by students who participated in the 2015 Environment and Sustainability in China Study Tour in Shanghai and Beijing.

The videos showcased the student experience in China on topics including food and water security, renewable energy, urban sustainability and Chinese environmental policy. They can now be viewed online.

The study tour was a collaborative venture between La Trobe Asia, CERES Global and the La Trobe University Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy. It was funded by an Australian Government New Colombo Plan mobility grant.

Visiting academics from Beijing Foreign Studies UniversityVisit by academics from Beijing Foreign Studies University

On 10 August 2015, five academics from the Australian Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University visited La Trobe University as part of a study tour of Melbourne.

They participated in a two-day program of meetings, lectures and workshops with university staff and academic counterparts to exchange ideas on curriculum development and observe new teaching methods.

While on campus, Li Jianjun (Director of the Australian Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University) delivered a seminar to academics and students on what an ordinary Chinese person knows about Australia.

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Crossing Boundaries: Reproductive Travel in Asia

On 12 December 2014, a public forum was held at the State Library of Victoria to consider the legal, cultural and health perspectives on cross-border surrogacy in Asia.

Recent incidents involving surrogacy in Asian countries have shed light on a growing trend. Prospective parents are traveling to Asian countries with lower costs and less stringent laws, to engage the services of surrogate parents.

Discussing this issue is a panel of experts, chaired by Associate Professor Lee Ann Basser, La Trobe Law School:

  • Professor Jenni Millbank, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Associate Professor Andrea Whittaker, ARC Future Fellow in Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Monash University
  • Associate Professor Kerry Petersen, La Trobe Law School
  • Dr Rhonda Powell, a human rights lawyer with particular interest in rights in pregnancy and birthing rights; Lecturer at University of Canterbury
  • Claire Achmad: PhD candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

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Conflict in the East China Sea: Would ANZUS Apply?

La Trobe Asia Executive Director Professor Nick Bisley has co-authored a new report, Conflict in the East China Sea: Would ANZUS Apply? with  Dr Brendan Taylor, the Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), ANU.

The report was commissioned by former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, the head of The Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at UTS. The collaborative research project between ACRI, La Trobe Asia, and SDSC and was released in Canberra on Monday 3 November and Sydney on Tuesday 4 November 2014.

The report discusses the premise that little attention has been paid to the possible political ramifications for Australia from conflict in the East China Sea which could stem from our alliance obligations with the US.

The paper aims to help shape public and policy debate on the issue, by analysing the circumstances under which conflict could occur and the implications for Australia.

Read Professor Bisley's op-ed here

Download the report [PDF 1.48M]

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China Unwrapped: prosperity, politics and implications for Australia

On 29 October 2014, Dr Geoff Raby, former Australian Ambassador to China and La Trobe University alumnus presented a public lecture examining China economic and political trajectory in the coming years. Dr Raby argued that China's economy has a lot of growth left in it, that it will continue to take a more assertive stance in its foreign policy but that it was not likely to contest American military dominance in the Western Pacific.

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Power, Rivalry and the Transformation of Asia

On 14 October 2014, Professor Nick Bisley, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia, presented a public lecture entitled 'Power, Rivalry and the Transformation of Asia' at the State Library of Victoria.

The lecture explored the prospects of great power rivalry returning to Asia, fuelled by the region's economic transformation.  The lecture examined how the region is moving from a period of peace into an era marked by uncertainty and rivalry. It concluded by setting out a number of concrete steps that can be taken now to manage the growing risks and reduce the prospects of conflict breaking out in the region.

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(Apologies in advance for the poor sound quality of this lecture, we had some technical issues, but were keen for people to have an opportunity to hear it)

Official Launch of La Trobe Asia

On 17 September 2014, La Trobe Asia was officially launched. The occasion was marked by an address by La Trobe University alumnus The Hon Andrew Robb AO, Minister for Trade and Investment.

The launch was held in the Sir Redmond Barry Room, in the State Investment Centre, Level 46, 55 Collins Street, Melbourne and was well attended by Melbourne's diplomatic community, business leaders, government officials and leading academics from La Trobe and other universities in Melbourne.

Workshop on the East Asia Summit and Regional Security

In collaboration with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

On 29 August 2014, La Trobe Asia held its first event in the region. In collaboration with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, La Trobe Asia hosted an expert workshop on ways to improve security cooperation within the East Asia Summit. The workshop brought together experts from Japan, South Korea, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and the United States.  Participants discussed a range of concrete proposals for the self styled premier regional forum to improve regional security. The workshop attracted strong interest from regional foreign ministries. The workshop will produce an ISEAS perspective that will feed into the discussions about regional cooperation leading up to November's East Asia Summit in Myanmar.

A Public Health Approach for Suicide Prevention: Experiences in Hong Kong

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 8

On 1 September 2014 La Trobe University distinguished alumnus, Professor Paul Yip, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention from The University of Hong Kong presented the eighth La Trobe Asia seminar. He explored Hong Kong's adoption of a multilayered public health approach to suicide prevention, its success and how its lessons can be learned by other states in Asia and beyond.

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How China can continue to lower its suicide rate

Professor Paul Yip, The University of Hong Kong
3 September  2013

"China's suicide rate has fallen dramatically in the past decade. In the 1990s, China had one of the highest suicide rates in the world at 23.2 suicides per 100,000 people. An estimated 250,000 suicides were reported every year, accounting for about a quarter of the world's total. But by 2012 the estimated national average suicide rate had decreased to 9.8 per 100,000 people, nearly 60 per cent lower than in the 1990s."

Source East Asia Forum
Read the full article online

Jokowi's Indonesia

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 7

La Trobe's Dr Dirk Tomsa and Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne dissected the reasons why Joko Widodo ('Jokowi') won the presidential election in Indonesia and what we can expect from his presidency in the seventh of our seminar series on Wednesday 13 August 2014. The presenters drew out the significant challenges the new president faces given limited financial resources, a divided legislature, lukewarm support from his own party and possibly unrealistic expectations.

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Not All Fats are Equal

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 6

La Trobe Asia was pleased to host Professor Liu Pingsheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences for our first event of Semester 2. The sixth in our seminar series took place on Monday 11 August 2014. Professor Liu's public lecture discussed the role of lipid droplets in a range of pressing health challenges and showed the ways in which China-based researchers are increasingly on the cutting edge of pure and applied scientific research.

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Trust in the Region

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 5 took place on Thursday 29 May 2014. Iain Twine, CEO of Edelman South East Asia and Australasia discussed the complex question of social trust in Asia. Using data from the Edelman 2014 Trust Barometer - global study of trust which the firm has been holding annually since 2001 – he showed how complex trust is in Asian societies. One of the more intriguing findings was that many in the region continue to distrust China's firms.

Download the 2014 Trust Barometer La Trobe Asia presentation May 2014 [PDF 5.92MB]

What does North Korea want?

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 4

In the shadow of a possible further nuclear test by North Korea, La Trobe's Dr Ben Habib provided an engaging presentation setting out North Korea's ambitions and its likely future path on Wednesday 28 May 2014. Dr Habib pointed out that we know a lot more about North Korea than many realize and that notwithstanding its many obvious problems, the state is a lot more robust than is often thought.

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Making Peace in South Asia

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 3

On  1 April 2014, Australia India Institute Emerging Leaders Fellow, Ms Nirupama Subramanian and La Trobe's Dr Jasmine Westendorf engaged in a structured dialogue about resolving conflicts in South Asia. The discussion drew attention to the many successes and failure of such efforts and in particular the very real difficulty of building sustainable peace in South Asian societies that have been riven with conflict for decades.

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Previewing the Indian  and Indonesian Elections

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 2 examined the forthcoming elections in Asia's two giant democracies, India and Indonesia on 5 March 2014. La Trobe University academics, Dr Dirk Tomsa who analysed the Indonesia presidential race, and Dr Ian Woolford who provided an overview of the Lok Sabha elections in India. Both in terms of the underlying issues at play in the election and in the changing dynamics and processes of the election, the discussion underlined some remarkable similarities between the two contests.

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Japan's role in a changing Asia

La Trobe Asia Seminar Series # 1

The inaugural La Trobe Asia seminar was held on Wednesday 19 February 2014.  The focus of the seminar was on Japan's role in a changing Asia Pacific and was presented by Mr Kensuke Yoshida, Minister and Head of Chancery, Embassy of Japan, Canberra.