Learn about and listen to our 2023 events and podcasts

How Japan is Redefining Defence

Japan is forbidden by their constitution to use force as a means of settling international disputes, or maintaining military forces with the potential of war.

Japan relies heavily on the concept of defence, and how they define it has repercussions for the strategic safety of Japan and its international alliances.


Professor Alessio Patalano, Department of War Studies , King's College London

Recorded 20 April 2023 in Japan as part of the 'Strengthening the Regional Maritime Security Order' project which received funding from the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office.

Episode 206

Japan's Relationship with China

Japan has always had a tense relationship with China, but now due to both their geographic proximity and their close alliance with western countries, this tension is taking on new dimensions.


Professor Chisako Masuo, Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University

Recorded 18 April 2023 in Japan as part of the 'Strengthening the Regional Maritime Security Order' project which received funding from the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office.

Episode  205

Japan's Relationship with Russia

Japan and Russia are geographically close, but have always had an uneasy relationship. Territorial disputes, strained diplomacy, and an unsigned war era peace treaty has amounted to strained bilateral ties, with little sign of easing.


Professor James Brown, Politics, Temple University

Recorded 20 April 2023

Episode 204

Event: Fresh Perspectives on the Quad

Emerging leaders from Australia, Japan, India and the United States discuss key issues facing the ‘Quad’, and puts forward a strong case for the Quad working together on non-traditional security issues across the Indo-Pacific region.

The next generation of Quad leaders view enhancing resilience against grey zone challenges, geoeconomics, outer spaces, critical technologies and human security as keys to unlocking the Quad’s potential. This challenges the Quad to deliver on public goods commitments to strengthen the free and open Indo-Pacific.

This a recording of the launch of the eighth issue of the La Trobe Asia Brief produced from the La Trobe Asia Emerging Leaders Program, funded and supported by the United States Embassy in Canberra.


  • Patrick Saunders, Humanitarian Services, AMES Australia
  • Abhishek Sharma, Pacific Forum and University of Delhi
  • Eleanor Shiori Hughes, Non-resident Fellow, EconVue
  • Afeeya Akhand, Research Intern, Australian Strategic Policy Institute


Kate Clayton, Research Officer, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University

Recorded 3 May 2023

Event: Australia and Southeast Asia: A Joint Agenda for Maritime Security

What does it look like for Australia and Southeast Asia to develop a joint agenda for maritime security?

La Trobe Asia, consortium lead for the Blue Security program, launched the first paper in a series on Maritime Security in Southeast Asia.

Blue Security is a collaboration between La Trobe Asia, Griffith Asia Institute (GAI), University of New South Wales Canberra (ADFA), University of Western Australia’s Defence and Security Institute (DSI) and the Asia-Pacific Development, Diplomacy and Defence Dialogue (AP4D).


  • Melissa Conley Tyler, Executive Director, Asia-Pacific Development, Defence & Diplomacy Dialogue
  • Aristyo Rizka Darmawan, Lecturer, Universitas Indonesia
  • Associate Professor Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby, De La Salle University


Associate Professor Bec Strating, Director - La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University

Recorded on 26 April 2023

China's Global Media Campaign

The message conveyed by global media can be a powerful one, useful in influencing public perception and shaping politics, local media and information environments.

Controlling the media narrative, usually through influence or your own state-run outlets, is of great interest to China. The superpower is actively seeking to insert itself into many other countries’ elections, social media, media, and overall politics.


Joshua Kurlantzick, Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Council on Foreign Relations and author of Beijing's Global Media Offensive: China's Uneven Campaign To Influence Asia and the World

Recorded on 16 February 2023

Episode 203

Rising Sea Levels and Coastal Territory

A recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report found global sea levels have been rising at an accelerated rate.

For the small island nations of the Asia Pacific this is sobering news, but even for larger nations, lets take Indonesia, there are significant consequences. As an archipelagic state with more than 17,000 islands stretching over 80,000 kilometres of coastline, it should be alarmed by the implications.

One issue is that your water territory, your exclusive economic zone (or EEZ) is measured as a distance from your coastline. And if your coastline changes, be it through rising sea levels or land reclamations, that has implications for you, your resources and your neighbours.


Assistant Professor Tara Davenport, Deputy Director, Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law, National University of Singapore

Recorded on 28 November 2022

Episode 202

Indigenous Language Politics in the Philippines

There are around 170 Indigenous languages spoken in the Philippines, as well as speakers of English, Spanish and several Chinese languages. Most people are multilingual, with more than 90 percent of the population speaking one or more language.


Professor Tuting Hernandez, Department of Linguistics, University of the Philippines

Recorded on 22 November 2022

Episode 201

Event: Australia’s Asia-Pacific Engagement: Past and Future

Australia’s relationships in and with Asia and the Pacific is a perennial feature of debates about its foreign and defence policy and how it projects its sense of identity on the world stage. In recent years Australia’s interaction with major powers have become much more complex. As Australia reconceptualises future directions in dealing with allies and neighbours, and its position in Asia and the Pacific more broadly, what lessons does history offer?

What forces have influenced Australia’s role on the world stage both historically and today? What is the future direction of Australia’s foreign relations? How should we reposition what we know about Australia’s international relations and its Asia engagement for an increasingly contested future?

This event was the Melbourne launch of the book Australia on the World Stage edited by Benjamin T Jones, Bridget Brooklyn and Bec Strating.


  • Wesa Chau, Founder and CEO, Cultural Intelligence
  • Dr Benjamin T Jones, History, Central Queensland University
  • Dr Michael O’Keefe, Politics, La Trobe University
  • Dr Nicholas Ferns, History, Monash University


Associate Professor Bec Strating, Director, La Trobe Asia

This was a hybrid event, recorded on 21 March 2023 at our City Campus and streamed online.

The State of Asia in 2023

What pressures will the Russian invasion of Ukraine put on Asia? How will China recover post-covid? Will the Quad and AUKUS change power dynamics in the region?

To celebrate the 200th episode of Asia Rising, a special recording to discuss the news, views and general happenings of Asian states and societies in 2023.


  • Professor Nick Bisley, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University
  • Associate Professor Bec Strating, Director, La Trobe Asia

Recorded 13 February 2023

Episode 200

A Walk in the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The Gardens by the Bay are an iconic feature of Singapore, where they dominate every tourist photograph with their towering tree-like structures. Now celebrating their tenth year, they are an emblem of the success in the greening of the city.


Felix Loh, Chief Executive Officer, Gardens by the Bay

Recorded on 28 November 2022

Episode 199

Event: What Indonesia’s Criminal Code Means for Human Rights

Indonesia has passed a new criminal code, amongst which are a raft of controversial new morality laws and speech restrictions, including banning sex outside of marriage, insulting the president, and expressing any view that runs counter to state ideology.

There are important implications for democratic freedoms in Indonesia, and human rights concerns on the implications of for women, religious minorities, and gender diverse groups.

What does the new criminal code imply for human rights in Indonesia? How has the Indonesian public responded to the new criminal code? What could it mean in the lead-up to the 2024 general election?

A La Trobe Asia event in collaboration with Human Rights Watch.


  • Andreas Harsono, Human Rights Watch, Indonesia
  • Associate Professor Dirk Tomsa, Politics, La Trobe University
  • Dr Dina Afrianty, La Trobe Law School, La Trobe University


Associate Professor Bec Strating, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University

This was a hybrid event, recorded on 7 February 2023 at our City Campus and streamed online.

Event: China and the Power of Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping has secured a historic third term as general secretary with unmatched political authority. This has given China a new drive to retain its position as a global superpower, and a desire to restore what Xi believes is China’s natural position of leadership in the world.

As China attempts to reassert itself after harsh covid-19 lock-downs, what is driving Chinese foreign policy under current President Xi. What is his vision for China in the world? And what are the implications of President Xi’s agenda for other states in the region?

An event to celebrate Professor Suisheng Zhao's new book :The Dragon Roars Back - Transformational Leaders and Dynamics of Chinese Foreign Policy", published by Stanford University.


  • Professor Suisheng Zhao, Director, Center for China-US Cooperation, University of Denver
  • Dr Yangbin Chen, Coordinator, Chinese Studies Program, La Trobe University
  • Dr Diane Hu, Research Fellow, Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Melbourne


Associate Professor Bec Strating, Director, La Trobe Asia

This was a hybrid event, recorded on 3 February 2023 at our City Campus and streamed online.

Singapore's Relationship with China

Singapore is a small country, highly reliant on commerce and trade, and with strong ties to China. This relationship can be at odds with other practices, for example: Its small military has an active conscription system. All citizens need to serve at least two years in the military, and their training bases are in Taiwan.


Associate Professor Ian Chong, Political Science, National University of Singapore

Recorded on 25 November 2022

Episode 198

The Philippines Relationship with China

In 2022 The Philippines elected a new president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and with him came a pivot in international views, particularly towards China and the United States. The previous administration led by Rodrigo Duterte had embraced China and the development opportunities it had to offer, and while Marcos Jr might continue this, it might be with slightly less enthusiasm.


Professor Aries Arugay, Political Science, University of the Philippines

Recorded 23 November 2022

Episode #197