Dear Asia Society Australia Members, Supporters and Friends,
2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Asia Society Australia. It is a significant milestone and an opportunity to reflect on our achievements and the work ahead. Much has changed since our founders – Hugh Morgan AC and Richard Woolcott AC led the development of Asia Society’s Australian Centre.
The share of the global GDP for developing and advanced Asian economies has grown from 25 per cent in 1997 to a projected 38 per cent in 2017. Australia’s total trade with Asia has nearly quadrupled and is now almost 63 per cent of all trade compared with 48 per cent. China’s trade with Australia alone has increased by 1500 per cent. In permanent immigration, Asia accounted for 33 per cent in 1997 and 47 per cent in 2016. Approximately 16 per cent of Australian students study abroad, and a third of them head to Asia, while in 1997 the number was negligible.
Yet despite the progress we have made, there is still much to be done. Our investment in Asia continues to be disproportionally low and our trade lacks sectoral diversity. The teaching and learning
of Asian languages has declined since 1997. Populism and intolerance are on the rise. Our Asian Australian community is underrepresented in the leadership of our institutions.
It makes our mission of building an Asia-connected Australia ever more relevant. For 20 years Asia Society Australia has been consistently recognised for the quality of its insights and the ability to bring together Australian and regional leaders, networks and communities in a dialogue on the critical issues in Australia-Asia engagement. As the leading Australian organisation with global and regional DNA dedicated solely to Australia’s engagement with Asia, our responsibility to lead and inform a conversation about Asia in Australia has never been more critical.
It is a privilege to share with you our new publication Disruptive Asia. It is a collection of essays from leading Australian opinion-shapers and new voices on how Asia’s rise is altering Australia’s foreign policy, economy and society and how Australia should respond. Disruptive Asia presents new perspectives on Australia’s place in the Asia-Pacific region against the backdrop of the changing world order, a fragile global economy and the rapidly growing mobility of people, technologies and capital.
We hope that Disruptive Asia will be a live, on-going conversation about Australia’s future in the region, as well as our domestic transformations.
We are grateful to all our members, supporters and friends for making Asia Society Australia a successful, growing, dynamic social enterprise that it is today. We sincerely thank the authors and contributors to this publication for being so generous with their time and ideas.
We look forward to the next twenty years of building Asia-connected Australia.
Asia Society Australia
Chief Executive Officer
Asia Society Australia