Top scholars will meet with 100 of the world’s best students at the annual Asia Pacific Week in Canberra next week to discuss and debate trends and developments in the Asia Pacific region. Held from June 23-26 at The Australian National University, the conference will focus on globalisation and the impact Asia and its emerging economies have on the rest of the world.

Asia Pacific Week director Harold Kuang says bringing people from all backgrounds and parts of the world together makes for enriching debates and meetings around Asia-Pacific affairs.

“As delegates come from the many countries of the Asia Pacific they are able to bring a more ‘real’ and tangible perspective to the conference,” Kuang says. “While delegates are able to read about countries and issues in the Asia Pacific, through meeting people from those countries delegates are able to fully comprehend the enormity and vastness of the region.”

Pic: Asia Pacific Week 2013 was a success

Now in its fourth year, the conference builds on expertise from The Australian National University to engage and intellectually stimulate students through networking events and debates. Some of the world’s leading Asia Pacific specialists will take part in interactive and challenging sessions on issues such as gender roles, how to tackle climate change in the region, Asian values and governance, and religion.

“Delegates become empowered as they see that they are able to make a contribution to society,” says Kuang. “As future leaders this then has positive flow on effects to the wider community and intergovernmental relationships.”

In the past, Asia Pacific Week has received many prominent figures, including former Australian Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke, Professor Hugh White, and many diplomats from the region and America.

One of the conference’s most talked about sessions, Wargames, will be back this year and give delegates the chance to experience the challenges and discussions faced when conflict is at hand – in a session directed by the retired Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie AC.

Delegates will discuss dilemmas of the current global environment in ‘Is Blood Thicker than Paper?’. Other notable events include the Ambassadors’ Panel, which gathers representatives and High Commissioners from various Asia Pacific nations who discuss the best contributions their countries have made to world history.

A couple of the sessions should bring timely discussions, including ‘Decoding Asia’ which looks at an Orwellian Asia and will no doubt look at Thailand’s military junta tactics, themselves described as 1984-esque. ‘Is Asia and the Pacific big enough?’ will look at emerging countries across the region and their historical territorial claims, and how their increased influence is impacting relationships and tensions with their neighbours.