“It’s not business as usual,”
Insists Maliwaan Walker, Content Coordinator of ANU’s annual Asia Pacific Week (APW).
Walker and her fellow members of the 2017 Asia Pacific Week Organising Committee foresee major challenges to growth and stability in the Asia Pacific region on the horizon. The tumultuous rise of authoritarianism and populism across the region, as well as wider global trends of inaction on climate change, challenges to intergovernmental organisations and significant fluctuations in the global strategic order, will pose an acute threat to continued regionwide prosperity, Walker suggests.
Asia Pacific Week will confront these threats through its exploration of the 2017 theme “A Changing Landscape”. Calling upon the expertise of ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific, the conference will address a diverse range of issues, from the implications of Trump’s presidency, to the challenges of translation in the world’s most linguistically diverse region.
Asia Pacific Week will also be seeking to continue its legacy of championing an interdisciplinary approach to regional issues.
Sustainability is one such topic which the Organising Committee will be attempting to contextualise specific regional issues with scientific expertise provided by academics outside of the College of Asia and the Pacific. The “Surviving the 21st Century: Sustainability in the Asia Pacific” panel will invite speakers from the Crawford School of Public Policy, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and the Fenner School of Environment and Society to share their views on a specific environmental concern in the region. Emphasis will be placed on problem solving – with the panellists challenged to provide solutions to their nominated concern.
Content Coordinator Maliwaan Walker believes this focus on cross-college, interdisciplinary problem solving is essential to achieving APW’s goals. “We don’t have time to skirt around the big issues. For many of our applicants these issues are very real”. Walker points to the Pacific where, for many, “the literal landscape is changing”. This awareness of the immediate and pressing nature of sustainability issues was very much reflected in the content of the 2017 applications, Walker assured The Monsoon Project, with most applicants choosing to reflect on environmental sustainability in some respect.
An Ambassadorial dialogue with the High Commissioners of the Republic of Fiji, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea to Australia, is expected to provide invaluable context and depth to the themes of change and volatility emphasised by the conference.
APW delegates are provided with a platform unmatched in expertise and vision. The truly exciting opportunity, however, lies in the conference’s ability to draw together minds from the humanities and the sciences to conduct pragmatic, meaningful discussion – all against the backdrop of Australia’s capital.
Harrison Rule is Editor-In-Chief of The Monsoon Project, a third year ANU Bachelor of Asian studies / Bachelor of International Security studies student, and a 2017 Asia Pacific Week Delegate.