The Asia Society AustralAsia Centre was launched in May 1997 by the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon. John Howard. The AustralAsia Centre is a non-profit, educational organisation. It operates in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth, and is fully self-funded.
The aims of the AustralAsia Centre are to broaden understanding of Asian countries and cultures amongst Australian people, and to strengthen the linkages between political, business, and cultural leaders and decision makers from the Asian region with their Australian counterparts. The AustralAsia Centre does this by bringing to Australia access to an extensive network of prominent Asia-engaged individuals built up by the Asia Society over the last 50 years, and by running an extensive public programme of business, foreign policy, and cultural events.
The AustralAsia Centre has established an Advisory Council, which comprises some 41 individuals prominent in the Asian field representing leaders of business, foreign policy, academia, and the arts. The Centre is able to draw on their expertise to ensure programming and activities remain relevant.
Asia Society AustralAsia Centre activities include:
- Providing speaking platforms for political and business leaders visiting from the Asian region as well as Australia-based
- Organising private meetings for visiting dignitaries and the AustralAsia Centre's corporate membership
- Offering business and public policy lectures, seminars, and briefing programmes
- Offering programming on Asian social issues
- Offering cultural programmes
The Centre has a proud record of hosting internationally distinguished guests, including:
- Lee Kuan Yew, then Senior Minister, Republic of Singapore
- Mr Rupert Murdoch, Chairman & Chief Executive, News Corporation
- H.E. Junichiro Koizumi, then Prime Minister of Japan
- H.E. Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia
- H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines
- The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, then Prime Minister of Australia
The Centre has also co-presented two major art exhibitions—Traditions & Tensions, contemporary Asian art in Perth, 1998; and Treasures of Asian Art in Melbourne and Sydney, in 1999. In August 2002 the Centre launched its first art exhibition developed in Australia, Crossing Boundaries – Bali: A Window to Twentieth Century Indonesian Art.