AustralAsia Centre Mission

L to R:  Lastry Hamzah Thayeb, Peter Wasow, Chief Financial Officer, Santos Ltd., and H.E. Mr. Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb, Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, at the 11th Annual Dinner on June 4, 2008. (Jan Kuczerawy/Asia Society AustralAsia Centre)
L to R: Lastry Hamzah Thayeb, Peter Wasow, Chief Financial Officer, Santos Ltd., and H.E. Mr. Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb, Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, at the 11th Annual Dinner on June 4, 2008. (Jan Kuczerawy/Asia Society AustralAsia Centre)

The Asia Society AustralAsia Centre is a member-based organisation which leverages the long-established reputation and networks of the Asia Society and the Centre's own contacts to broaden interest and understanding in Australia of Asian countries and their politics, business, and culture.

The Asia Society AustralAsia Centre offers Business and Policy Programmes which include CEO Asia Update Forums, Asia Foreign Policy Forums, Asian Social Issues Forums, Annual Dinners and other special events, as well as Cultural Progammes which cover the fields of visual arts, literature, performing arts, film, and food.

CEO Asia Update Forum

The Asia Society AustralAsia Centre offers a public platform for business leaders either Australia based or visiting from Asia. Such events offer senior Australian business audiences access to business leaders and timely insights into events in Asia as they unfold.  Speakers have included:

  • Noke Kiroyan, President and Director, PT Rio Tinto Indonesia
  • Jonathan Zhu, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd.
  • Tan Ek Kia, Executive Vice President, Business and Procurement, Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd.
  • Vincent H.C. Cheng, Chairman, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
  • Glenn Stevens, Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia
  • Richard Leupen, Managing Director, United Group Limited

Asia Foreign Policy Forum

The AustralAsia Centre offers a similar high-level public platform for visiting and Australia-based foreign ministers, ambassadors, and heads of think tanks who are able to provide timely updates on foreign, economic, and strategic policy developments within the Asian region.  Speakers have included:

  • The Hon. Madeleine Albright, then Secretary of State, United States of America
  • Dr Hasan Wirajuda, Foreign Minister of Indonesia
  • Richard Armitage, then Deputy Secretary of State, United States of America
  • Ali Alatas, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia
  • Yashwant Sinha, External Affairs Minister, India
  • H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, ASEAN Secretary-General
  • H.E. Mr. Yang Jiechi, then Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China
  • H.E. Mr. Nitya Pibulsonggram, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand

Annual Dinner and Other Special Events

The Asia Society offers high-profile events honouring key individuals who have made a contribution to Asia-Australia relations. Such events attract significant media coverage raising the profile of Asian countries in the Australian public arena. Speakers to date have included:

  • The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, then Prime Minister of Australia
  • The Hon. Fidel Ramos, former President, the Philippines
  • The Hon. John Howard MP, then Prime Minister of Australia
  • H.E. Mr Goh Chok Tong, then Prime Minister, Singapore
  • Rupert Murdoch AC, Chairman & CEO News Corporation
  • Lee Kuan Yew, then Senior Minister, Republic of Singapore
  • H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, then President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
  • The Hon. Peter Costello, then Treasurer, Australian Government
  • H.E. Junichiro Koizumi, then Prime Minister of Japan
  • H.E. Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia
  • H.E. Dato' Seri Ahmad Abdullah Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia
  • H.E. Phan Van Khai, then Prime Minister of Vietnam
  • H.E. General Pervez Musharraf, then President of the Republic of Pakistan
  • H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then President of the Republic of the Philippines

Private CEO Briefing

When members of the Asia Society network and other Asian dignitaries visit Australia, they are invited to address small, private, high-level business gatherings. Such forums can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner and offer opportunities for such dignitaries to meet with senior members of the Australian business community on a Chatham House Rule basis. International guests have included:

  • Tan Sri Azman H.J. Mokhtar, Managing Director, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia
  • Sir Donald Tsang, then Finance Secretary, Hong Kong SAR
  • The Hon. Dato' Seri Rafidah Aziz, then Minister of International Trade & Industry, Malaysia
  • Palaniappan Chidambaram, former Minister for Finance, India
  • H.E. Dr. Mari Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia
  • James Riady, as Special Envoy for President Habibie, of Indonesia
  • Washington SyCip, President, SGV Group
  • Alasdair Morrison, Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley Asia
  • H.E. Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, Republic of Indonesia (now President)
  • Dai Xianglong, Mayor of Tianjin, People's Republic of China
  • Ronnie C Chan, Chairman, Hang Lung Group and Chairman, Asia Society Hong Kong Center
  • Tarun Das, Chief Mentor, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and President, Aspen Institute India
  • H.E. Mr Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam

Asia Society Cultural Events

A range of lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, and performances is offered by the AustralAsia Centre to profile Asian cultures and highlight the contributions being made by Asian Australians to the Australian community. Specific programmes include:

  • Meet the Author programmes
  • Asian Art Lectures
  • Art exhibitions
  • Performances

Examples of programmes include:

  • Meet the Author programmes with Vikram Seth, Masahiko Shimada, Amy Tan, Amitav Ghosh, Sunil Gangopadhyay, amongst others.
  • Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art exhibition held in Melbourne and Sydney
  • Traditions & Tensions: Contemporary Asian Art Exhibition held in Perth
  • Crossing Boundaries – Bali: A window to 20th Century Indonesian Art exhibition held in Melbourne, regional Victoria, and New South Wales

Asian Social Issues Programming

The Asia Society AustralAsia Centre also offers the Asian Social Issues Programme. Speakers are invited to address issues of concern to contemporary Asian societies including civil society, the environment, human rights, and religious and gender issues. Speakers have included:

  • Zainah Anwar, Executive Director, Sisters of Islam, Malaysia
  • Professor David Chandler, Senior Advisor, Center for Khmer Studies, Siem Reap Cambodia
  • Professor Hara Takeshia, Waseda University, Japan
  • Dr Mamoru Mohri, Japan's first astronaut
  • Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Fellow