Asia Society Australia

Preparing Australian leaders for the Asian Century

leaders at asia society australia

Understanding Asia has never been more important to Australia. For 60 years globally and 20 years in Australia, Asia Society has been building bridges of understanding between Asia, Australia and the United States across business, policy, education and the arts.

With 14 centres across four continents, unparalleled thought leadership on Asia and an internationally recognised power to convene, connect and influence, Asia Society is your partner for the Asian Century.

Our mission: To prepare Australian leaders for the Asian Century.

Our mandate

  1. Educate and inform our members and the Australian community about Asia
  2. Champion and support Australian organisations and leaders’ engagement with Asia and build knowledge and networks to succeed in our shared future
  3. Question and dive deeper into issues and trends shaping our region and Australia’s place in it

We are a dynamic social enterprise powered and supported by the leading Australian and global companies, education, government and cultural institutions.

Our history

Asia Society Australia was launched in 1997 by then Prime Minister John Howard to broaden interest and understanding in Australia of Asian countries and their politics, business and culture. The establishment of the Asia Society Australia was led by Hugh Morgan AC (then CEO of WMC Limited) and Richard Woolcott AC (former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). In 2017, Asia Society Australia celebrated its 20th anniversary and embarked on a new strategy to become Australia's leading and most innovative centre for policy, business and education dedicated to Asia.

Our future

This year Asia Society Australia, in partnership with the Victorian Government, announced that it will be opening a new centre in Melbourne. The establishment will bring our world-class institution and programming to Australia’s global city and expand on our work in Australia over the last 21 years.

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About Asia Society

Asia Society is a global non-profit organisation and the leading force in forging closer ties between Asia and the West through arts, education, policy and business.

Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a non-partisan, non-profit institution with centres in New York, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, MelbourneMumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, TokyoWashington, DC and Zurich.

Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, Asia Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future.

Explore Asia Society's global network >>

Asia Society Australia 2020: Our strategic blueprint for the future

In March 2015, the Board of Directors of Asia Society Australia adopted the new strategic plan - Asia Society Australia 2020 - which will guide the development of our organisation for the next five years.


  • By 2020 Asia Society Australia will be the nation’s most innovative centre for all-inclusive engagement with the Indo-Pacific region in the areas of business, policy, culture and education.
  • It will be Asia Society’s centre of excellence in the Indo-Pacific region, closely integrated within the global network through programming, membership and resources, but highly distinct in its Australian outlook and focus.
  • Asia Society Australia will be recognised by the quality of its insights and will have diverse and distinct programs focussed on building a deeper understanding of Asia, connecting leaders and networks, and enriching public debate about Australia’s engagement with Asia.

Strategic Goals

Asia Society Global Objectives:

  1. Develop and connect leaders in Asia and the world
  2. Foster common ground among leaders to address challenge
  3. Tap the best minds and talent for insights and inspiration
  4. Strengthen the capacity of governments and institutions to educate, govern, and share arts and culture

Asia Society Australia’s strategic goals are:

  1. To build among Australian political, business, cultural and educational leaders and professionals - a deep understanding of the complexity and dynamism of Asia and its importance to Australian and global security and prosperity
  2. To provide a platform for Australian and Asian leaders and champions of engagement to connect, exchange ideas and perspectives and develop meaningful relationships
  3. To identify and support entrepreneurs and emerging leaders of Australia-Asia relations across sectors and communities
  4. To develop Asia Society Australia as a hub of ideas and networks dedicated to enriching and strengthening Australia’s relations with the Indo-Pacific region
  5. To establish a permanent home in Australia, a prominent public space celebrating Australia’s geographic, cultural and economic connectivity with Asia.

Five Areas of Change

To pursue these goals, Asia Society Australia will focus on the five areas of change:

  1. Grow and broaden our community of members, supporters and partners
  2. Diversify and innovate our programming, while maintaining Asia Society’s signature high-quality of insights, content and impact
  3. Raise our profile and broaden our reach in Australia, in the region and globally
  4. Enhance our organisational capabilities and connectivity, and integration with the Asia Society’s global network
  5. Expand our physical and digital footprint in Australia