Australia in the Asian Century

Is Australia ready to be one of Asia’s leading lights? NASA

Today The Conversation, in partnership with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, launches its latest series, Australia in the Asian Century.

The series was commissioned to complement the Government’s White Paper, and provide an opportunity for academics to contribute ideas to the policy debate.

To kick off the process we asked our 2000+ authors what the most important issues facing Australia are, as Asia grows more and more important in global affairs.

We received almost 100 responses, all incredibly thoughtful and diverse. We’d initially planned to select 10 to develop into articles but in the end there were 20 that we couldn’t pass up. The ideas we’ve selected are those we found the most engaging, though we do hope a few will provide some food for thought in Canberra.

What are we going to do with all this work?

Five academics who have written for this series will join a roundtable discussion on May 1 in Canberra, hosted by Ken Henry, the Chair of the Australia in the Asian Century Taskforce.

At the roundtable, they’ll take their ideas to the government’s chief adviser on Australia’s role in Asia.

They’ll talk law, education, foreign policy, investment, tourism trade, the environment, science and health, as well as any other ideas that come out of this process.

But it’s not just about the academics. We’re also inviting you - our readers - to contribute to the debate. We want to hear your thoughts on what you liked, what we’ve missed and what you want the government to have in mind as we enter the Asian Century.

We kick off the series this morning with a piece from the University of Canberra’s Yuko Kinoshita on where learning Asian languages can take us.

Please get involved and join the discussion. And enjoy.