In the Zone

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In partnership with The University of Western Australia (UWA), the Perth USAsia Centre will drive and coordinate further development of the In the Zone conference and event series. An original initiative of UWA, In the Zone is a major project which highlights Western Australia’s position and perspective in its engagement with the Indo-Pacific. It provides a strategic forum for business, policymakers, and researchers to grapple with the great economic and strategic transformations occurring in the countries encompassed by our time zone.

In 2015 In the Zone convened two high-profile events in Perth and Singapore. The University hosted the Hon Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia, and the Hon Julie Bishop MP, the Australian Foreign Minister, to headline the Perth Leadership Forum on 1 May.

The Perth conference brought together a group of outstanding speakers and thinkers. The University, in conjunction with In the Zone’s principal partner the Perth USAsia Centre, launched the second edition of its Smart Power publication; and the next instalment of the In the Zone Special Report, produced with the Australian newspaper, was released.

A panel of leading thinkers and commentators, including Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large of the Australian, Professor the Hon Stephen Smith, Director of the Perth USAsia Centre, Krishna Sen, Professor of Indonesian Studies and Dean of Arts at UWA, and Gordon Flake, CEO of the Perth USAsia Centre, discussed the changing nature of social, political and economic relationships in Indonesia and the rest of the zone.

We also plan to build on the success of our 2014 publication, "Smart Power: New Narratives of Prosperity, Persuasion, and Projection in the Zone", with an updated and expanded report which explains trends in the region through cutting-edge infographics.

The Hon Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia, said in his welcoming address that the state’s ongoing economic and social relationships with key Asian countries would continue to strengthen, and Western Australia would ‘bounce back just as quickly as it has done every other time’ from current issues such as iron-ore pricing and supply.

"We are exquisitely placed and geography will be our destiny"
– The Hon Julie Bishop MP

The Hon Julie Bishop MP, in her keynote address, said that dramatic demographic changes in the Indo-Pacific zone over the next three decades will have a significant transformative effect on the region. She said that to capitalise on change, Australia must be open to ideas, trade and investment and technological advances and that, after a challenging week for Australia, it must continue to support and promote peace, prosperity and freedom in the region and around the world.

Read the 2015 Special Report in The Australian

His Excellency Professor Doctor Yudhoyono was unable to attend the day’s forum, however the former president of Indonesia provided a cordial message that was presented at the event. Dr Michael Chaney AO, Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, read the statement on behalf of HE Professor Dr Yudhoyono.

Dr Michael Chaney, Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, Andrew Harding, Chief Executive Iron Ore, Rio Tinto, and Deidre Willmott, CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA joined moderator Winthrop Professor Raymond da Silva Rosa for the final session of the forum. They discussed Knowledge Society’s State of Mind project, disruptive innovation, declining levels of engagement by young people in STEM pursuits (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the increasing need to understand and utilise big data.

Headline speakers:

  • The Hon. Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia
  • The Hon. Julie Bishop MP, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Dr Michael Chaney AO, Chancellor of the University of Western Australia
  • Aiko Doden, Senior Commentator, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Elena Douglas, Founder and CEO, Knowledge Society
  • L. Gordon Flake, Chief Executive Officer, Perth USAsia Centre
  • Andrew Harding, Chief Executive, Iron Ore, Rio Tinto
  • Paul Kelly, Editor-at-large, The Australian
  • Bernard Salt, Columnist, The Australian
  • Deidre Willmott, CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA

Venture Asia

In the Zone’s ambition is to engage Asian countries directly, and to encourage its delegates to collaborate proactively with the Zone’s decision-makers and business leaders – to Venture Asia.

Each year, the University will lead a delegation to an Asian city for its Venture Asia initiative. As a global trading centre for capital, commodities and technology, Singapore was the natural launchpad for Venture Asia. In 2016, In the Zone will head to Jakarta for the next leg of its Asian tour.

Professor Paul Johnson, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, said at the conclusion of the 2015 Perth forum that the decision to hold In the Zone in Indonesia’s capital next year reflected a need to continue to strengthen Australia’s relationships with Indo-Pacific countries in general, and Indonesia in particular. In the Zone will continue to be hosted in Perth as well.

Venture Asia: Singapore

On 13 April, In the Zone convened a group of senior business and government leaders at the Google Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore to discuss Perth and Singapore’s strategic and cultural bond and how best to capitalise on our cities’ close proximity, good business relationship, entwined histories and promising futures.

Smart Power 2015: Prosperity, Persuasion and Projection In the Zone

Since its inception, In the Zone has sought to reframe the manner in which Australia, and in particular Western Australia, defines itself. Australia has become more aware of its status as an Indo-Pacific nation. Western Australia’s perception of itself as an energy and minerals superpower has strengthened and the force of its economic integration with Asia has entered the national conversation.

It is time to take this conversation to the next level.

In past years, In the Zone has focused on remarkable facts such as these, and this report seeks to continue this tradition. These data stories and their compelling messages will change the way you see the region.

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Our Publication, "Smart Power Volume 1: New Narratives of Prosperity, Persuasion and Projection in the Zone"

This report provides a snapshot of all the dimensions of power for each country "in the Zone," that is, the UTC +8 timezone which contains Perth, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, and Ulaanbataar. Perth shares a four-hour time horizon with sixty percent of the world’s population. The nations with the greatest promise for economic growth in the twenty-first century, our allies, inhabit this region. In this report, we have evaluated the countries of the Zone within the smart-power framework. The result is a blend of smart-power concepts and data journalism. 

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In the Zone 2014 Event Summary

The contours of global prosperity and influence are in flux. The nature of power is changing. Cultural power, network power and the capacity to influence are becoming increasingly significant in an inter-connected world. No country is an island: Economic success for each country depends on deep partnerships and collaborations with others. Economic power is a non-zero-sum game. The expansion of markets and the exchange of technology that will come from billions of people across the Asian region joining the world’s middle-class remains an enormous opportunity for the world. To gain from this, we must learn how to leverage the new meridians of prosperity and power for mutual benefit. In the Zone 2014 was the most strategic and high-impact event yet. Some of Asia and Australia’s most influential thinkers and leaders, including the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Hon Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia, spoke at the conference.

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