Asia–Pacific power summit brings together international experts

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s intellectual leadership in the Asia–Pacific is highlighted this week as it co-hosts an international summit with QS Quacquarelli Symonds to explore the changing geopolitical and geo-economic dynamics of the region.

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Speakers and delegates from more than 15 countries will be attending the two-day summit, along with ambassadors, high commissioners and other distinguished guests from Wellington’s diplomatic community, and senior officials from such New Zealand agencies as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Honourable Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuila’epa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, will give a keynote address.

‘Power Shifts in the Asia–Pacific: Large and Small State Perspectives’ is the latest QS Subject Focus Summit, the focus on this occasion being Politics and International Studies.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds is the world's largest international higher education network, connecting universities, business schools, and students. It is responsible for the influential QS World University Rankings, in which Victoria University of Wellington’s Politics and International Studies programmes are in the top 100 of the 18,000 universities around the globe.

The programmes include Politics and International Relations, which is part of the University’s Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, whose Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jennifer Windsor, will be the summit’s MC.

“The summit brings together an outstanding selection of scholars and thought leaders who are deeply informed and influential,” says Professor Windsor. “The speakers come not only from Victoria University of Wellington but also from the wider Asia–Pacific and beyond, including Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Chile, Australia, and the United Kingdom.”

Among the University’s participants are Professor Alan Bollard from the University’s Wellington School of Business and Government, who is the inaugural holder of the Chair in Pacific Region Business and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Executive Director of the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat.

Professor of International Relations Xiaoming Huang and Professor of Strategic Studies Robert Ayson are also taking part, as are Professor David Frame, Director of the University-based New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, and Professor Ilan Noy, Chair in the Economics of Disasters.

The summit opens with a keynote debate on the nature of the power transition happening in Asia and the contours of the emerging regional order. As well as Professor Huang, the debate features Professor Rosemary Foot from the University of Oxford in the UK and Professor Yuen Foong Khong from the National University of Singapore.

Other topics addressed during the summit include the effects of China’s rise on national identities, Indo-Chinese rivalry for influence, how small countries can lead responses to problems such as climate change through innovative practices, intra-regional and extra-regional migration, and recent economic developments.

“The summit aims to inform and stimulate attendees,” says the University’s Dr Alexander Bukh, who has been instrumental in organising it. “It reflects the University’s commitment to a sense of belonging and intellectual leadership in the Asia–Pacific, the region that defines our future.”

In May, the University will be co-hosting the third of its biennial Pacific Climate Change Conferences, this time in Samoa. “As Aotearoa New Zealand’s global-civic university, we are committed to global citizenship and contributing to the common good,” says Professor Windsor. “This summit and May’s conference in Apia are prime examples of this.”