Asia Pacific Insight
A new USAsia Centre (USAC) will strengthen relations between the United States, Australia and the Asian region from its base at the University of Western Australia.
Along with Federal Tertiary Education Minister Senator Chris Evans and State Premier Colin Barnett, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a plaque commemorating the launch of the Perth USAsia Centre at The University of Western Australia today.
The Perth USAsia Centre will be a leading policy think tank on the Australia-Asia-US strategic and economic relationship, a teaching and research centre, and a conduit for a deeper Australian understanding of US business, culture, history, politics and foreign policy.
The Centre will work in close partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and add new dimensions drawing on the distinctive attributes of Western Australia and its existing relationship to Asia.
Professor Paul Johnson, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, said the Perth USAsia Centre would rapidly become a globally significant institution, drawing strength from the proximity to Asia, and the expertise and existing links in Western Australia.
“The Perth USAsia Centre will be in a unique position, both geographically and in a policy sense, to analyse and understand the United States and Asia,” Professor Johnson said.
“We share a time zone with the nations that promise the greatest economic growth of the 21st Century and an abiding interest in the strategic and economic future of the United States. Our University looks forward to becoming a vital part of this relationship.”
Chief Executive Officer of the US Studies Centre Professor Bates Gill said having Secretary Clinton launch the Perth USAsia Centre demonstrated the high level of importance the US administration placed on the future of the region and Australia’s role in it.
Professor Gill added: “The US Studies Centre is very pleased to launch this new initiative with The University of Western Australia, and we look forward to working with Australian and American colleagues to deepen understanding of the United States in such areas as resource policy, energy and the environment, politics, foreign policy and security.”
“The Perth USAsia Centre is a significant investment in intellectual capital which stands to benefit all stakeholders well into the 21st Century,” said Professor Gill.
The Perth USAsia Centre is a $10 million initiative between the US Studies Centre, the American Australian Association and The University of Western Australia, with major funding from the Australian and Western Australian Governments and US corporations.
The Centre will initially specialise in three policy areas:
Australia‐Asia‐US strategic and economic triangle: evolving political‐military relations in the Indo‐Pacific, including American military presence in northwest Australia and Australia’s defence procurement plans, including next generation submarines; Western Australia’s key role in China‐US economic relations as a location of American investment and a supplier of the Chinese and broader Asian market, with a focus on iron ore, liquefied natural gas and food production;
The business of energy and sustainability: maximising the long term benefits of the resources boom; alternative energy including wind, solar and geothermal; and food, soil and water sustainability;
Western Australia and the American west: leveraging the close historical, cultural, climatic and environmental parallels between these two regions.
It will also provide undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and opportunities for Australian students to study in the US to gain an international perspective and critical understanding of American politics, foreign policy, business, law, media, culture and society.