Asia Pacific Week 2024: Fostering global networks and regional understanding

The 2024 Asia Pacific Week delegation. Image by Luka Vertessy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
The 2024 Asia Pacific Week delegation. Image by Luka Vertessy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific


A team of students successfully brought together a diverse international cohort of future leaders to discuss key regional issues at the 2024 Asia Pacific Week (APW) conference. This year’s delegation boasted a broad range of participants from around the world including neighbouring countries such as Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, China, and even as far as Uzbekistan and Italy. 

The event was marked by a vibrant exchange of ideas and thought-provoking discussions, driven by the diverse perspectives and experiences of the attendees. The Dean of the College, Professor Helen Sullivan, expressed her enthusiasm for the multicultural gathering.

“This event has welcomed people from as far as Italy and Uzbekistan. The unique and broad perspectives of this year’s delegates make this a rich and dynamic event for students at the College,” she said in her opening address.  

Building global networks with academics, industry leaders, and fellow students provided the 2024 cohort with a unique learning opportunity. The director of the 2024 organising committee Hebe Ren was delighted to see unprecedented interest in this year’s delegation applications.

“We received over 250 applications from 37 different countries,” she stated.

One of the many international delegates at APW 2024 was Italian student Ehsanullah Arghistani from the University of Messina in Sicily. After five flights and three days of travelling, Mr Arghistani was eager to make the most of the experience and learn from the expert Asia-Pacific scholars at CAP. 

“I am so excited to be here. I wanted to see Australia and meet the delegates, future leaders, and the professors at the university,” he said.

Mr Arghistani is particularly passionate about women’s rights and gender issues in the Asia-Pacific region and was pleased to see these topics on the agenda at the conference.

“I'm originally from Afghanistan, so I also came here to learn more about women's rights in the Asia-Pacific and take this learning with me back home to improve the lives of women in Afghanistan,” he said. 

This year’s conference themed ‘Confluence and Creation in Asia and the Pacific,’ encompassed a variety of cultural events which ranged from language tasters to K-pop dance workshops. The conference also held several panel discussions on climate change, gender and sexuality, women in diplomacy, youth perspectives and security in the Pacific. 

One highlight was the panel on security in the Pacific which featured former Fijian ambassador to the United Nations Dr Satyendra Prasad, talented PhD scholars Philippa Louey and Athaulla Rasheed and Associate Professor Graeme Smith. The panel highlighted the importance of Pacific perspectives in security and the threat of climate change to the region. Dr Prasad was inspired to see the next generation of young leaders engaging in Pacific dialogue. 

“I want to congratulate the students for having this network and encourage them to link with each other as they move forward in their careers in the region,” he said. 

The conference delegation included several students from Pacific Island nations such as Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa. Dr Prasad commended the diverse international networks at the event and the exchange of perspectives. 

“Having a deep understanding and appreciation of each other’s views is so important for finding collective solutions, especially because Australia is a Pacific state. It shares its sovereignty and waters with the Pacific and so these are areas of mutual concern,” he added. 

Dr Satyendra Prasad by Luka Vertessy ANU College of Asia Pacific
Dr Satyendra Prasad by Luka Vertessy ANU College of Asia Pacific

Now in its fourteenth year, Asia Pacific Week ensures that students at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific receive a rich and active learning experience during their studies. Professor Sullivan believes APW helps equip students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. 

“I do not doubt that many of these students as emerging leaders will be at the forefront of addressing regional challenges,” Professor Sullivan concluded. 

APW is a student-run initiative that brings together high-calibre students and young professionals from around the world for a week of thought-provoking panels, debates, and cultural workshops. The event aims to connect young people and equip them with the knowledge, skills, and networks to become leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific would like to congratulate the 2024 APW organising committee for their hard work and commitment. We encourage our students to participate in Asia Pacific Week 2025 to continue supporting and growing this annual event. You can see the organising committee members via the Asia Pacific Week website and read about their incredible work.

Dance workshop.
Security in the Pacific panel.
Gamelan performance.
PhD scholar Pip Louey moderates the security in the Pacific panel.

Women in diplomacy panel.
Dance workshop.
Gamelan performance Luka Vertessy ANU College of Asia Pacific.
Grace Chung speaks at the Women in Diplomacy panel.
Dance workshop APW 2024