The annual ‘In The Zone’ conference encourages Western Australians to think globally and, specifically, to look north. Given Perth shares a time zone with various major capitals throughout Asia, our city is genuinely at the heart of the Indo-Pacific.
In The Zone, started in 2009 as an initiative of The University of Western Australia and is now hosted by the Perth USAsia Centre on behalf of the University.
As the state’s leading think tank on the Indo-Pacific, the Perth USAsia Centre focuses on engaging business leaders and governments from across the region to discuss issues of shared interest. This year, with the theme of ‘The Blue Zone’ the event will bring together experts on maritime issues at a crucial time.
“Perth has never been better placed to host an international gathering to discuss our shared maritime space. This event will feature important discussions on our shared resources, environment and security and will cover topics including fisheries, business, ocean data, defence, protection, energy and innovation” says Centre CEO Gordon Flake.
Western Australia’s past and future are both inextricably linked to the ocean. The recently launched UWA Oceans Institute is ranked second in the world, Garden Island is home to the largest Naval base on the Indian Ocean rim and the largest in Australia and three former Federal Ministers of Defence [Kim Beazley, Stephen Smith, David Johnston] are from this state.
At the heart of the “Indo-Pacific” is the maritime realm. Oceans that had long been seen as obstacles to be crossed or barriers to exchange are the spaces that tie countries together. The massive amounts of energy and mineral resources which flow through the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca and the South China Seas fuel the most economically dynamic region in the world. Territorial disputes, international piracy and other security matters in the region are of global concern. As the region’s populations and economies continue to grow, fisheries, climate change, and the maritime environment pose both challenges to and opportunities for cooperation across the spaces between nations, spaces which are anything but empty.
WA has moved on from being a home to the self-described ‘most isolated capital city in the world’ to be known as a State that can play an important role in the region. Similarly, In The Zone is now known as the premier forum to enhance our understanding of the region’s issues and developing creative solutions.
“Whether you are Perth, across Australia, or otherwise situated in the Indo-Pacific, we hope you will join us as we examine the Indo-Pacific maritime realm on which we all depend. You will note that we have secured the participation of world class experts and opinion leaders from the full breadth of the region. We are confident that this event will change the way you think about our region and the seas that tie us together.”
Registrations are now open to this year’s event which will feature speakers including Foreign Minister Hon. Julie Bishop, Former President of the General Assembly of the United Nations Dr Han Sueng—soo, Senator Penny Wong, the Hon. Mark McGowan and representatives from the UWA Oceans Institute, Woodside, Shell, CSIRO, Austral Fisheries and international companies and governments. Tickets are on sale at $165 ($82.50 concession). Registration includes morning and afternoon tea, lunch, networking drinks.