babel_50-1_pb-small«Whatever else this century brings, it will bring Asia’s rise. The transformation of the Asian region into the economic powerhouse of the world is not only unstoppable, it is gathering pace».

In October 2012, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard released the Australian Government’s White Paper «Australia in the Asian Century»: at last, the country was located in the right place at the right time and the “tyranny of distance was being replaced by the prospects of proximity”.

The relevance of an “Asian century” seems obvious to the Australian government; the goal is to maximise the country’s opportunities.

Though a popular journalistic term, the “Asian century” seems nevertheless questionable: Are we simply talking from an economic point of view? The idea of an «Asian GDP» appears somehow meaningless given the region’s lack of unity. Does it simply concern China, Australia’s first trade partner or is it more than that?

The white paper announced 25 national objectives to fully engage with Asia by 2025. Among them were a stronger Australian economy and capabilities, less stringent visa requirements, a renewed role for Australian Universities… It also included a need to ensure sustainable security.

This issue of the peer-reviewed journal Babel (; aims at discussing the role of Australia in the contemporary world with a particular focus on its links with Asia, be it from a strategic, economic, political, social or cultural point of view. How can the Australian position in these fields be analysed? What is left of the ALP’s enthusiasm two years after the White Paper was published? It has now shifted from a national plan to a simple useful reference.

Here is a list of potential topics for this issue. Comparative and historical perspectives would be appreciated.

Strategic approach: Evolution of the special relationship with the US and other traditional allies Australia’s role on regional forums  |  Australia’s role in regional conflicts

Political approach: Asia in the national political divide Immigration policy

Economic approach: The evolution of the Australian economy  |  The Australian miracle

Cultural approach: Australian universities worldwide Asia in the Australian curriculum Multiculturalism

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Sophie Koppe ( by 15 June 2015. Completed articles will be expected by the end of September 2015.