Asia-Pacific Australia

Asia-Pacific Australia

The Asia-Pacific Australia Program engages students with the quest for sustainable development in the nations and peoples of contemporary Oceania and Southeast Asia. Through two semesters of courses and fieldwork, students study the challenges and innovative solutions that communities, organizations and nations are developing as they aspire to address one of the world's central questions: How can we, across a range of diverse cultures and countries, promote economic development without destroying our planet's ecosystems?

Students study and travel across the region, focusing on this challenge from the perspectives of different communities, cultures and national political dynamics. From an administrative base in Byron Bay, Australia, the program explores the quest for sustainable development in Australia, Fiji, Thailand and Bali.

Why Australia, Fiji, Thailand, and Indonesia?

  • Still tied to the British sovereign, Australia is shaped by its imperial legacy, multicultural society and the vibrant postcolonial resurgence of Aboriginal peoples. Its standard of living remains high, given its integration into the world economy and its role as a source of raw materials and services for China's and India's development. Historically allied to European and North American powers, Australia is currently in the process of integrating itself more fully into its Asian neighborhood.
  • The Pacific island microstate of Fiji is inhabited in almost equal proportions by Native Fijians and overseas Indians whose ancestors came as indentured laborers to Fiji in the 19th Century. Based on tourism and agriculture, Fiji's economy is subject to global market forces at the same time that it is dealing with the severe impacts of global warming, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
  • The Buddhist Kingdom of Thailand is a land of stark contrasts. Its dramatic culture and welcoming people have made it a renowned tourist destination. At the same time it is plagued by ingrained economic inequality, severe practices of exploitation, and complex regional geopolitics.
  • Bali is a culturally autonomous Hindu island in the Islamic Indonesian archipelago. Renowned for the way in which its ancient culture continues to thrive and adapt itself to the modern world, it is an example of a people striving to manage its cultural and environmental resources in the face of globalization.

Semester One: Fiji, Australia, Thailand


Ecology, Economy & Politics in the Asia-Pacific

Global Studies: Theories, Issues, Solutions

Religion, Culture, and Politics in Thailand

Development: Theory and Practice

Schedule: Fall 2016 (Sep 9 – Dec 18)

Fiji: Sep 9 - 25

2.5 weeks

Australia: Sep 25 - Oct 23

4 weeks

Thailand: Oct 24 - Dec 18

8 weeks

Semester Two: Australia, Bali


Culture, Politics and Identity in Australasia

Innovative Encounters with Nature and Knowledge

Australia's First Peoples

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Sustainable Development

Junior Research Seminar

Schedule: Spring 2017 (Jan 28 – May 13)

Australia: Jan 28 - Apr 26

12.5 weeks

Bali: Apr 26 - May 13

2.5 weeks