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, New Zealand, Fiji, and Bali (Indonesia).
Why Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Bali?
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.
Home to powerful Maori culture, breathtaking landscapes and impressive green credentials (over 80% of electricity in NZ is generated from renewables), Aotearoa/New Zealand will allow us to not only gain a deeper understanding of the Pacific, an oft-neglected world region that is playing an increasingly important role in international conversations around oceans, climate change, cultural diversity and transnational collaboration, but further add an important comparative dimension to our strong program focus on sustainability, Indigenous peoples and settler colonialism, race and ethnicity, and social justice.
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.
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, and New Zealand
Political Economy and Ecology in the Asia-Pacific Region
Innovative Encounters with Nature and Knowledge
Australia's First Peoples
Global Studies Seminar: Theories, Issues, Solutions
Semester Two: Australia and Bali
Culture, Politics and Identity in Australasia
Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Sustainable Development
Climate Change, Marine Conservation and Coastal Management
Junior Research Seminar