Asia: A View from Down Under

March 20, 2014

Nicole ForresterNicole Forrester, director of the Young Leaders Program at the Pacific Forum CSIS in Hawaii.

For much of the 20th century, Australia remained separate from its Asian neighbors — an island (literally) of European culture in an alien sea. During decades of instability in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Burma and Malaysia, Australia clung to its British roots.

Today, Australia is adapting to new realities, particularly the rise of China to regional superpower status and the increasing ties between Australia and its Asian neighbors. Faced with record numbers of asylum seekers, investments from the booming Asian economies, and rapidly expanding people-to-people ties, Australia is a country that is increasingly comfortable with yet challenged by its role in Asia.

Nicole Forrester is director of the Young Leaders Program at the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies in Hawaii. She has served as Consul at the Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles and as senior international and government relations advisor to the Australian Industry Group — Australia's leading industry association representing 60,000 firms employing over 1 million people.

As director of the Young Leaders Program at Pacific Forum CSIS, Forrester carries out research into the role of social media on next generation attitudes toward international issues.  She has written extensively on Australian foreign policy, Australia-U.S. relations, and on how the U.S. alliance system in the Asia-Pacific region is adapting to change.  In 2011, she was awarded the East-West Center’s Asia-Pacific Leadership Fellowship. Forrester holds a Bachelor of Social Science and Master of Public Health from Queensland University of Technology, where she also lectured.

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