Media Release – 18 September 2012

Australia’s knowledge of and relationships with Asia — including our identity within the region and connections with India — will be in the spotlight at a forum in Canberra next week.

The Inaugural CHASS (Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) Forum — to be held at the University of Canberra on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 September 2012 — will focus on the impact that rapidly changing technology and scientific research are having on the lives of Australians.

Leading commentators, academics, strategists, politicians and journalists from Australia and overseas, including India, will be exploring and debating the big issues in diverse areas including the arts, technology, science, policy making and national identity.

“There’s no doubt the times are changing rapidly, and the impact of this change is being felt far and wide and in a variety of areas, from the arts through to education,” said CHASS President, Professor Sue Willis.

“It’s vital to ensure that the human element is not forgotten in amongst these challenges and opportunities.   This forum puts this very issue into the spotlight, and represents a unique opportunity to learn from and engage with great minds on a variety of topics.”

“The forum will reveal the latest thinking about how the human dimension is integrating with the changes happening across technology, science and society in general.  These are issues of national and global significance, and we’re looking forward to some robust discussions,” Professor Willis continued.

As part of the session Australia in the Asian Century, speakers will explore the deeper understanding required for a long-term productive relationship with India and whether our sense of importance in the region is overinflated.

Speakers include Joe Hildebrand (journalist, political commentator and host of ABC2’s highest ever rating program Dumb, Drunk and Racist), Professor Amitabh Mattoo (Director, Australia India Institute) and Kathie Kirby (Executive Director, Asia Education Foundation).  The session will be chaired by Professor John Simons, CHASS Board Member and Executive Dean of Arts at Macquarie University.

These speakers will join a who’s who of national and international social commentators and industry experts at other forum sessions, including Waleed Aly (broadcaster, author and academic), Lars Klüver (Director – Danish Board of Technology) and Harsh Shrivastava (Consultant – Planning Commission, India).

For more information and online registrations go to: http://www.conferenceco.com.au/chass.

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