In the Zone 2014: A New Narrative of Prosperity and Power

2014 marked five years of thought-provoking discussion between business leaders, policymakers, intellectuals and academics at In the Zone.

A line-up of compelling speakers – including the Hon Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Hon Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia – addressed contemporary themes including food, energy and water security; the importance of open and secure trading routes for major commodities; and overcoming barriers to and increasing capital flows in the region.

Browse the proceedings of each conference and plenary session and 2014 gathering below.

1. Asian Engagement

In the opening session, the assembly heard of a potentially rewarding global century in which the strength of relationships was more important than ever before. The Premier, Colin Barnett, said: 'This is the defining decade.' + READ MORE

2. Emerging Issues in the Zone

In this session, the assembly heard high-level discussion about the relationship between economic powerhouses the United States and China in the region. + READ MORE

3. Smart Power

A publication that investigates the presence and potential of smart power in the region was launched at In the Zone. Smart power is the combination of 'hard' economic and military powers and the 'soft' power driven by culture and norms. + READ MORE  

4. Security and rights of passage

How will the battle of the superpowers play out? This will be one of the most closely watched issues in the Indo-Pacific region in coming years. The Hon Stephen Smith said the rise of China would continue to be an international focus point. + READ MORE

5. Regional economic growth in the zone

China regards itself as being open, but remains cautious about dealing with developing countries in the Indo-Pacific Asia region. Yang Xiyu, Senior Research Fellow at the China Institute of International Affairs, stressed the need for China to be patient. + READ MORE

Concluding Session: The agenda for action

Countries in the Indo-Pacific Asia region will have to continue to build multiple networks and platforms for engagement. Professor Paul Johnson said it was apparent that countries wanted to work together in a peaceful, co-operative manner. + READ MORE

Transcending borders exhibition

Western Australia’s developing cultural and economic relationships with South Korea were highlighted through the exhibition, Transcending Borders, at The University of Western Australia’s Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.  + READ MORE

Next generation

The Next Generation initiative provides a specific opportunity for high calibre students to participate in In the Zone events. Eleven Rio Tinto education champions and eight Rio Tinto scholarship holders attended the forum in 2014.  + READ MORE

Heads of Mission

The Hon Julie Bishop MP hosted the largest diplomatic delegation ever to visit Western Australia. The 80 ambassadors and Heads of Mission attended the In the Zone Conference as a key point in their three-day visit to the state.  + READ MORE

"I am confident that in the coming decades the city of Perth will grow in importance as a centre of business, educational and technological excellence in the region. This State will also continue to develop as the epicentre of a global resource and mineral supply economy delivering the growth that has seen an economic power shift to the Asian and Indian Ocean regions." Michael Chaney
Chancellor, The University of Western Australia