Special ASEAN Roundtable: ASEAN-Australia Relations for the Next 50 Years




The ASEAN Studies Centre at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, in partnership with the High Commission of Australia in Singapore, will organise a Special ASEAN Roundtable on “ASEAN-Australia Relations for the Next 50 Years”. The roundtable will discuss a newly published report titled “Comprehensive Strategic Partners: ASEAN and Australia After the First 50 Years” by Australian, Singaporean, Cambodian and Indonesian analysts on the past, present and future of the ASEAN-Australia connections.

A high-level panel comprising H.E. Allaster Cox, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore; Ms Karen Ong, Deputy Director-General of the ASEAN Directorate at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Professor Nicholas Farrelly, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Tasmania; and Ms Sharon Seah, Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS will discuss the report’s findings. The discussion will cover contemporary issues including the Quad and the emergence of new minilaterals, as well as new AUKUS developments.

Mr Choi Shing Kwok, Director and CEO of the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute will moderate the discussion.

The roundtable will be followed by a drinks and networking reception.

Download the programme here.

About the Speakers

H.E. Allaster Cox is the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore. Prior to this, he was the First Assistant Secretary Strategy & Development in the Office of Southeast Asia (2022-2023), following his posting to Jakarta (2017-2021) as Deputy Head of Mission. Mr Cox has had a long career in Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) working mainly on Southeast Asia, including in Canberra as Division Head for Southeast Asia (2013-2017), and overseas as Ambassador to Vietnam (2008-2012) and Brunei Darussalam (2001-2003). He has previously worked on the US relationship including as Branch Head for Asia, Americas and Trade (International Division) at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2004-2006) and later at US Branch in DFAT (2006-2007). He was the Head of Policy Planning at DFAT in 2007-2008 and has had earlier postings in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Brunei. Mr Cox was educated at Sydney University in Economics, Government and Law.

Ms Karen Ong has been the Deputy Director General at the ASEAN Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) since June 2022, covering issues across the three pillars of ASEAN Community. She previously served as the Minister Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Singapore Embassy in Paris from August 2016 to December 2021 and was concurrently accredited as the Alternate Permanent Delegate of Singapore to UNESCO. She has handled various portfolios in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, covering sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe and Southeast Asia, as well as nuclear non-proliferation issues and the IAEA. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours) in Political Science from the National University of Singapore, an First Class Honours degree in English from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Master of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. (MFA postgraduate degree scholarship).

Professor Nicholas Farrelly is a Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Tasmania, where he was previously Head of Social Sciences. Earlier in his career he held academic positions at the Australian National University, including as Associate Dean in the College of Asia and the Pacific. A graduate of the ANU and the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, Nicholas is on the board of the Australia-ASEAN Council and is also a Director of Australia’s National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. He is a co-author of Comprehensive Strategic Partners: ASEAN and Australia after the first 50 years published in 2024.

Ms Sharon Seah is Senior Fellow and concurrent Coordinator of ASEAN Studies Centre and the Climate Change in Southeast Asia Programme at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. Prior to academia, Ms Seah spent 15 years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore and the National Environment Agency. Her research interests are in ASEAN, multilateralism, rule of law, and climate change. Ms Seah graduated with a Master in Public and International Law from the University of Melbourne in 2018. She is co-editor of 50 Years of ASEAN and Singapore (World Scientific: 2017) and editor of Building a New Legal Order for the Oceans (NUS Press: 2019) for Tommy Koh. She is also the lead author of The State of Southeast Asia Survey Report and the Southeast Asia Climate Outlook Survey. Ms Seah is a co-author of Comprehensive Strategic Partners: ASEAN and Australia after the first 50 years published in 2024.


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.

If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


May 20 2024


4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

More Info



ISEAS Seminar Room 1 & 2 / Webinar