Economic development in Asia: US and Australian perspective

Economic development in Asia: US and Australian perspective

May 7
This event will lead discussion on the current trends and challenges in Asia, with a particular focus on China and Indonesia, from both an Australian and US perspective


Dr Andrew Sisson, Indonesia Country Director, US Agency of International Development
Sean Keenihan, Chair, StudyAdelaide
Dr Emil P Bolongaita, Executive Director, Carnegie Mellon University Australia

Event overview

The economic transformation of the Asian region into the world’s economic powerhouse is not only unstoppable, it is gathering pace. We know that this century, the region in which we live will become home to most of the world's middle class, will be the world's largest producer of goods and services, and the largest consumer of them.

While much of our current trade focus has been to meet Asia's demand for raw materials and energy, the challenge we must now address is how Australia can benefit from what Asia will need next.  Fundamental to this will be the great social and cultural benefits to be had from broadening and deepening our people-to-people links across the region.

To lead this discussion, CEDA is delighted to showcase three key leaders with first-hand experience and a rich understanding of business relationships with key Asian countries, including China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Meet the speakers

Dr Andrew Sisson
Indonesia Country Director, US Agency of International Development

Andrew has also served as acting executive director of USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab in Washington, D.C as well as mission director for the Central Asia and East Africa regions. In Kosovo, he served as deputy mission director.  A Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of minister counsellor, Andrew has more than 20 years of development experience. Under his leadership, USAID will continue to work with Indonesia under the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership inaugurated by Presidents Barack Obama and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2010.

He previously served as the Agency’s mission director in Pakistan, managing one of USAID’s largest programs worldwide.

Sean Keenihan
Chair, StudyAdelaide

Sean has extensive international engagement experience, with a focus on international competitiveness and a commitment to job creation in South Australia. He is a recognised opinion leader around Australia’s engagement with China with a particular focus on South Australia’s economic transformation through improved trade and investment dealings with China. Sean is the Chair of the Board at Norman Waterhouse and specialises in commercial, infrastructure, property and foreign investment law and transactions. Sean is the National Vice President of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) and President of the South Australian branch. ACBC provides education and support to businesses seeking out trade and investment opportunities with China.

Dr Emil P Bolongaita
Executive Director, Carnegie Mellon University Australia

Prior to his appointment in CMUA, Dr Bolongaita was the Unit Head of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In this capacity, he managed ADB’s role as the Secretariat of the CAREC program, a partnership of 10 countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and six multilateral institutions (ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank). Since it started in 2001, the program has facilitated investments of over $21 billion in the transport, energy and trade sectors among its participating countries.

Sponsorship opportunities available:

Align your brand with CEDA and communicate with hard-to-reach business, government and policy leaders by sponsoring this event. Contact CEDA Program and Innovation Team on 03 9662 3544 or email

This page contains member only content

This page contains exclusive member only content. CEDA members can login to access this content. To enquire about the benefits of CEDA membership contact us.

Public event advice – Coronavirus

At CEDA we are proud to regularly convene and engage speakers and audiences as an essential element of our efforts to broaden discussion and debate of the most important policy issues facing Australia. In doing so, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our guests and staff.

CEDA is currently delivering a digital program of public events, podcasts and virtual Trustee roundtable discussions; hybrid events with both a livestream and audience in attendance; and face-face events, where there is member demand and they can be delivered in accordance with government health advice for a specific state.

For face-to-face gatherings, CEDA is working closely with our hosts and venues to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and facilities and equipment have been properly sanitised. Attendance numbers will strictly adhere to government guidelines for each state.In line with government advice we request people that are unwell with cough or fever or other respiratory symptoms do not attend CEDA events. We also ask that you follow government advice and maintain social distancing by refraining from shaking hands or exchanging physical greetings, and wherever possible, staying at least 1.5 metres away from others.

CEDA will continue to closely monitor government advice regarding public gatherings and will follow all relevant health advice from the Australian government in relation to COVID-19.