Conferences by Year

The New Asian Middle Class: Impact on Canada and the World

March 20-21, 2019
Ottawa, ON

The International Development Research Centre, Global Affairs Canada, and the China Institute of the University of Alberta are hosting a forum themed The New Asian Middle Class: Impact on Canada and the World. Invited speakers and participants are leading opinion makers on Asia Pacific issues as well as participants from the business, policy, academic and civil society communities interested in Canada’s growing relations with the region.

Rapid economic growth in Asia is not only making a difference within countries but also around the world. The implications for trade have taken centre stage, but many other aspects of international engagement are also shifting. For Canada and other countries, those changes in income (including income inequality) mean we need to think differently about development cooperation, people-to-people exchanges (including immigration, tourism, international study, and culture), political and social developments, technological innovation, as well as investment and trading relationships. This day-long event will showcase leading analysis that Canadians – and other global players – need to know.

Program (Draft)

This is an English-only event.

*Program subject to change

Day One
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Lester B. Pearson Building, 125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON

17:00   Registration

17:30   Welcome Reception and Opening Session
Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Global Affairs Canada

18:15   Call to Order – Introduction
Moderator

Alejandro Reyes, Senior Policy Adviser, Global Affairs Canada

Keynote Speaker
Chandran Nair, Founder and CEO, Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT)
The Great Middle Class Expansion in Asia: Consumptionomics and the Sustainable State

19:30   Reception Ends

•Please note that the Lester B. Pearson Building is a secure building. The name on the registration must match the one on your government issued ID. The invitation for the reception is not transferable without advance notice to the China Institute.




Day Two
Thursday, March 21, 2019
International Development Research Centre, 150 Kent Street, Ottawa, ON
*IDRC is located on the 8th floor


08:30 Registration and Continental Breakfast

09:00 – 09:15 Welcoming Remarks
Dominique Charron, Vice-President, Programs and Partnerships, International Development Research Centre
Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Global Affairs Canada


09:15 – 09:45 Panel 1: Setting the Scene – The Asian Middle Class Phenomenon
A scene-setting conversation with two leading thought leaders – one from Canada and one from Asia – will outline the key trends playing out in Asia from the rapid growth and expansion of the region’s middle class to the rising participation of women in the workplace. What do we mean when we talk about the rising Asian middle class? What changes in society (particularly in gender inclusion), politics, technology, the environment, the economy and other spheres do we need to follow in order to understand the big picture?

Moderator
Gordon Houlden, Director, China Institute, University of Alberta

Speakers
Pamela Mar, Director, Sustainability, Fung Group, Hong Kong
John Ravenhill, Director, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo


09:45 – 10:55 Panel 2: Beyond Consumption Culture
As the rising Asian middle class creates more jobs and consumes more goods, trading countries are busy planning their expansion in Asian marketplaces. Yet increased consumption is not just an economic driver: consumption also builds consumer culture and identity. What political, environmental, and social changes (including norms about gender) are we witnessing? Are those changes affecting Canada and Canadians?

Moderator
Kaiser Kuo, Host, Sinica Podcast, SupChina

Speakers
Fei Yu, Deputy Representative, North American Representative Office, Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Erik Martinez Kuhonta, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University


10:55 – 11:10 Networking Break

11:10 – 12:20 Panel 3: Technology’s Fourth Industrial Revolution
Driven by Asian middle class expansion and investment, Asian economies are leading the way in mobile communications, fintech, and e-commerce. What are the implications for Canada of Asia’s emergence as a hub for innovation and as standard-setter for a global market? What other impacts are we seeing – for example, from increased internet access and direct people-to-people communications – that change how Canada understands the technology revolution?

Moderator
Vasuki Shastry, author (Resurgent Indonesia), Associate Asia-Pacific Fellow, Chatham House, London

Speakers
Kaiser Kuo, Host, Sinica Podcast, SupChina
Erin J. Kelly, CEO, Advanced Symbolics

12:20 – 13:20 Luncheon & Keynote: The Impact of the Rising Middle Class and Gender Inclusion in Asia

Introduction
Gordon Houlden, Director, China Institute, University of Alberta

Remarks
Senator Yuen Pau Woo, Senate of Canada

Moderator
Arjan de Haan, Director, Inclusive Economies, International Development Research Centre

Keynote Speaker
Sonalde Desai, Professor, University of Maryland


13:20 – 14:30 Panel 4: Mobility of People and Ideas
Asian countries are looking outward and their citizens venturing to all the corners of the earth as tourists, students, workers, and investors. That mobility of people has economic impact in countries such as Canada, but it also signals mobility of ideas in both directions. What do we know about the impact in Canada so far? What can we expect in the years to come?

Moderator
Pamela Mar, Director, Sustainability, Fung Group, Hong Kong

Speakers
Sabina Dewan, President and Executive Director, JustJobs Network
Vasuki Shastry, author (Resurgent Indonesia), Associate Asia-Pacific Fellow, Chatham House, London


14:30 – 14:45 Networking Break

14:45 – 15:55 Panel 5: Tying the Threads – Implications for Canada

The same two scene-setting thought leaders or two others will tie together the threads of the day’s discussion to outline where they feel more work needs to be done in Canada – especially in government – to better prepare for current and future changes in Asia.

Moderators
Alison Van Rooy, Senior Policy Advisor and Convenor, Asia Pacific Policy Hub, Global Affairs Canada
& Alejandro Reyes, Senior Policy Advisor and Convenor, Asia Pacific Policy Hub, Global Affairs Canada

Speakers
Gordon Betcherman, Professor, University of Ottawa
Erol Yayboke, Deputy Director, Project on Prosperity and Development, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
John Curtis, Founding Chief Economist, Global Affairs Canada; Senior Fellow, C.D. Howe Institute


15:55 – 16:05 Close of Conference and Next Steps
Dominique Charron, Vice-President, Programs and Partnerships, International Development Research Centre (TBC)
Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Global Affairs Canada