Australia has important geopolitical and economic interests in Korea which are sustained by a closer relationship promoting an increased awareness of Australia in Korea and Korea in Australia. This requires a widening and deepening of the areas of contact and exchange between the two countries and their peoples. The Australia-Korea Foundation was established to support the exchange and dissemination of information, and to provide a source of advice and strategic guidance, in relation to the ways in which such relations may be encouraged, strengthened and developed. Much has been accomplished since its establishment in 1992 but much also remains to be done to continue to develop the relationship to a level which matches its strategic importance.
To enhance awareness and understanding in both Australia and Korea of the importance and mutual benefits of the bilateral relationship into the future.
To strengthen the Australia-Korea relationship in ways that enhance mutual understanding and people-to-people links.
Key Priority Areas
- Trade diplomacy and geopolitics
- Technological and scientific innovation
- Building cultural understanding
- Reciprocal Australian and Korean studies
- Advance cultural and social research, dialogue and exchange in areas that improve the understanding of, or directly impact on, the bilateral relationship, including in a regional context
- Generate public awareness of Australia and Korea’s shared responsibility for promoting stability and progress in the region and globally as middle powers and the mutual importance and complementary nature of the Australia-Korea relationship
- Cooperation in Australia and Korea on research and development opportunities in areas of current and future mutual interest
- Productive Australia-Korea partnerships on contemporary issues of shared interest such as trade and investment, the environment, ageing and social change, gender and multiculturalism, innovation and technology
- Create and develop robust professional, community and institutional linkages between Australia and Korea which enhance mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill and project a well-informed and contemporary image of Australia in Korea
- Create and strengthen networks, contacts, partnerships and/or institutional linkages
- Capitalise on partnerships which increase overall value of activities
- Provide seed funding for activities in partnership with other organisations
- Facilitate a broad geographic spread of activities both in Australia and Korea
- Promote complementarities and avoid duplication with other institutions and programs active in Australia-Korea relations (e.g. New Colombo Plan)
- Increase knowledge and recognition in Korea of Australian excellence and expertise
- Support Australian studies in Korea and Korean studies in Australia
- Develop flagship projects led by Board members
- Increase public awareness and promote Foundation work through social media
- The Australia-Korea Foundation will prepare an Annual Business Plan for submission to the Minister by 31 May each year for the following financial year
- In preparing the Annual Business Plan, the Foundation will give consideration to the goals and guiding principles identified in the Strategic Plan, the effectiveness of projects funded in previous years, and undertake extensive consultations with stakeholders, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Embassy, Seoul
- The Foundation will undertake Board Performance Review based on a set of Board members’ roles and responsibilities endorsed by the Board
Opportunities and Challenges
The AKF is the Government’s key public diplomacy program for strengthening the Australia-Korea relationship. The agenda for this program continues to expand. Australia and Korea have a shared innovation interests which creates real opportunities for both countries to work together for mutually beneficial outcomes. The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) which entered into force in December 2014 provides an excellent framework for enhanced cooperation by facilitating further two-way trade including in services and investment. Security cooperation is another fast growing element of the relationship as well as working together on global issues.
Although the bilateral trade relationship has been strong for decades, in recent years the growth in services trade, driven by education and tourism, has required greater cultural awareness and understanding between the people’s of our two countries than the traditional trade in commodities and agricultural products.
Australia competes for attention with the rest of the world in Korea, not only in trade but also in higher education, tourism, health, the arts and culture. Much of the AKF’s efforts, therefore, will be directed towards increasing the prominence of Australia in Korea and building the capacity of Australians to establish and maintain enduring links with their Korean counterparts.