Asia-Pacific Week 2016: The Faces of our Region

Sophie Ryan profiles delegates from all over the world at the 2016 ANU Asia Pacific Week. 

Sophie Ryan

Society and culture | Asia, Australia

11 July 2016

From June 26th to July 1st, the 2016 Asia-Pacific Week took place at ANU: a conference where the future leaders of our region meet. This annual showcase event sponsored by the College of Asia and the Pacific is a student-organized conference, where a student-committee selects eighty delegates who have the opportunity to learn from our leading academics and prominent public servants accessible to us in this national capital city. Though from my opinion, more importantly, these delegates have the opportunity to meet, network, make friends, and learn from each other. In short, Asia-Pacific Week is a place where leaders come together and inspiration cultivates. Here is just a snippet of the talented delegate list!


Varun Khanna is in his third year studying a Bachelor of Human Sciences at Osaka University. Originally from India, Varun moved to Japan by himself when he was 14 years of age and now speaks Hindi, Japanese and English, and is also a growingly prominent LGBT ambassador in his field. I had the pleasure of having a few conversations with Varun, and I learnt that he follows the work of academic Noam Chomsky with keen interest. It is with this interest that Varun has decided to pursue studies in neoliberalism. Varun will undoubtedly become an authentic future leader in this field with his unique Indian-Japanese perspective.




Bulat Nurmukhanov (also known by his English name, Brian Noputin), is in his third year studying a Bachelor of International Studies at the Renmin University of China. Bulat speaks native Russian and Tatar, and fluent Chinese and English. Impressively, Bulat started learning English and Chinese four years ago in China and is now fluent in both. If that is not enough, he can also speak French and Spanish at beginner level. Brian is truly an inspiration to language learners everywhere, proving that there are no limits to what you can learn, and what you can do with what you love!



Valeria Yermakova is a Benjamin Gilman Global Scholar from USA. Valeria speaks fluent Russian, and can have conversations in Chinese and Spanish. Studying at the Haas Business School at the University of Berkeley, Valeria has taught English to migrant children with no legal access to public education. She has also learnt an intermediate level of reading and writing in Mandarin, for what would normally take two years elsewhere, she achieved in three months in China. What’s more, Valeria was a competitive figure skater for ten years and a wrestler for four years. If this girl isn’t interesting, I don’t know who is!


If you are in doubt as to whether you are suited to be an APW delegate, just look to these three for inspiration. These three delegates come from a variety of scholarly backgrounds, and therefore all contributed to this year’s conference in a different way. Asia-Pacific Week is a conference by students, for students, who are all in pursuit of one thing: the growth of knowledge and understanding of each other.  If you want to meet and learn from interesting people like these three, you better apply to be a delegate next year! You won’t regret it.

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Article citation: Monsoon subeditor Sophie Ryan profiles delegates from all over the world at the 2016 ANU Asia Pacific Week.