For 25 years, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada has strived to expand Canadians’ understanding and awareness of how Asia impacts Canada and how Canada affects Asia. Our efforts over the years have included curriculum development in high schools, cultural education, trade promotion, business networking and more recently, a focus on policy-orientated research.
On April 14, 2010, the Foundation organized informal discussion with friends, Canada-Asia practitioners and policymakers. The discussion was held on the morning of our 25th anniversary gala celebration and the question we asked the group was: what should the next 25 years look like?
A lively discussion followed and by the end of the session there was a strong consensus that Canada urgently needed to respond to Asia’s growing importance.
Canada’s response would be facilitated by a pan-Canadian discussion where policymakers, Asia-practitioners and ordinary Canadians could collectively engage in a conversation on what the rise of Asia means for Canada.
In May 2010, APF Senior Fellow, Pitman Potter, wrote an editorial  that reflected some of the on-going discussions. His main argument was that the time was ripe for a broad Canadian discussion on Asia.
In August, Senior Fellow Brian Job published an article  that raised the question of what Canada would like to achieve in its relations with Southeast Asia. The question rings true for all aspects of Canada’s engagements in the region.
In October, APF Canada began to assemble a team to lead a National Conversation on Asia. The Conversation officially launched in April 2011.
In an increasingly Asia-centered world, the NCA is building a community of Canadians who believe that Asia is essential to Canada’s success.
We are helping to develop and build support for that vision, and to deliver it in our communities, our companies and through our governments.
Canadians understand the growing importance of Asia, but are reluctant to embrace Asia as part of Canada’s future, according to APF Canada’s  annual National Opinion Poll . The NCA is working to close this gap.
The National Conversation on Asia is supported by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and delivered across Canada through partnerships with individuals, businesses and civil society organisations. The NCA team includes: