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How Qantas Airways CEO may help Utah companies | Opinion

In the midst of finishing analysis on the financial integration of Australia with Asia, as considered by way of the prism of economic aviation, I had the possibility to interview one of many enduring champions of the convergence of the 2 areas, former CEO of Qantas Airways (1986-1989), John Menadue. His public service and subsequent advocacy for better substantive collaboration within the Indo-Pacific affords a mannequin that in some methods aligns with steps Utah has taken to interact with the ascendancy of the area.  

Menadue was born within the state of South Australia, the place he subsequently attended college within the capital, Adelaide, earlier than starting a distinguished profession in public service. Whereas on the college, he was matched with Malaysian roommates, a circumstance that ceaselessly modified his outlook on his native nation.  

After serving within the Gough Whitlam authorities within the Sixties, Prime Minister Malcolm Frasier appointed Menadue ambassador to Japan, a submit he carried out with distinction between 1977 and 1980. Whereas there he noticed super potential for better engagement with a rustic that since 1967 had change into Australia’s main buying and selling associate.  

Maybe of biggest significance, Menadue served as head of the Division of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. It was throughout that tenure that he made his biggest contribution to the protection of human rights. Through the Indo-Chinese language refugee disaster within the early Eighties, Menadue helped to relocate as much as 250,000 people and their households, an accomplishment he thought-about to be a boon to the thought of Australia as a multicultural nation.  

These encounters with Asia, stretching from East to Southeast Asia, ready him to rework Qantas Airways right into a extra regionally built-in firm within the late Eighties. He made Qantas worthwhile by boosting the variety of flights between Australia and Japan from 4 to over 20 flights per week. He additionally tried to interrupt Singapore’s stranglehold on visitors between Australia and England by establishing Bangkok instead hub for the airline.  

What makes Menadue’s Asian-oriented profession related to Utah is what he did to spice up Asian language abilities at Qantas. He sponsored college scholarships for Australians to review Asian languages. Extra ambitiously, he established the Qantas Cadetship, whereby a handful of Australian college college students had been chosen to journey to an Asian nation, examine the native language and spend time with native households.  

Whereas we regularly depend on authorities to advertise language abilities by way of investments in public training, Menadue’s artistic initiatives added business impetus to a foundational aspect of worldwide relations between any world areas.  

When Menadue’s tenure with Qantas ended (leaving the airline worthwhile, largely due to the pivot to Asian fairly than European routes), he turned to a lifetime of cultural consulting and public coverage advocacy for moderation in relations between Asia and the West by way of his on-line journal, Pearls and Irritations. 

If Menadue’s efforts in Australia appear far faraway from the modern context, they jogged my memory that world engagement begins with clear communication between peoples of differing backgrounds and viewpoints. Utah has been on the forefront of sponsoring immersive language training ever since I moved to the state.  

Whereas the rhetoric between nations within the West and Asia solely escalates, it’s vital to keep in mind that dialogue deflates the drumbeats of battle, and, as within the case of Qantas, reveals progressive methods to stimulate financial improvement with instructional initiatives that harness human capital, comparable to rising languages abilities amongst Utah’s youth.  

One other level that is perhaps thought-about is the avenue by way of which the non-public sector, together with Utah’s main companies, would possibly help instructional initiatives that bolster the state’s competitiveness. This needn’t be confined to monetary means. Continued help for mental improvement amongst staff, together with within the area of language acquisition, would spotlight the methods through which Utah leads out among the many nation’s development leaders. 

Evan Ward is affiliate professor of historical past at Brigham Younger College, the place he teaches programs on world historical past and researches the historical past of journey and tourism. 

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