At 40 there are no doubts.
Marking the 40th year of diplomatic relations between Australia and the People’s Republic of China, and in anticipation of the 18th National Peoples Congress, the third annual Australia-China Youth Dialogue (ACYD) was held in Beijing and Chengdu, China, from 19 to 24 October 2012.
In 2009, Dr. Stephen Fitzgerald (Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, 1973-76) highlighted the absence of – and a need for – more institutionalised dialogue between Australia and China through both governmental and non-governmental organisations. In 2012, the Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia, stated that “In the Asian century, business as usual is not enough”.
ACYD was founded to address these concerns, and promote frequent and meaningful engagement and more sophisticated cross-cultural understanding among Australian and Chinese youth. Since 2010, ACYD has brought young leaders from Australia and China together with key experts and decision makers to discuss key aspects of the bilateral relationship.
Speakers at ACYD have included HE Ms Frances Adamson, Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Justin Yifu Lin, former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank, and the Hon. Bob Hawke AC, former Prime Minister of Australia.
ACYD seeks to enhance Sino-Australian relations by promoting to forge lasting connections that will benefit both countries in the future. The main objectives of the ACYD are to:
- Facilitate an understanding of Chinese and Australian culture and society;
- Encourage talented youth to take an active interest in Australia-China relations;
- Bring together Australian and Chinese youth from different sectors to create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships; and
- Encourage youth to seek employment opportunities in future business, research, NGO and/or diplomatic roles between Australia and China.
With the respected former Australian diplomat Richard Woolcott AC recently describing the ACYD as “probably more important than the Australian American Leadership Dialogue,” it is safe to say that the ACYD is well on the way to achieving these aims.
Henry Makeham, Founder
Henry Makeham, ACYD Founder May, 2013