2013 ACYD Video Speakers

Alistair Thornton - Feature Image

The Hon Kim Beazley, AC

Australian Ambassador to United States of America

Mr Beazley was elected to the Federal Parliament in 1980 and represented the electorates of Swan (1980-96) and Brand (1996-2007).

Mr Beazley was a Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments (1983- 96) holding, at various times, the portfolios of Defence, Finance, Transport and Communications, Employment Education and Training, Aviation, and Special Minister of State. He was Deputy Prime Minister (1995-96) and Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition (1996-01 and 2005-06). Mr Beazley served on parliamentary committees, including the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Joint Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.

After his retirement from politics in 2007, Mr Beazley was appointed Winthrop Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Western Australia. In July 2008 he was appointed Chancellor of the Australian National University, a position he held until December 2009. Mr Beazley took up his appointment as Ambassador to the United States of America in February 2010.

In 2009, Mr Beazley was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for service to the Parliament of Australia through contributions to the development of government policies in relation to defence and international relations, and as an advocate for Indigenous people, and to the community.

Mr Beazley was born in Perth. He completed a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts at the University of Western Australia. He was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship for Western Australia in 1973 and completed a Master of Philosophy at Oxford University. He is married and has three daughters.

For the video address by The Hon Kim Beazley, AC, please click here.


Michael Clifton

Senior Trade Commissioner (Shanghai), Austrade

Michael Clifton has enjoyed a diverse and varied career including trade and defence appointments in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka and the Middle East. Fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, Michael’s career highlights include several postings to Hong Kong, three years at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo and four years as Senior Trade Commissioner and Consul General in Osaka. On his return from Osaka, he served as North East Asia adviser to the Minister for Trade, Simon Crean. Prior to his appointment as Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in Shanghai and Country Manager (China), Michael served as Principal Adviser and Chief of Staff to Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of New South Wales and is married with three children.

For the video address by Michael Clifton, please click here.


Keith Richburg

Spring Fellow, Harvard University’s Kennedy Institute of Politics; and former Washington Post journalist

Keith B. Richburg spent more than 20 years overseas for The Washington Post, serving as bureau chief in Beijing, Paris, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Nairobi and Manila as well as New York. He also was the Post’s foreign editor during 2005–2007. Richburg was Journalist-in-Residence at the East-West Center in Hawaii in 1990 and was president of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club in 1997, during the year of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

During his time at the Post, he reported on the invasion in Iraq, the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. military intervention in Somalia, the genocide in Rwanda and the 1997 Hong Kong handover and Asian economic crisis. He has won several awards, including the George Polk Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, the National Association of Black Journalists Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Richburg speaks English and French and has been learning Mandarin.

A native of Detroit, Richburg began working for the Post as a summer intern in 1978. He received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in international relations from The London School of Economics.

He is a 2013 Spring Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy Institute of Politics and also a freelance writer. In addition, he is working on a book project.

Richburg is the author of the acclaimed book, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa (Basic Books, 1997) that was described by USA TODAY as “the most honest book to emerge from Africa in a long time.”

His media appearances include MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, C-SPAN, Sky News and France 24. He has participated in forums and panels at the Overseas Press Club in New York, the East-West Center in Hawaii, Tsinghua University in Beijing as well as academic and professional panels in Washington, DC, New York, Indonesia, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

Video coming soon.


Alistair Thornton

Co-Founder, Young China Watchers

Alistair Thornton is Co-Founder of Young China Watchers, a dynamic global community of China-focused young professionals. Alistair was previously a Beijing-based Senior China Economist at IHS, a macroeconomic research firm, where his work focused on monetary policy, the property market, regional growth dynamics and the inflation outlook in China. He has published a number of papers with the Lowy Institute for International Policy, has frequently appeared on BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC and CNN to comment on the Chinese economy, and has been regularly quoted in the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Economist. Alistair did his undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh, and has Masters degrees from the University of Sydney and the University of London. He speaks Mandarin. He was based in Beijing between 2008-2013 and is now based in California, at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

For the video address by Alistair Thornton, please click here.