ACYD Alumni News

2013 ACYD Delegate LIU Yun 刘韵 has been awarded the 2013 University of Sydney John C Harsanyi Medal for International Student Achievement


Yun Liu, a Chinese delegate to the 2013 Australia-China Youth Dialogue and this year’s University of Sydney China Studies Centre Fellow, has recently been awarded the 2013 University of Sydney John C Harsanyi Medal for International Student Achievement. Established in 2012, the Harsanyi Medal is awarded to honour academic excellence and contribution to the diverse life of the University and the broader community by an international student.

As a recent graduate of the University of Sydney, Yun has left a lasting impression on the University community through her diverse contributions to student life. Keen to enrich the experience of her fellow international students, she took on the position of international student intern at the University of Sydney Union. The role saw her organise an array of events to inspire international students to become more involved in campus activities including Multicultural Night, a pilot program that has since developed into a full Festival. As the vice-president of Unimates, the largest intercultural society on campus, she actively sought out volunteering and mentoring opportunities for international students. Yun served as the Students Representative Council international student officer and was also an international student ambassador in the International Office. In 2012, she was awarded a University of Sydney Union Blue Award for her outstanding contribution to the student community.

Yun combined all this with very strong academic performance, graduating with First Class Honours in Bachelor of International and Global Studies in April 2013. During her Honours year, she completed a 19,000-word thesis on Taiwan’s changing economic policymaking towards China Mainland. Her outstanding academic record has brought her many awards, including the 2009 International Merit Scholarship and the 2010 Academic Merit Prize.

Yun’s strong interest in international affairs and unique international experiences have also been demonstrated through her diverse working experiences including Lowy Institute for International Policy as an intern, the Office of Vice-Chancellor International Leaders Program as a project assistant and a media intern at China Radio International.

2013 ACYD Delegate Timothy Coghlan (高靖峰) has won the Young Australia China Alumni of the Year Award

Mr. Timothy Coghlan- Senior Manager, Luxury Retail, Savills Property Services China

Winner of Young Australia China Alumni of the Year Award

Australian National University Alumnus Beijing Based

Based in Beijing, Timothy Coghlan leads the luxury retail team for Savills Property Services China and advises the world’s most iconic fashion and luxury brands on their China entry, expansion and retail strategies. His clients include, Louis Vuitton Group (LVMH Group), Gucci Group (Kering), Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Tiffany & Co., etc.

In 2011, Timothy created and wrote over 100 articles and opinion pieces on the business of fashion in China for the site. Time permitting, he still writes for and with his expertise he often speaks at luxury and fashion industry events including seminars hosted by Tsinghua University, Goldman Sachs and the Melbourne Fashion festival.

As an Australian Fashion Industry Ambassador to China, Timothy struts his own brand of ‘catwalk diplomacy’ and he set up the Australia-China Fashion Alliance (ACFA) project to provide strategic guidance to the development of Australian fashion and related services in China.

In 2012, ACFA received funding through DFAT’s Australia-China Council and in 2013, Timothy led the first-ever official Chinese fashion industry delegation to visit Australia. In October 2013, Timothy will bring the first official Australian Fashion Delegation to Beijing to attend China Fashion Week and formalise the Australia-China Fashion Alliance by signing an MOU committing the two countries to foster mutual cooperation, open commercial dialogues and facilitate regular fashion industry exchange for government, universities, wool producers, fashion brands and fashion designers etc.

Timothy graduated from the Australian National University with degrees in both Economics and East Asian Studies (Mandarin). Since graduation, he has spent his entire career in Asia with many years in both China and Japan.

In addition his ‘regular’ work activities Timothy serves as an Australian International Alumni Councilor for China, Committee Member of the Australia-China Young Professionals Initiative (Beijing Chapter) and is a delegate and the Creative Industries Session organiser for the 2013 Australia-China Youth Dialogue.

Retrieved from:

Henry Makeham's article published in Chinese Journal of International Politics: 'Chinese Perspectives on the Feasibility of an Asia Pacific Community'

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ACYD Founder Henry Makeham has had an article published in the Chinese Journal of International Politics entitled 'Chinese Perspectives on the Feasibility of an Asia Pacific Community'. The full text of the article can be found on Oxford Journals here. The PDF version can be found here.  

The Chinese Journal of International Politics is a rising platform for peer-reviewed academic papers and articles related to China or have implication for Chinese foreign policy. It focus on the advancement of systematic and rigorous study of international relations and publishes modern methodology, research products of historical studies and policy-oriented research.


The full citation for this article is: Chinese Perspectives on the Feasibility of an Asia Pacific Community, Henry F. Makeham, The Chinese Journal of International Politics 2013; doi: 10.1093/cjip/pot012

Henry Makeham and Gregory Ainsworth's article published in the Business Spectator: 'Aussie jingoism jangles in the Chinese century'

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ACYD Founder Henry Makeham and ACYD Partnership Manager Gregory Ainsworth have had an article published in the Business Spectator entitled 'Aussie jingoism jangles in the Chinese century'. The article can be found on the Business Spectator here and the ACYD website here. The ACYD is proud to have the Business Spectator as its 2013 Media Partner.

ACYD Publications Manager, Neil Thomas: 'It's not the Asian dream, it's the reality'

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IN a recent article ‘Rude awakening from Asia study dream’, Natalie Karam questioned whether there was sufficient demand from Australian students for the Asia study abroad opportunities offered by the ALP’s Asiabound scheme and the Coalition’s broader New Colombo Plan.

Ms Karam raises salient points that need to be addressed for the Australian educational sector to thrive in the Asian Century. But her factual premise is not completely sound, her arguments accept stereotyped views of Asia as unchangeable, and she does not mention Asian languages.

Firstly, there in fact does seem to be demand for Asia study. Bernard Lane reported in The Australian that the first round of Asiabound grant applications was heavily oversubscribed, and that a full allocation of $10.6m has been made to 52 institutions to provide opportunities for 3700 Australian students to participate in semester, short-term, and language study programs in Asia.

Despite the quoted concerns of an industry professional that student interest will not match allocations, as universities and not individuals make Asiabound applications, it is unlikely the money will not go towards inducing student participation in new Asia study programs. This is because universities must return any unspent funding. Furthermore, Asiabound allocates $3m to fund a national campaign promoting the benefits of Asia study to students and parents.

We should not underestimate the power of political leadership and financial incentive to impact the attitudes and choices of the Australian population.

The article also ignores booming Australia-Asia youth engagement. The Australia-China Youth Association Group alone boasts over 5000 members across chapters in 20 Australian universities, with high-level support from the ANU and DFAT. The Australia-China Youth Dialogue, Australia-India Youth Dialogue, Australia-Korea Youth Dialogue, and Australia-Indonesia Youth Association have all been founded and grown rapidly over the last few years.

Secondly, I agree with Ms Karam in the sense that student demand could indeed be higher. She insightfully identifies many reasons why Australian students “haven't quite embraced the fact that our future is inside of Asia”, but she accepts cultural stereotypes as immutable barriers and does not offer solutions.

Essentially, “Asia does not seem new, exciting or different to us…the casual familiarity we have with the region is a turn-off.” I concur with Ms Karam that it is ignorant to assume that “eating pad thai” and “lazing by the beach” mean you have ‘experienced Asia’.

But Australians should not just accept Michael Wesley’s insight that we are “insular internationalists”, well travelled but ignorant of the places we go. It seems the problem is that Australians do not know enough about Asia to realise how diverse and interesting it really is, and that it boasts texture far richer than its tacky tourist hotspots.

Education is the key. This is precisely why we need political support and promotional funding for programs like Asiabound and the New Colombo Plan, to show Australian students that Asia is in fact a dynamic and liveable region, not just a place to swig Bintangs and splurge on room service.

The ‘Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia’ national curriculum priority is also a positive step towards expanding the cultural and educational horizons of future generations.

Thirdly, a topic absent from Ms Karam’s article is what I believe to be a major reason why student demand for Asia study has not been as high as it should be; Asian languages.

Judging from the article and her LinkedIn page, it seems Ms Karam does not speak an Asian language. From my own experience, this can be a game changer. People naturally prefer to interact in their first language, especially in their own country. Ms Karam’s lament that living in Asia is disappointing compared to holidaying there due to the lack of “student life” is misguided; it exists everywhere but is primarily conducted in the local language.

The article also depicts Asian students as distant and perplexing: “Our relative ‘otherness’ was intriguing to one another.” But the language of cultural inscrutability masks the reality of fundamental human commonalities behind different beliefs and customs. The key is being able to communicate them.

I am not saying that studying in Asia without an Asian language is worthless, it is an invaluable experience that I would recommend to any Australian, but if you met an Asian student in Australia who could not speak English I doubt you would invite him to the pub to have a drink and watch the footy. Language and cultural participation are intertwined when Australians go to Asia too.

I study Chinese (with law and politics), and whilst I am not eloquently fluent, being able to hold my own at the dinner table and read the Chinese news has led to meaningful friendships, professional employment, and an increasing ability to partake in Chinese society.

So, whilst Asiabound and the New Colombo Plan are laudable policy, a better way to promote tertiary study in and of Asia would be to implement the 2012 Australia in the Asian Century White Paper recommendation to teach Australians an Asian language throughout primary and secondary school. That would mean they are interested and equipped for immersing themselves in an Asian society when they start university. Learning a second language at university is possible, but the younger you are the better.

However, prospects are uncertain. In 2010, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations released a report showing Asian language schooling in free-fall, with for instance only five per cent of Australian schools teaching Chinese. Neither the ALP nor Coalition has committed funding to realising the White Paper’s aspirational goal, though the Coalition have announced a target of 40 per cent of school graduates speaking a foreign language within a decade.

Australia should follow the example of the Victorian state government, the leader in realising the possibility of a bilingual Australia through its ‘Vision for Languages Education’ policy and Hamer Scholarship program.

Speaking the languages and understanding the cultures of Asia would enrich the social life of the nation, augment strategic involvement in the region, and boost business within the interaction-based non-primary sectors the Australian economy rapidly needs to diversify into. Monolingualism is not a national strength.

Ultimately, to argue that current lack of huge demand justifies winding back educational engagement with Asia is prematurely defeatist.

Asia is not a dream we need to awake from. It is a reality we need to act upon.

This article first appeared in The Australian on the 30th of August 2013:

ACYD Publications Manager, Neil Thomas: 'Asian White Paper or white elephant'


Kevin Rudd's speech to the Lowy Institute yesterday underscored the value of deepening Australia's engagement with Asia. It's a message the next Australian government - whether Coalition or ALP - needs to take seriously, argues Neil Thomas. At the Lowy Institute in Sydney yesterday Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the first significantspeech of the election campaign about Australia's international relations.

Most coverage of the speech centred on controversial plans to move naval assets from Sydney to Brisbane and possible humanitarian intervention in Syria.

Much less reported, though possibly of more long-term significance, was Rudd's vision of Australia as an activist regional and global middle power. He emphasised that "we are now living in the Asian century, this is no longer a prospect, this is a reality".

There is now bipartisan acknowledgment that Australia is increasingly economically, diplomatically, and strategically reliant on Asia, and China in particular.

But according to Rudd, shifting Chinese growth patterns mean "Australia's prosperity is simply no longer assured on the back of the China mining boom alone...To ensure future prosperity we must diversify our economy”, he said, by exporting agriculture and professional services to rapidly-growing Asian consumer populations.

However, for Australia to negotiate fierce global competition and position itself successfully in Asia will "require investment, education, training, and systemic not episodic engagement by governments".

To this end, Rudd endorsed the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper as "the most comprehensive review of Australia's regional engagement strategy for 20 years", asserting that to become prosperous Australia must become "comprehensively Asia-literate".

Rudd's speech yesterday was the first significant mention of Asia-literacy or the White Paper during this election campaign.

When then-PM Julia Gillard unveiled the White Paper in October 2012, she hailed it as a flagship "road map for national success".

It boldly recommended that Australian schoolchildren be offered continuous education in one of four priority Asian languages – Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, and Indonesian – and proposed aspirational targets for a third of business directors and senior public servants to possess "deep experience in and knowledge of Asia" by 2025.

Rudd has benefited from extensive Chinese language and Asian studies education and as a backbencherendorsed it as "a wake-up call for all Australians".

But the ALP has yet to place significant political capital or funding behind actually implementing the White Paper's proposal to reverse Australian mono-lingualism and revolutionise Asian language education.

Rudd's speech was stirring stuff, but it contained too much rhetoric and not enough concrete proposals.

Given such issues scarcely register in marginal-electorate calculations, perhaps it was a final ambassadorial flourish before being voted out of office?

The fate of the White Paper under a Coalition government is uncertain.

Encouragingly, the Coalition has declared a target to have 40 per cent of school graduates speaking a foreign language within a decade.

But Tony Abbott’s reaction to the White Paper's call for a more Asia-literate nation echoed John Howard'srefusal to engage with Australian cultural identity beyond the Anglosphere when he commented that "the best guarantee of Australian participation in the Asian century is a strong economy".

Julie Bishop has also echoed such sentiment during this election campaign, confirming the Coalition would pursue a narrow vision of "economic diplomacy" focused upon business and trade.

But is Asia-literacy even important for Australia's national future?

Pundits argue that Australia is doing well and does not need to be Asia-literate (or anywhere-literate) because "money talks in any language".

But such views exemplify the present complacency of an Australia that has not experienced recession for two decades, which has not prepared itself well for the future and the necessary structural adjustment to our educational institutions and socio-economic systems in order to thrive in the Asian Century.

Understanding the cultures and speaking the languages of Asia is key to ensuring Australia's long-term economic success, as business would flourish with amplified people-to-people engagement, intergovernmental trust, and strategic involvement in the region.

This is especially so within the dynamic non-primary sectors Australia needs to develop, where success is based far more upon networks and interactions than mineral deposits.

To be fair, firm political commitments have been made to Asia-literacy at the tertiary level.

The ALP's Asiabound scheme will provide $10.6m for 3700 Australians to study in Asia.

The Coalition's New Colombo Plan goes further by supporting mass tertiary programs and internship placements, proposing to make Asia study "the norm".

But presence alone does not guarantee meaningful engagement, and most participants will still learn and live in English.

A better way to promote tertiary study in and of Asia would be to teach Australians an Asian language throughout primary and secondary school, so that they are interested and equipped for immersing themselves in an Asian society when they start university.

But, for instance, only five per cent of Australian schools currently teach Chinese.

Implementing the visionary language education recommendations of the White Paper, accompanied by the new national curriculum, reversal of tertiary funding cuts, expanded language-teaching, skilled migration, and support for cross-cultural youth organisations, would unlock myriad national, social, and frankly human benefits that spring from fluency in other languages and cultures.

Australian engagement with Asia would be welcomed and reciprocated by the polities and publics of countries where attitudes towards Australia tend to be deservedly coloured by indifference at its perceived irrelevance or perhaps of cultural xenophobia (that focused animosity towards asylum seekers does not help to quell).

So hopefully the party that takes office on September 7 will defy the initial predictions of many commentators: that the will and funding to realise the White Paper's vision for an Asia-literate Australian population will not materialise.

Australia has a unique opportunity to become a geographically close, economically important, and culturally competent Western country in Asia. This promise could be squandered by a failure to invest in Asia-literate human capital.

This article was first published on the 28th of August 2013 in 'The Drum':

ACYD Alumni Huw Polhner article in Australia-China Connections: 'Internships will help build Asia skills'


If Australia is serious about its position in the Asian century, more opportunities for Asian-based internships need to be available for Australian students and graduates, writes Asialink’s Huw Pohlner.

Australia needs urgent, coordinated action to overcome our asymmetric engagement with Asia and improve our Asia capabilities and intercultural intelligence. This will require substantial new resources, including providing opportunities and incentives to gain Asian experience.

Our relationship with China provides an example of the asymmetries in Australia’s Asia engagement. Australia’s resources trade with China has grown exponentially for over two decades, and Chinese international students now far outnumber any other foreign national group in Australian schools and universities. But the number of Australian students from non-Chinese backgrounds who study Chinese at year 12 languishes at only 300 or so in any given year.

Only 6 percent of Australian year 12 students study any Asian language, a figure that has remained static for over a decade. And university exchange student and intern flows out of Australia are limited and continue to favour experience in developed Western economies.

Internships and other forms of work experience in Asia will be fundamental in addressing this imbalance, building greater understanding and connections with Asia and developing an Asia-capable Australian workforce. Business, governments and educational institutions must work together to build demand for – and increase the supply of – targeted internship opportunities for Australians across the Asian region.

Asialink’s 2012 report, Developing an Asia Capable Workforce, found that Australian businesses see capability issues as among the greatest impediments to planned expansion into Asia. Less than half of 380 businesses surveyed had any board members or senior executives with Asian experience or language ability.

Peer-reviewed research and global business experience highlight the benefits of spending time overseas to global-mindedness and, in this context, Asia capability. The Asia Capable Workforce report listed ‘extensive experience operating in Asia’ as a key component of Asia capability. One of the most effective and lasting ways people can gain such experience is by working and/or studying in Asia, including through exchanges and internships.

But too few Australians are gaining such experience in Asia. International study experiences and internship opportunities for Australians remain weighted in favour of advanced English-speaking economies.

Internships contribute to the development of not just knowledge, but also practical skills and professional networks. They are accessible to workers and students alike, including through secondments arranged by Australian employers. Internships can also be undertaken before, during or after a period of educational exchange to an Asian country. Aside from being relatively short in duration and therefore broadly accessible, internships have the major added benefit of increasing employability.

Empirical studies support anecdotal evidence that university graduates with internship experience are perceived to be better prepared to enter the workforce and more marketable to employers. A 2013 survey of final-year undergraduates in the United Kingdom revealed that students with internship experience were three times more likely to get job offers before graduating than their peers without such experience.

But internships must be designed and implemented appropriately. Well-designed internships can contribute to Asia capability if three core internship components (experience, networks and knowledge) are explicitly incorporated into an Asia-focused program.

Australians need access to internships that are deliberately designed to build their Asia capabilities. For this to happen, business, government and the education sector will need to work together, and efforts to improve access to opportunities must be matched by efforts to increase demand.

Businesses should establish new or expand existing internal programs – and partnerships with universities and internship providers – to open up their offices in Australia and across the region to interns. They must continue to communicate to government and the education sector the importance they place on Asia capability and the relevance of practical work experience.

Governments should further implement the recommendations relating to Asia-relevant capabilities made in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper. State and federal governments should support further academic and industry research to assess the impact of internship programs on Asia capability and employability.

Universities should expand student mobility programs in Asia to allow more students to include time there as a credited component of their degree program. Student exchanges should be supplemented with practical professional internship opportunities where possible. The relevance and importance of practical experience in an Asia-focused organisation to students’ future careers should be promoted, moving away from an Anglo- and Eurocentric view of overseas opportunities.

Above all, internships must be designed and implemented according to best practice in program management and developing Asia capability. High-quality internships will generate further demand, especially if supported by the business sector through clear indications that Asian experience is highly valued.

This article first appeared in Australia-China Connections:

Exclusive for ACYD Alumni: 2013 Australia-China Youth Dialogue Dinners – Save The Date 26/09/13 & 27/09/13

Exclusive for ACYD Alumni: 2013 Australia-China Youth Dialogue Dinners – Save The Date 26/09/13 & 27/09/13

Past ACYD delegates please save the 24th of September 2013 for an exclusive dinner in Canberra at the opening reception for the 2013 Australia China Youth Dialogue. This evening promises to be a tremendous occasion for ACYD alumni to meet delegates from all years, meet this year’s delegates and enjoy a dinner with world renowned guest speakers.

ACYD Alumni…where are they now? Amy King

Amy King - Alumni Shot

1. What have you been working on since participating in the Dialogue in 2010?

After participating in the Dialogue in Beijing and Shanghai in 2010, I went straight back to Beijing to complete another round of archival research in the Chinese Foreign Ministry. This archival research formed part of the research for my PhD on China's foreign economic policy towards Japan during the first two decades of the Cold War. Drawing on hundreds of recently declassified Chinese archival records, my PhD argued that despite China’s experience of Japanese imperialism, industrialisation and war during the first half of the twentieth century, China's Communist leaders viewed Japan as an important source of industrial goods, technology and expertise, and a symbol of a modern, industrialised nation-state. This meant that after 1949--and despite the fact that they were situated on opposite sides of the Cold War divide, China's leaders tried hard to rebuild an economic relationship with Japan. My research challenges a couple of common narratives that we often hear about the China-Japan relationship: either that China-Japan relations were nonexistent before diplomatic recognition in 1972, or that they have been purely conflict-ridden since the end of the Second World War. After completing my PhD at Oxford University in 2012, I moved back to Australia in 2013 to take up a Lectureship with the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. At the ANU I teach on international security in the Asia-Pacific, and on Chinese defence and security policy.

2. How has the Dialogue helped you get to where you are?

The Dialogue was a fantastic way to meet a whole range of Australians and Chinese working on cutting edge issues facing China today. During the 2010 Dialogue, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to hear from people like Richard Rigby, Jeremy Goldkorn, Geremie Barme, Philippa Jones, and Jingdong Yuan, who are leading experts on China's foreign policy, media, history, environment and security. Speaking with these experts, and discussing with fellow delegates the issues raised at the Dialogue, has strongly shaped my thinking about China.

3. How do you influence the Australia China relationship on a day to day basis?

Although my own work does not focus specifically on the Australia-China relationship, there are a number of ways in which I think my research and teaching is having some small influence on this relationship. In my research, I try to enhance our understanding of China, and how China's history--particularly its history of conflict and economic interdependence with Japan--play a role in shaping it's foreign policy and security outlook today. I think we in Australia still have a fairly limited understanding of China's past and present foreign and security policy, partly as a result of the difficulty of studying China and getting access to its archives, official documents, and policy-making community. Though there are challenges to studying China, it is by no means impossible, and I hope that in the coming years I can contribute to the impressive community of China scholars at the ANU who are all trying to increase our understanding of China. Outside of my own research, every year I teach a hundred or so undergraduates and postgraduates at the ANU about China. Many of these students will go on to play a role in Australia's business, foreign policy, defence and aid relationship with China, and so I hope that through the debates and discussions we have about China in my lectures and seminars, I am contributing to Australia's future China-watching community.

Amy King will be a facilitator for the crisis simulation session at the 2013 Australia-China Youth Dialogue