Our role in the ‘Asian Century’

I am pleased to announce the establishment of a high level taskforce to consider how best to position Griffith University in what has been popularly described as the “Asian Century.”

As I’m sure you are aware, Griffith was initially established with a strong focus on Asia. We were the first University to develop and offer a degree in Asian studies and we have retained that commitment to deep engagement with Asia ever since.

Many discipline and research areas are heavily engaged in Asia-relevant research, and we have ongoing partnerships and collaborations with a wide range of Asian universities and research institutions. Indeed, we recently awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Chunli Bai, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and one of China’s most distinguished scientists.

There are many other instances of successful and enduring engagement with China, and with other parts of Asia throughout the University. Two of the Areas of Strategic Investment I have funded are Asia- focused (Asian Politics and Music and Arts in the Asia-Pacific) and have contributed in significant ways to our Asia strengths.

However, with the anticipated release of Dr Ken Henry’s review of Australia’s Asia relationships and capabilities, and with the widespread recognition that the 21st century promises to be the ‘Asian Century”, I think it is time we at Griffith also reviewed our Asia programs, initiatives and collaborations with the view to further strengthening and deepening what has been a long-standing commitment of this University.

To that end I have asked Professor Russell Trood, former Senator and expert in international relations, to chair a Taskforce on Griffith in the Asian Century. The Taskforce includes representation from across the University and met for the first time on August 9. I have asked the Taskforce to provide advice on how best to position Griffith University in the Asian Century and how to further enhance the already significant engagement that we have across the Asian region. Part of that process was a call for submissions during August from interested members of staff and students.

The Review Committee members are: Professor Russell Trood – Chair; Professor Michael Powell – Pro Vice Chancellor (Business); Professor Andrew O’Neil – Director, Griffith Asia Institute; Associate Professor Sue Trevaskes – Griffith Asia Institute; Professor Zhihong Xu – Director, Environmental Futures Centre; Professor David Shum – Dean, Research (Health); Ms Nicole Brigg – Director, International; Ms Vanessa Lao – Research Development Officer (International), Office for Research.

I look forward to a stimulating, thoughtful and strategic discussion as to how Griffith can continue to lead Australia in its deep engagement with Asia.