Former Griffith University Young Alumnus of the Year and Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct, Dr Elise Stephenson, has been awarded a 2022 Fulbright Scholarship.

This year, Griffith will also host American scholar Professor Zhiqun Zhu through the Fulbright program.

The political science and international relations expert will work with Professor Kai He, Director of Griffith’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy (CGPP), on a project mapping how China’s rise challenges the alliance between the United States and Australia and how they should respond.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the U.S., aimed at increasing binational research collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas.

“I’ll use the scholarship to conduct my research project “Women at the Frontier: Diversity in Space” at the University of Washington, in Seattle and Washington DC as well,” an excited Dr Elise Stephenson said.

“I’ll be seeking to work with government and industry involved in the space sector, to map women’s representation, understand how gender informs contemporary leadership and decision-making, explore the implications of women and other group’s under-representation, and develop policy frameworks that can support the development of a robust and diverse space workforce.

“I came to this research from my previous background studying gender and international representation in Australia, and after witnessing the rapid progress and rise of Space 2.0 and increasing space accessibility and opportunities – one of the few industries that have been seemingly unhampered by COVID-19.

“My research will contribute to ensuring we have the policy infrastructure in place to support humanity’s future – and current – aims, opportunities and equality in space.”

Professor Zhiqun Zhu

Professor Zhiqun Zhu’s teaching and research interests at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, on the U.S. East Coast, include U.S.-China relations, Chinese politics and foreign policy, East Asian political economy, and Indo-Pacific security.

Professor He said he was looking forward to working with someone he’d described as one of the leading American scholars in the study of US-China relations.

“Professor Zhu’s research project is well-aligned with my own research as well as CGPP’s research priorities,” he added.

“It is an interesting time for US-China relations as well as US-Australian alliances and I hope that Professor Zhu’s visit will bring us new ideas and perspectives on this important topic.”

“It will be a great opportunity for our staff and students to exchange views with a leading expert in the field.

“I also hope we might develop some joint projects on this topic in the future.”

Professor Zhu is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including A Critical Decade: China’s Foreign Policy 2008-2018; China’s New Diplomacy: Rationale, Strategies and Significance; New Dynamics in East Asian Politics: Security, Political Economy, and Society; and US-China Relations in the 21st Century: Power Transition and Peace.

Dr Stephenson was a joint member of CGPP and GAI before moving to Australian National University’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership late last year.

Currently finalising publication of her first book on women’s leadership in Australian international relations, Elise is grateful to maintain her important links with Griffith.

“I was very lucky to complete all of my undergraduate degrees, plus honours and my PhD at Griffith, and remain purposefully affiliated with Griffith Asia Institute,” she said.

“Griffith has been a great support and people have really taken the time to care – from the brilliant team at Griffith Honours College, to my former supervisors Professor Sue Harris Rimmer (a 2021 Fulbright Scholar), Professor Anne Tiernan and Dr Liz Van Acker, to Director of GAI Professor Caitlin Byrne, and to the Vice Chancellor Carolyn Evans and Executive Group.”

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans is also a Fulbright Scholar.

“Griffith has made me more bold, courageous and driven to make an impact with my research, and I am very grateful to the immense support and mentorship I have received from the University community,” Elise shared.

Griffith Honours College helps students and staff secure prestigious external scholarship opportunities, like Fulbright, to further their academic careers and offers support throughout the application process.

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