The Australian Studies Centre at Peking University was launched in 1996 as a multi-disciplinary academic research institution with a commitment to furthering Australian studies across the University and beyond. It offers courses related to Australian studies. Creating this Centre is one of my most important initiatives following my return from Australia upon graduation from the University of Sydney as one of the ‘Gang of Nine’ scholars, the first group from China chosen to study in Australia by the Chinese Government in 1979.
I am proud to be the founding Director of the Australian Studies Centre at Peking University and its Director still 35 years after my first encounter with Australia. During all these years, I have witnessed the ever-closer diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries and the growth and development of Australian studies in China. Studying Australia was a strange novelty in China in 1979. It is now essential to building up a stronger bilateral relationship between our two countries. Both sides have many shared interests in a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific neighbourhood and partnership. It is my belief that besides language and literature, Australian studies should be strengthened in more fields such as education, history, economics, law and environmental studies. To this end, the Centre encourages the growing interest in Australian studies at Peking University, promotes academic, educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries and supports cooperation between Australian Studies Centres in China. I welcome initiatives of all kinds, including of course the BHP Billiton Chair Professor Program of Australian Studies at Peking University, generously supported by the Foundation for Australian Studies in China (FASIC). I am confident that the Centre has a very bright future.
Professor Hu Zhuanglin
Director, Peking University Australian Studies Centre