Jeffrey Riegel

Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Riegel, Director, China Studies Centre

China is a country with a long and complicated history, rich in material culture as well as intellectual and religious traditions. Long accustomed in the past to almost unchallenged and unparalleled prominence in trade and in the arts, Chinese civilization suffered significant setbacks in the nineteenth and early twentieth century due to European colonial expansion and the civil and international warfare that ravaged China’s land and people.

But after a long period of near isolation, China has re-entered the world stage and is making an impact in the 21st century that could exceed the accomplishments of the earlier civilization. Since the start of reforms in 1978, China has already become the world’s second-largest economy and otherwise achieved the financial “clout” that accompanies such status. In literature and the visual arts, as well as other areas of innovation and creative expression, China is beginning to make a distinctive mark. In the decades to come we can fully expect the artists, authors, and inventors of China to gain international recognition for their contributions to world civilization and to improving the quality of life.

Making sense of China’s past, present, and future is one of the biggest challenges faced by Australia’s policymakers, business people, and experts. It is a tough task but it is one that cannot be ignored. What we require to be successful in meeting this challenge is the best possible knowledge and the most realistic and flexible framework in order to engage with China and fully appreciate its ambitions and influence.

In this exciting time, the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney can play a significant, indeed a crucial role, working within the context of a world-class university that has deep, wide and rich links across China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

It is a great privilege to be linked to one of the key stories of our time – the emergence of a dynamic and complex global player that is both reclaiming its former greatness while forging a new way ahead. We look forward to working with our partners in the months and years to come.

Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Riegel
Director, China Studies Centre, The University of Sydney


Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal

The University of Sydney has been actively engaged in understanding China for almost a century, since we first began teaching Chinese language and culture to our students in the early 20th century.

We were the first university in Australia to welcome Chinese students in the 1970s, and over the last three decades our relationship with China has strengthened and deepened as we have developed close partnerships in many different spheres. We have watched as change has transformed China and its impact on the world has grown.

However, we are not just an observer. Today we are one of the most engaged universities in the world with China’s next generation: nearly 7,000 Chinese students are enrolled to study here, and we are involved in many exchanges and research collaborations across all of our academic activities.

Our partnerships with Chinese universities are in areas such as medicine and public health, engineering, finance, culture, music and education. We have also provided executive training to government and business leaders over many years.

The China Studies Centre will further enhance these cross-disciplinary partnerships.

Dr Michael Spence
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The University of Sydney


Belinda Hutchinson AM

Belinda Hutchinson AM,Chancellor

The Chinese community has long played an important role in Sydney and the state of New South Wales. The economic and social development of China and Australia has increased the value of long-standing relationships between the people of both nations.

As Australia’s first university, the University of Sydney for many decades has welcomed Chinese students, encouraging strong links with China and Australia for the benefit of both our countries.

The growth and strength of these relationships in many areas, including business, trade and investment, public health, agriculture and engineering, is vital for all and will be significantly enhanced by the interdisciplinary work in such fields undertaken by the China Studies Centre.

The China Studies Centre continues the fine work of furthering cultural understanding between our two countries. I am honoured to serve as Patron of the China Studies Centre at such an important time in the development of Australia’s many connections with China.

Belinda Hutchinson AM
Chancellor, The University of Sydney