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New China studies head embraces unique bilateral relationship


13 August 2012

Dr Kerry Brown: "For Australia, China is much more immediate, making the policy challenges of engaging with it sharper and more demanding."
Dr Kerry Brown: "For Australia, China is much more immediate, making the policy challenges of engaging with it sharper and more demanding."

Australia's dealings with China have a "unique" immediacy, closeness and urgency, says the incoming Executive Director of the University of Sydney's China Studies Centre.

Dr Kerry Brown has just arrived from the United Kingdom, where he was Head of the Asia Programme at Chatham House, to lead the centre. He is excited to be working in a country where links with China are more direct than those in his homeland.

"In Europe, China is still viewed as a little remote," he says. "For Australia, China is much more immediate, making the policy challenges of engaging with it sharper and more demanding."

Dr Brown is regarded as one of the most sophisticated and prominent analysts of modern Chinese politics in the UK, where he held key diplomatic, government and thinktank positions. His career at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office included a posting as First Secretary to that country's embassy in Beijing. He has worked in affiliation with academic institutions in both China and the UK including the London School of Oriental and African Studies. More recently, his role at Chatham House dovetailed with his position as Team Leader of the European Union-funded Europe China Research and Advice Network, a role which will continue in Sydney.

The China Studies Centre is dedicated to working for the mutual benefit of Australia and China. Established last year, it has more than 130 academic staff engaged in the study of China and facilitates cross disciplinary research and teaching as well as extensive public programs.

Dr Brown hopes to build on the work already being done at the centre in disciplines ranging from archaeology to public health. "I will be working as hard as possible on the public communication of what China's impact will mean in almost all areas of life in Australia, across Asia and in the wider world in the years ahead," he says.


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