The Australian report on the new appointment of CSC's Executive Director, Dr Kerry Brown

30 March 2012

The Australian, Australia

28 Mar 2012,


Higher Education, page 30

China, US experts appointed

THE University of Sydney made two major public appointments yesterday, announcing the heads of its new China Studies Centre and the replacement for Geoff Garrett as head of the US Studies Centre.

The university secured one of Europe's leading and respected China experts, Kerry Brown, to head the China Studies Centre, while Bates Gill, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, will take over the US Studies Centre.

Dr Brown will take up his post in July.

David Goodman, who has been instrumental in creating the centre, together with vice-chancellor Michael Spence, will become academic director. Professor Spence said the two would "make an incredibly impressive leadership team for this centre".

Dr Brown is currently head of the Asia program at Chatham House and leader of the Europe China Research and Advice Network, funded by the European Union.

Dr Brown told the HES he wanted the centre to break away from the "cabal" of sinologists and make the centre's work accessible to everybody.

"People who still want to have these secrets about how China works and won't tell others this sinological elitism, those people are my enemy," he said.

Dr Brown said he was also attracted by the level of China expertise in Australia.

"You really have had to deal with China more so than the Europeans," he said.

The centre will add extra chairs in business and law there will now be two in each discipline as well as an extra five or six senior academics in the new Business School under the new dean, former US Studies Centre head Geoffrey Garrett.

So far the University of Sydney's Vivienne Bath, and Ding Ling from Chinese University of Hong Kong, have been appointed as law chairs.

Established last year, the China Studies Centre has more than 130 academic staff engaged in the study of China. "I would really like to partner with a number of think tanks across Southeast Asia and get their views on China," Dr Brown said.

"There is a kind of residual lack of understanding that they (the Chinese) are really up to something else," he said.

Meanwhile Dr Gill says relations between Australia and the US are at a high point.

"If there are two countries, long-standing allies that have a huge stake in the future of the Asia Pacific, it's these two.

Australia and the US find a great commonality right now," he said.

Dr Gill will take up the new job in October and plans for the centre to "reach out to other university-based centres of US studies".

"The great goal is to be the best centre of US studies outside the US and that's going to require building up different networks across different parts of the world, in Asia, Europe and even in the US."

Dr Gill has served as freeman chair in China Studies at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and as inaugural director of the Centre for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, both in Washington.

He is an expert on American defence and security issues in East Asia with a focus on China.