From 8–10 July 2016, the 15th International Conference of Australian Studies in China was held at Peking University in Beijing. The conference was hosted by the National Association of Asian Studies in China at the Australian Studies Centre at Peking University. The Australia-China Council and the School of Foreign Languages at Peking University also sponsored the conference. The theme was Australia in the World: Past, Present and Future. A wide range of topic areas were covered, including: Australia’s environment and ecology; health and education; indigenous history and culture; arts, literature and cultural studies; economics and trade; politics and international relations; and Australia’s position and role in the Asia-Pacific region more broadly.
Griffith was well represented at the conference, which also featured Australian studies students and scholars from all over China. A large contingent of Griffith Honours College undergraduate students was in attendance and all gave impressive papers in their fields of study. PhD candidates Brad McConachie from the School of Government and International Relations, and Yijun Hu from the School of Education and Professional Studies gave papers, respectively, on the role of Australian universities in public diplomacy in Asia; and the construction of professional identities of non-native English teachers training in English-speaking countries. Dr Dan Halvorson from the School of Government and International Relations and Griffith Asia Institute spoke on Australia’s historic engagement with Asia via its post-war role in the Commonwealth, while Emeritus Professor Colin Mackerras gave a keynote address in the opening plenary sessions on the trilateral Australia-United States-China relationship under the Turnbull Coalition government.