Confucius Institute's new director
Appointment marks Australia’s embrace of Confucius Institutes
SYDNEY, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — Australia continues to drive Chinese learning and academia with the appointment this week of former CEO of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC), Laurie Pearcey, as the inaugural Director of China Strategy and Development at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
The bilingual Pearcey will hold a joint position as Director of the Confucius Institute at UNSW, adding his voice to a chorus of expertise coming out of Australian universities with the country now boasting 12 Confucius Institutes.
Australia’s first Confucius Institute was founded in the University of Western Australia in 2005. As of 2012, there were a total of 12 Confucius Institutes and 10 Confucius Classrooms across Australia.
According to Pearcey, Confucius Institutes and Classrooms adopt flexible teaching patterns and adapt to local conditions when teaching Chinese language and promoting culture in foreign education institutions.
While all teach Chinese language and culture, the Confucius Institutes in Australia differ from one another in specialization, with the Confucius Institute at Griffith University offering Chinese language courses on tourism, the Confucius Institute at RMIT providing courses on Chinese medicine and the Confucius Institute at Queensland University focusing on science and technology.
For several years now Pearcey has been one of Australia’s point men for China engagement, leading both business and government delegations into China as well as speaking as the voice of business in his role as CEO of the influential ACBC.
As strategic advisor to some of Australia and China’s largest corporations, such as Rio Tinto, ANZ, Qantas Airways, Huawei Technologies and Yancoal, Pearcey is one of the few Australians able to effectively bridge the commercial and cultural ties between the key trading partners.
As a UNSW alumnus and Scholar of the Order of Australia Association Foundation, his return to UNSW marks a full circle that has taken the 28 year old through academic, economic, cultural and person-to-person exchanges between Australia and China.
“UNSW is one of Australia’s top ranked universities for ARC linkage grants and has a track record of strong industry linkages - - my role is to use this proven model as a blueprint for increasing the University’s engagement in China,” Pearcey told Xinhua.
“China has embarked on the largest investment in research and development in the history of our planet and has identified areas such as renewable energy, the digital economy, biotechnology and bimolecular sciences as major sectors for growth — UNSW’s position as a research intensive university with strengths in these areas means we are an obvious partner for China’s growth.”
The UNSW Institute is partnered with China’s prestigious Shanghai Jiao Tong University and facilitates student and academic exchanges including opportunities for multi-disciplinary research, Chinese studies and advanced Chinese language training.