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Shee an shung men, new sher men. Da geeah how!

On behalf of the Council of Victoria University, I would like to say how delighted I am to be here in Shenyang addressing you all. I genuinely appreciate the warm welcome the VU delegation and I have received here.

The proceedings taking place today are indicative of the closeness of the relationship between our two institutions and reflect more broadly the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two great countries.

Indeed, the successful development of the relationship between LU and VU over the course of the last decade has paralleled the growth in strong ties between Australia and the People’s Republic of China.

These ties are many, and include various economic, political, and cultural links, of which we can all be proud.

Of these links, our economic ties have clearly been of great importance in recent years. In the last 15 years, Australia’s trading relationship with China has blossomed. In 1995, China accounted for $8 billion or 4% of Australia’s total trade in goods and services. In the financial year 2008 to 2009, China accounted for $83 billion or 14.7 per cent of Australia’s total trade, making China Australia’s largest trading partner.

China’s emergence as Australia’s number one trading partner highlights the critical role that China plays in Australia’s future and the importance of any joint ventures between Chinese and Australian governments, institutions and businesses.

Some of the key industry sectors relevant to the Australia-China trading relationship are, from the Australian export perspective, raw materials such as iron ore, coal, and wool, and, in the services sector, education.

Of all the sectors I have mentioned, it is education that is arguably the most vital to the development of the relationship between our two countries. I say this not because I am the Acting Chancellor of a University, but because I genuinely believe in the definitive power of education as a tool for mutual understanding between cultures.

What makes education so crucial to the bilateral relationship between China and Australia is the discourse and exchange of ideas that can take place when students and staff of Australian and Chinese institutions engage one another in dialogue and joint scholarship. It is in the classroom, more so than the boardroom, that we gain a sense of understanding of one another and have the opportunity to formulate and exchange viewpoints in a free and unconstrained environment.

Australian and Chinese students are fortunate that they have no shortage of such opportunities for dialogue and exchanges with one other.

These opportunities are epitomised by the number of Chinese students studying at Australian Universities. Of the top ten source countries for international students coming to Australia in 2008, China topped the list. Further, there are some 30,000 Chinese students studying Australian University programs in China itself.

The large-scale involvement of Chinese students in Australian education is reflected in VU’s own statistics, which place Chinese students as our largest cohort of international students both offshore and onshore.

In addition, from VU and beyond, there are many Australian students who are currently studying at institutions in China, and there exists a keen awareness amongst Australian University students of China’s important role in global affairs and Australia’s future.

At the post-graduate research level, many Australian academics at VU and elsewhere are engaged in joint research initiatives with Chinese partners. These initiatives have proliferated in recent years with the advent of Chinese contribution to world scholarship. In fact, Chinese researchers have more than doubled their output of scientific papers in the last 10 years and are now second only to the United States in terms of volume.

It is clear therefore that Australia and China, through the power of education, are forging ever-closer links. We at VU and LU are very fortunate, and should be very proud, that we have come to exemplify these links, and demonstrate to both our nations what education as a tool for mutual understanding can achieve.

On behalf of the Council of Victoria University, I wish both LU and VU every congratulations on this, the 10th anniversary of their relationship. May the next 10 years be as prosperous as the first.

Gee wung ky lie.

























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