On 15-17 July, 2019, ACIAC Director Professor Labao Wang was with the Western Sydney University delegation in Darwin to attend this year’s IRU Senior Leaders Forum. During the Forum, he joined Vice Chancellor of La Trobe University Professor John Dewar, Executive Director of Asia Research Centre of Murdoch University Professor Rikki Kersten and Director of Griffith Asia Institute Professor Caitlin Byrne for a panel on “Australia and Asia: Angles of Insight”.
Professor Wang spoke about the importance of cultural connections between different countries. He cited the Australian Embassy’s 45 Years 45 Stories project as the kind of narrative that is needed to build a long-standing cultural relationship with its Asian neighbours. He stated that a good cross-cultural relationship depends upon a language that differs from that of business and trade and that arts and culture provides this alternative. He pointed to some success stories in the cultural exchange between some Australian and Chinese universities and called for continued “patient relationship building” through the involvement of real staff and students.
ACIAC Advisory Board Chair Dr Geoff Raby did the keynote address (“Australia and Asia”) for the Forum. The Forum also provided an opportunity for senior leaders from seven Australian universities to be updated on some of the most exciting developments in the internationalization of Australian higher education. Vice Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University Professor Barney Glover and nine other colleagues from this university attended the Forum.