The University of Melbourne welcomes the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop’s announcement of Professor Pookong Kee’s appointment as the next BHP Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University.

The BHP Chair initiative gives Chinese university students the opportunity to learn about Australia, and is currently in its sixth year.

Professor Kee has been the Director of the University’s Asia Institute since October 2010.

Prior to this he spent over 10 years in Asia, initially as the Director of the Chinese Heritage Centre in Singapore and then as Professor of the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies and Director of the Ritsumeikan Centre for Asia Pacific Studies at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan.  

Earlier in his career, he was closely associated with policy research on Australian multiculturalism and population change at the former Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs and Bureau of Immigration and Population Research.

Professor Kee said he is honoured to succeed Professor Greg McCarthy and Professor David Walker as the third BHP Chair and thanked BHP, Peking University and the Foundation for Australian Studies in China for allowing him to carry forward the important education mission.

“Education has been the cornerstone of Australia’s ties with Asia. The Colombo Plan enabled Australians to get to know young Asians from principally Southeast Asia from the 1950s,” Professor Kee said.

“China’s increasing affluence and globalisation have seen a rapid growth of its students in Australia and a concurrent interest in Australian culture, society, and economy in Chinese universities.”

University of Melbourne Provost Mark Considine said Professor Kee will bring great experience and leadership to the role.

“Congratulations to Professor Kee on this well-deserved appointment,” Professor Considine said.

“The University has great relationships with its counterparts in China and Professor Kee’s appointment will provide an even stronger bridge between our institutions. I have no doubt Professor Kee will make a valuable contribution to Australian Studies at the School of International Studies at Peking University and other Chinese universities.”

Professor Kee’s appointment will start in Beijing in early 2019.