14 October 2010

Three University of Queensland students selected as delegates to promote cross-cultural relations with China attended the inaugural Australia-China Youth Dialogue (ACYD) earlier this month.

Psychology and science student Misha Byrne, Chinese and law student Jeffrey Sheehy, and law and international relations student Christian Jack met with young Chinese people to discuss the role of government, culture and Chinese-Australian business relations.

Mr Sheehy and Mr Jack are currently completing extended studies at the University of Peking in Beijing.

Held in Beijing and Shanghai, the event ran from October 4–6, bringing together 15 youth representatives from each country.

“There are so many unpredictable elements of China’s growth and to hear what the young Chinese desired their country to look like was very eye opening,” Mr Sheehy said.

ACYD organisers aimed to provide a forum to facilitate a greater interest and understanding of Chinese and Australian culture and society, encouraging students to take an active interest in Sino-Australia relations.

“Dialoguing gives us the chance to talk in person both formally and informally about challenging issues and hopefully to strengthen the kind of friendships and cross-cultural understandings that will promote positive engagement in the future,” Mr Byrne said.

“The Chinese will benefit in knowing Australia is willing not only to be a trade partner but to diversify relations beyond the university, tourism, and material sectors.”

Featured speakers included the Executive Director of the Australia-China Business Council, the Director of the Chinese Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University.

Media: Allison Rock at UQ Communications (07 3365 2619, allison.rock@uqconnect.edu.au)