After being shortlisted following her written application in July, and finally selected after an interview in September, Alex and a small number of emerging Australian leaders will spend four days meeting with young Chinese counterparts and a series of established diplomatic, corporate, academic and civil society leaders from both countries.
“The ACYD’s invited speakers are diplomatic, business and academic leaders I would not have access to otherwise. To be able to speak with them in small groups during workshops is bound to be thought provoking,” said Alex.
“I am especially looking forward to learning from the other young Australian and Chinese delegates, because they come from such an array of specialties. It’s not just cross-disciplinary, but cutting across all kinds of sectors and fields of experience.”
The group will discuss key aspects of the Australia-China relationship over a program of seminars and workshops on energy and climate change; global health and food safety risks; China, Africa and economic development; China, Australia and the USA’s international relations; security and crises; governance; art and cultural exchange; philanthropy; and entrepreneurship.
Alex’s doctoral research focuses on China’s ethnic minorities and their languages, supervised by Professor Ingrid Piller from the Macquarie Department of Linguistics. Alex lived, worked, studied and travelled in China from 2010–2013, and recently visited eight provinces for her PhD field work. She conducts her field work interviews in Mandarin, which she started studying in her lunch breaks at work six years ago.
Before commencing her PhD at Macquarie University, Alex was an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development, working at a public interest law NGO called Beijing Yilian Legal Aid and Study Center for Labor. She has also taught debate and critical thinking at Beijing Foreign Studies University, adjudicated many debate tournaments in China, and received a China Scholarship Council scholarship to study Mandarin in Beijing. A graduate of Beijing Language and Culture University and Tsinghua University, she also writes for whydev.org and the blogs The China Beat and Language on the Move.
“My interests are in higher education and the NGO sector, and also in policy-making relating to those areas. I plan to be a well informed and bi-cultural and to use the insights from ACYD in these areas after I finish my PhD,” the Macquarie Linguistics PhD candidate said.
“Australia benefits from having people with an interest and an in-depth, reality-based understanding of China. We also benefit if China has an increasingly clear understanding of Australia. I think person-to-person diplomacy and continuing exchanges of ideas are especially powerful vehicles for this.”
In addition to her doctoral studies, Alex is a tutor for a course on governance and Australian policy-making at Macquarie Law School. She represented Macquarie at the G20 Youth Forum earlier this year, adding to her extensive and varied experience that saw her selected for the 2014 Australia-China Youth Dialogue.
About the Macquarie University Department of LinguisticsThe Macquarie Department of Linguistics is the largest of its kind in Australia, which includes substantial postgraduate programs, a full undergraduate program, more than 900 postgraduate coursework students, nearly 100 research students and four research centres of international standing.
The strength of the department lies in its breadth of coverage of linguistics sub-disciplines, and it has particular strengths in the areas of systemic functional linguistics, speech and hearing and language teaching. It has long been recognized for its research and teaching in areas such as lexicography and corpus linguistics, in phonetics and phonology (especially as applied to computer-based research in speech technology and speech perception), and in communication disorders. The department has a strong interest in the description of modern English language, especially work in systemic-functional grammar, in discourse analysis and pragmatics and in Australian English.