Griffith expertise recognised at 2020 Australia China Alumni Awards

The Griffith Asia Institute team accepting their 2020 Australia China Alumni award. (L to r) Professor Caitlin Byrne (Director, GAI), Natasha Vary (Events and Project Manager, GAI), Meegan Thorley (Institute Manager, GAI), Dr Jeanne McConachie (former Griffith Honours College Manager)
Two impressive Griffith graduates intimately involved in the pandemic response and Griffith Asia Institute’s Asia Future Fellows program have been honoured at the 2020 Australia China Alumni Awards.

As Australia China relations continue to dominate headlines this year, Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) Director Professor Caitlin Byrne said she was incredibly pleased to see their program recognised by the ACAA.

“A flagship program developed and delivered by the Griffith Asia Institute in partnership with Peking University over the past decade, Asia Future Fellows fosters understanding, dialogue and collaboration between Australian and Chinese students, academics and emerging leaders,” she said.

“It is an important dimension in Australia’s broader relationship with China, at a time when the political relationship if experiencing some challenge.

“For those involved it is a critical opportunity to expand their horizons and build the skills, knowledge and capabilities that will support their career prospects into the future.”

GAI Event and Project Manager Natasha Vary
GAI Events and Project Manager Natasha Vary was singled out for her contributions, winning a Judges Citation for her work on the Asia Future Fellows program.

“This program supports student exchange and mobility, which is critical for our Asia Pacific future,” she said.

“Designed exclusively for undergraduate students, 12 Griffith University and 10 Peking University students come together each year during two, intensive one-week programs held in Brisbane and Beijing.”

Individual 2020 Australia China Alumni awards went to Dr Jiangli Di and Professor Changjun Bao.

Dr Jiangli Di, the Deputy Director and Researcher/Professor of the Women and Children’s Health Monitoring Department of China Women and Health Centre of China CDC, was named the winner of the 2020 Australian Ambassador’s Award for Women in Leadership.

Dr Jiangli completed her PhD through Griffith’s Centre for Environment and Population Health (CEPH) in 2016.

During the pandemic she contributed to planning and the effective execution of successful COVID-19 response strategies in three outbreak centres in Wuhan, Beijing and Xinjiang.

Professor Changjun Bao is Senior Epidemiologist and Chief of Department, Jiangsu Province Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and was recognised with the 2020 Australia China Alumni Award for Research and Science award.

Professor Bao completed a Master of Science in Public Health at Griffith in 2008.

He is a public health scientist who combines his expertise in epidemiology, zoonotic infectious diseases, and strategic leadership to prevent and control pandemics.

Through SARS, H1N1, H7N9, and COVID-19 outbreaks, Professor Bao has directed and managed these emergencies to safeguard the health of the Jiangsu population.