Directors and Officers


Kevin Hobgood-Brown AM - Chairman

Mr. Hobgood-Brown is the Chairman of the Foundation after serving as the Foundation's first Managing Director. He also serves as the Managing Director of HHK Advisory, a corporate advisory firm that provides strategic corporate advice on resource transactions. Previously, Mr. Hobgood-Brown was the Group Executive and General Counsel for Sino Gold Mining Limited. He has over 30 years of management and legal experience in the Asia Pacific region and has been based in Sydney since 1996. He was one of a small group of international lawyers to work in Beijing in the early 1980's. Mr. Hobgood-Brown was an international law firm partner for 18 years, in which capacity he had postings in Beijing, San Francisco, Taipei and Sydney. He handled investment projects throughout China and in almost all of Australia's major Asian trading partners. Mr. Hobgood-Brown was the Deputy Chairman of the Australian government's eight-member Australia-China Council from 2006 to 2012. He was the Chairman of the Australia China Business Council from 2005 to 2008, having served on the Board of Directors of the ACBC since 1999. He is a member of the Panel of Advisors to the China Studies Centre of Sydney University. Mr. Hobgood-Brown is a member of the Global Council of the Asia Society and taught at the Law School of Beijing University from 1983 to 1987. 

Professor David Carter - Director

Professor Carter is a Professor of Australian Literature and Cultural History at the University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is a Guest Professor of Beijing Foreign Studies University, and was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Tokyo University in 2007-8. He is Manager of the Australia-China Council's Australian Studies in China program, and served as a Board member of the Australia-Japan Foundation from 1998-2004. Recent books include Modern Australian Criticism and Theory, with Wang Guanglin (China Ocean University Press 2010), and Dispossession, Dreams and Diversity: Issues in Australian Studies (Pearson 2006). 


Professor Ian O'Connor AC - Director

Professor Ian O'Connor became the Vice Chancellor and President of Griffith University in January 2005. Professor O'Connor joined Griffith University as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) in July 2002. Professor O'Connor has served as a consultant to, or as a member of, various Government and non-Government bodies. He is Chair of the Advancing Quality in Higher Education Reference Group and Chair of the Queensland Minister for Education's taskforce on bullying and violence in schools, the Queensland Schools Alliance Against Violence. Professor O'Connor is a board member of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government. He is currently convenor of the Innovative Research Universities group. 


The Hon. Warwick Smith AO - Director

Warwick Smith is Senior Managing Director of the ANZ Banking Group; chairman of the Advisory Board of the Australian Capital Equity, holders of interests in Seven Group Holdings, West Australian Newspapers, Coates Hire, WesTrac and Caterpillar industrial services and equipment in Western Australia, New South Wales and North East China; chairman of the Australia-China Council, global trustee of the Asia Society and chairman of the Asia Society in Australia; and chairman of the Flagship Property Group.  Formerly, he was chairman of E*TRADE and the Australian Sports Commission; an executive director with Macquarie Bank; and a federal government minister with a parliamentary career spanning 15 years.  He was also Australia's first telecommunications ombudsman and has received a Centenary Medal and an Order of Australia.


Ms. Cathryn Hlavka - Director

Ms. Cathryn Hlavka has a diverse international career in the areas of education, science and research relations, foreign and trade policy, development assistance, and cultural relations. Most recently she was the senior diplomatic education representative, Minister Counsellor, in the Australian Embassy in Beijing responsible for the strategic positioning of Australia's education and research interests in China. Other diplomatic posts also include Counsellor in the Australian Consulate General in Shanghai, the Australian Embassy in Tokyo and First Secretary in the Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna.

She has been actively involved with the development of Australian Studies in China, and in promoting the study of China and Chinese language and culture in Australia since the late 1980's including through her roles as Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of New South Wales (2010-2012) and Director of the Australia-China Council secretariat (1992-1996). To mark the 40th anniversary of Australia-China diplomatic relations she commissioned the bilingual publication Expanding our Horizons, Australia and China 40 Years of exchange and collaboration in education, research and science, a survey of people and programs that have made a significant contribution to the bilateral relationship.

Emeritus Professor David Walker AM - Director

David Walker was the inaugural BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University, Beijing, from February 2013 to January 2016. He is now an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne and an Emeritus Professor at Deakin University, Melbourne. He has written extensively on Australian representations of Asia. His prize-winning book, Anxious Nation: Australia and the Rise of Asia, 1850 to 1939 (UQP, 1999) has been translated into Chinese and Hindi. He is the co-editor of Australia's Asia: From Yellow Peril to Asian Century (UWA Publishing, 2012). A collection of his Asia-related essays has been published under the title Encountering Turbulence: Asia in the Australian Imaginary (Readworthy, 2013). His recently published personal history, Not Dark Yet (which explores family, memory and the experience of becoming 'legally blind') has been translated into Chinese (《光明行》) and published by The People's Literature Publishing House, Beijing (2014). David Walker is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has ongoing academic links as a visiting Professor with Renmin University of China, Beijing Foreign Studies University and Inner Mongolia Normal University. He has held visiting professorships at Georgetown University, Washington, DC and the University of Copenhagen.

Ms. Shirley Gao - Director

Ms. Gao is the Executive Director of the Foundation, having served as the Company Secretary of the Foundation since its establishment. She is a Director of HHK Advisory, a Sydney-based corporate advisory firm that focuses on mergers and acquisitions in the mineral resources sector. Prior to joining HHK, Ms Gao was an associate director at Riverstone Advisory. She has had extensive managerial, business and teaching experience in Jiangsu, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Sydney.



Professor John Dewar - Director

Professor Dewar is the Vice-Chancellor and President of La Trobe University, a position he has held since January 2012. Professor Dewar is currently a Director of Universities Australia until 2020; a member of the AHEIA Executive Committee; a Director of Education Australia Pty Ltd and AARNet; a member of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Ethical Leadership at the Melbourne Business School and Ormond College; and a Director of the Board of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Melbourne Law School and an Adjunct Professor in the La Trobe Law School. Professor Dewar has deep expertise in family law.

Mr. Tony Fittler - Company Secretary

Mr Tony Fittler is a Partner at HLB Mann Judd with over 25 years experienced as a taxation practitioner. His expertise includes corporate taxation compliance, funds management, international services and more. Mr Fittler is appointed as the Company Secretary of the Foundation in November as a representative of HLB Mann Judd, a well-known accounting and business advisory group. 


Founding FASIC Chairman - Emeritus Professor Mark Wainwright AM FTSE

Emeritus Professor Mark Wainwright served as the inaugural Chairman of the Foundation from 2011 to 2015. Professor Wainwright had held a number of senior positions in the research and higher education sectors in both Australia and overseas. He was the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of New South Wales from April 2004 to June 2006 and Chair of the Australia-China Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2006 to 2011. In 2000 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society in research policy and management and engineering education. In 2004, Professor Wainwright was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to chemical engineering as a researcher and academic, and to tertiary education.

Ms Stephanie Lowe – Operations Manager


Ms. Lowe is the Operations Manager of the Foundation, joining in February 2018. Stephanie is an experienced manager and community leader with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit sector. She also has extensive managerial experience in the business travel industry in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and China where she demonstrated her strategic planning and marketing skills. Stephanie has previously held roles in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations between 2006-2008. 

She is passionate about volunteering and contributing to the community, especially in disadvantaged women and children, disability and poverty in developing countries.

Mr. John Paul Grima - Assistant Conference Convener

john paul grima

Since graduating with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in 2008, John Paul has been engaged with the Australia-China education space through his work for organisations such as ACYA, CAMP and the Marco Polo Project. John Paul has undertaken postgraduate studies at Monash University, where he focused on Chinese minority ethnography and diaspora.

As a Victorian Government Hamer Scholar, he was selected to continue Chinese language studies at Nanjing University in 2013. John Paul has worked as a Media Advisor for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Australia (2009-2011) and for the UNDP in Beijing (2014). More recently, John Paul has applied his passion for international education by taking up a role in the Global Partnerships Office of Tsinghua University.