The Wang Gungwu Lecture is an initiative of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The lecture celebrates the substantial and longstanding contributions of Australia’s diverse Chinese communities to Australian life.
The lecture is named after the pre-eminent scholar on overseas Chinese communities, Professor Wang Gungwu AO CBE. Professor Wang made a significant contribution to academic research on Chinese overseas communities and their international migration experiences.
The inaugural lecture was held at ABC Studios in June 2022, and the keynote address was delivered by renowned paediatrician, 1996 Australian of the Year and designated National Living Treasure Dr John Yu AC.
In his speech Dr Yu shared his experiences growing up as a Chinese Australian in the Sydney suburbs.
He said: "Everything I might have achieved in in my life been through my friends, my colleagues and a community that has shared my values and aspirations. It has been about working together."
"Australia’s embrace of cultural diversity has been a great success and something we must all value and protect. At its core is a recognition of difference as something that should be valued as a strength, accepting there is no ‘them ‘and ‘us’. It is what I want my Australia to be."
The second lecture was held in January 2023 during the Chinese New Year period, with a keynote address by author, illustrator and Australian Children's Laureate for 2022 and 2023, Gabrielle Wang.
Gabrielle's commitment to diversity in children’s literature is encouraging young people to learn about the many cultures and stories that make up our country.
She said: "I hope by sharing stories that are a celebration of all our differences, children may find a feeling of self-acceptance from a young age. I encourage those from diverse backgrounds to share your stories too. The more diverse stories there are out in the open, the more tolerant our society will be."
Foreign Minister Penny Wong delivered a video message during the 2023 lecture, saying that "for over 200 years, Chinese Australians have made enduring contributions to Australian life. Today more than one million Australians claim Chinese heritage. Australia is a better and stronger nation because of them."
Australia’s diverse Chinese communities form part of the fabric of Australian society. The Wang Gungwu lecture series provides an enduring platform for discussion on what it means to be Chinese Australian today and the importance of celebrating Chinese heritage.
Watch now on ABC iview.