Alumni Speaker Series 2016 – Victoria

“On the importance and impacts of global mobility in students and young professionals”

Panellist 1 – Antonia Finnane


Antonia Finnane is Professor of History at the University of Melbourne, with a research specialization in the social and cultural history of early modern and modern China.  Her publications include Speaking of Yangzhou: A Chinese City, 1550-1850 (Harvard East Asian Monographs 2004) winner of the 2006 Levenson award for a work on pre-20th Century China; and Changing Clothes in China: Fashion, Nation, History (New York: Columbia University Press 2008). Her current research concerns the impact of Maoism on small shops in Beijing during the periods of “socialist transformation” and the Cultural Revolution.

Antonia has studied and taught in China for various periods throughout her working life, and coordinates an annual study tour to Nanjing University for the University of Melbourne subject Town and Country in China and the West.

Panellist 2 – Shona Shang


Shona Shang is a PRC-qualified lawyer in the Energy, Infrastructure and Resources group of Allens Melbourne, having recently relocated from Allens Beijing office to Melbourne office at the beginning of last year.

Shona received a Bachelor of Laws from China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) in 2009. Since graduation, Shona has worked as a PRC-qualified lawyer in several international law firms in their offices in Beijing, where she advised foreign companies operating in China. Since relocating to Melbourne, Shona has moved into a role advising Chinese companies investing in Australia. Beyond her role as a lawyer, Shona also acts as a liaison between Chinese clients and other members of the Allens team.

Panellist 3 – Brant Johnston


Brant Johnston is a recent graduate of the Chinese Government Scholarship, where he studied mandarin in Beijing for 12 months. Brant also studied in Nanjing and has travelled to over 10 Chinese cities. Prior to this he was the EducationUSA Advisor for the U.S. Consulate General in Melbourne where he managed student mobility between the U.S. and Australia for Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory, and was awarded the U.S. Department of States medal for Public Diplomacy for his efforts.

Brant is a graduate of the Bachelor International Studies at Deakin University and the founding President of ACYA Deakin, and is currently in the process of becoming an Officer in the Australian Military.

Moderator – Scott Gigante, ACYA General Manager – Portfolios

Event Summary

At 6:30 on the evening of the 11th of October, ACYA’s Victorian chapters gathered at the University of Melbourne Confucius Institute‘s Yasuko Hiraoka Room to launch the ACYA Alumni Speaker Series for 2016. A combination of students, ACYA alumni and young professionals gathered to hear insights from our three worldly panellists on the benefits of travelling, studying and working abroad.

The topics discussed ranged from encouraging travel through government policy, to escaping the ‘bubble’ of spending time with people from one’s own country while abroad, to our panellists’ and audience members’ favourite ‘China stories’. The discussion provoked intense debate at times, and broadened our audience members’ perspectives on global mobility.

Following the discussion, attendees and speakers continued the conversation over a light snack and a glass of wine from Wines By Geoff Hardy. ACYA Victoria would like to thank the Confucius Institute, Wines By Geoff Hardy, our three excellent speakers and the attendees who made this event a success. We look forward to seeing you again next year!