Cathryn Hlavka has a diverse international career in the areas of education, science and research policy, foreign and trade policy, development, and cultural relations.
Cathryn is currently the inaugural Executive Director of the University of Sydney’s Centre in China based in Suzhou – a multifunction office established to support the university’s strategic interests in China. Prior to this appointment she was Minister Counsellor (Education and Research) in the Australian Embassy in Beijing responsible for the strategic positioning of Australia’s education interests in China. Other senior diplomatic posts include the Australian Consulate General in Shanghai, the Australian Embassy in Tokyo and in the Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna.
Since the early 1990’s Cathryn has been actively involved in strengthening the Australia-China relationship including the development of Australian Studies in China and the study of China and Chinese language in Australia through roles including Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of New South Wales, Director of the Australia-China Council secretariat in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and in the Queensland Government.
Cathryn is well-known among the Australian education sector and understands their interests in China. She led the education negotiations for the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and has been influential in bringing many education agreements to conclusion and in growing the international student agenda. She has worked closely with the education sector developing strategies for student placements and internships and ways for increasing the take up of Chinese language in schools and universities. She has significant experience working across the Chinese government on education and research at local and provincial levels as well as with China’s higher education institutions.
Cathryn is a Director of the Board of the Foundation for Australian Studies in China (FASIC)