Business Alumni Update | Issue Twelve 2014
Meet Luqiang Qiao
Founding President of UniSA’s China Alumni Association

The formation of the University of South Australia China Alumni Association is testament to the growing importance of the relationship between UniSA and China. The inaugural President of the Association is Luqiang Qiao, Deputy Director of the Executive Coordination Office at China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

Mr Qiao, who studied at UniSA in the late 1990s, was the first Chinese student to complete an MBA and Graduate Diploma of Arts Management in Australia.
Luqiang Qiao
Mr Qiao's 28 year journey with arts and culture began while he was working for the Shandong government, his first job after graduating from Shandong Normal University in 1986. It was during his 11 years in this role that he began to arrange cultural exchange programs with other countries, including Australia. He facilitated and participated in the Australian String Quartet and the Australian Youth Symphony Orchestra tours of China, and a Shandong Traditional Music Orchestra Tour to South Australia.

Winning an Australia China Council scholarship in 1997 to study a Graduate Diploma of Arts Management at UniSA was a turning point. At the time there were no arts training courses like it in China and Mr Qiao was curious to learn about the discipline of arts management. He stayed on in Adelaide to complete an MBA.

“The unique and completely new training and education method, and relaxed and free atmosphere in the classroom are still impressive to me, as it was so different from that which I had experienced before in China,” says Mr Qiao.

Returning to China after his MBA he worked as a gallery manager for Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, organising exhibitions and residencies for Australian artists in China. In 2007 he was appointed as Director of International Arts Co-operation at China’s prestigious National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, later moving up to his current role of Deputy Director of the Executive Coordination Office.

Mr Qiao was the first Chinese person to introduce arts management training into China. He is Guest Professor at Beijing University and Guest Professor in the Beijing Dance Academy’s Arts Management Program.

During the past decade China has invested many millions of dollars in arts and cultural facilities in China, including its flagship NCPA.

Mr Qiao has witnessed great changes in arts management practice during that time, particularly in the development of management skills and techniques.

“Of course artistic programs have also changed a lot, new productions have appeared and cultural reforms have taken place. Cultural policies are more supportive to arts production,” he says.

In recognition of his contribution to cultural exchange between China and Australia, Mr Qiao was the inaugural winner of the Australia China Alumni Award for Culture and the Arts in 2009. These awards were established in that year by the Australia China Alumni Association to recognise the wide-ranging achievements of local and expatriate graduates of Australian universities who are based in China.

Over the past 12 years UniSA has played a significant role in the education journey for more than 10,000 scholars from China. The University’s new China Alumni Association is under the umbrella of that nation’s highly esteemed Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA), which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013.

Mr Qiao is Executive Director of WRSA and the Chairman of its Australia and New Zealand Chapter.

When announcing the formation of the Association, UniSA Vice Chancellor and President, Professor David Lloyd, acknowledged the wide range of educational opportunities that UniSA has provided to students from China.

“It is appropriate when considering this new network, to remember that the important gains for students studying with us are not only about new skills and expertise but also about the enduring understanding and friendship formed between China and Australia,” Prof Lloyd said.

Having spent almost two decades fostering cultural exchange between Australia and China, Mr Qiao is perfectly placed to nurture the development of his alma mater’s newest international alumni chapter.

“I am sure the UniSA Alumni China Chapter will be a home-like platform for the alumni in China to share experiences of their time at UniSA as well as sharing new information and achievements they have gained since then,” he says.  

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