New Asia appointments to the Lowy Institute

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The Lowy Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members of its Asia team.

Dr Merriden Varrall has been appointed as the new Program Director for East Asia. Merriden joins the Lowy Institute from Beijing where for the last three years she was the Assistant Country Director and Senior Policy Adviser for the United Nations Development Program.

Over the course of her career Merriden has spent almost eight years living and working in China, including lecturing at the China Foreign Affairs University. Prior she worked as a policy advisor for the Australian Federal Treasury.  Dr Varrall has a PhD from Macquarie University/Vrije Unersiteit (Amsterdam).

Murray McLean AO has been appointed as a Nonresident Fellow in the East Asia Program. Murray served as Australia's ambassador to Japan for seven years and has twice served in the Australian Embassy in Beijing and once as Consul General in Shanghai. From 2002-2004, he was a special ministerial envoy on North Korean nuclear matters visiting North Korea on several occasions.

In his 42-year career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Murray has played a major role in Australian policymaking on China and Asia more generally. As Ambassador to Japan he oversaw a significant expansion in Australia’s bilateral relationship with that country. In 2011 he led Australia’s response to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster.

‘I am delighted to welcome both Merriden and Murray to the Lowy Institute. They bring in-depth knowledge and practical expertise on China and Japan, two countries that are vital to Australia’s prosperity and security,’ said Dr Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute.

‘They will add to our already strong roster of Asia experts, including East Asia Program Research Fellow, Aaron L. Connelly, whose work focuses on Indonesia, and Nonresident Fellow and China expert Linda Jakobson, working on maritime security issues,’ said Dr Fullilove.

For more information on the East Asia Programme please visit:

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