BHP Billiton today announced it will fund the new Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University in Beijing, in partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs' Australia-China Council (ACC).
The BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies will raise the profile and understanding of Australia in China through coordinating and facilitating exchange between academics and students at Peking University. BHP Billiton will provide A$650,000 funding a year for at least three years, with the potential to expand to five years.
BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers said the partnership will enhance research and education opportunities between the two countries.
"The partnership with BHP Billiton, Peking University in Beijing and the Australia-China Council is an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding between Australia and China, strengthening mutual understanding of social, political and economic issues.
"China is a key market for BHP Billiton and as business with China continues to grow, we are pleased to develop closer relations across a range of areas."
BHP Billiton will also support five scholarships for academics to participate in the program.
The Chair of Australian Studies partnership is in addition to BHP Billiton's existing education sponsorships in China. Since 2003, BHP Billiton has been a sponsor of the Global Public Policy Executive Training Program at the Peking University in Beijing and funded 25 scholarships each year at the Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (GUCAS) in Beijing.