Being Asian-Australian in a pandemic world

Presented by ANU College of Law

COVID-19 has fuelled racist attacks targeting Asian-Australians, resulting in what ANU researchers have described as a 'prejudice pandemic'. This has included verbal and physical assaults, refusal of service, death threats and vandalism of property. At a time when social injustice and race relations are at the forefront of global movements, how can Australia move forward in a post-pandemic world? Join us as we look into the underlying issues of race relations and hear perspectives of the Asian-Australian experience from our alumni panel.

Hosted and moderated by 2020 ANU Student Volunteer of the Year (Undergraduate) Yasmin Poole (B IntR/LLB (Hons)), our alumni panel comprises Jean Sum (BComm/BActS '04), Creative Strategist and Asian-Australian advocate; Helen Zhang (LLB(Hons)/BAsianStudies(Chinese) '10, GDLP '12), Diplomat and Foreign Policy Specialist; and Jieh-Yung Lo, Director, ANU Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership.

Helen Zhang is a Fulbright Scholar and Master in Public Administration Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she specializes in global tech policy, geopolitics and international relations. Helen is an experienced diplomat, trade negotiator, foreign-policy specialist, China-watcher, Mandarin interpreter, lawyer and communicator. 

Helen was awarded the 2014 ANU Young Alumni of the Year.

Jieh-Yung Lo is the Founding Director of the newly established Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership at the Australian National University (ANU), which aims to address the significant under-representation of Asian-Australians in leadership positions within Australian public institutions and major private sector corporations.

Jean Sum is currently the Growth and Partnerships Manager at No to Violence and develops strong and sustainable workplace partnerships to end men's use of family violence. Prior to moving to Melbourne, Jean worked at ANU as an Alumni Relations Officer and Partnerships Manager in Advancement, and then briefly as Partnerships Engagement Manager in the College of Asia and the Pacific.

She is a believer, mentor and supporter of Asian-Australian women in their 20s and 30s to align their life and career paths with their values, desires and strengths. She is the creator of, a space where her stories and learnings spark the curiosity of readers to explore living their full lives.

Yasmin Poole is an award winning speaker, writer, youth advocate. Her work has included being the Chair of the Victorian Government's Youth Congress, representing over a million young Australians. She also led the global business development of 180 Degrees Consulting, a youth led social impact consultancy that spans across 30 countries. She has represented Australian youth in conferences such as APEC and the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

She is currently Plan International's Youth Ambassador, focusing on engaging young Australian women in politics. In 2019, Yasmin was the youngest member of the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence and Top 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian Australians. She was also named ANU's 2020 Undergraduate Volunteer of the Year.