Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asia Medal

Presented to an Australian who has shown long-term commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the region and improving Australia-Asia relations. Candidates for this award are nominated annually and the medal is awarded at the annual Dunlop Asialink Lecture.

The Dunlop Asia Medal is awarded for an outstanding record of achievement in improving Australia-Asia relations and enhancing the quality of life in the region. The Medal provides recognition and support for exemplary Australians committed to excellence in both their vocations and their contributions to Australia-Asia relations.


The following key selection criteria (in order of priority) is used by the Dunlop Asia Medal's Selection Committee to evaluate nominations for the Medal:

  • Outstanding long-term commitment to developing relations in a given field between Australians and people from one or more of the countries of Asia
  • Achievements that go beyond the requirements of the their work
  • The enduring humanitarian quality of the work undertaken
  • Evidence of self-sacrifice throughout their career
  • Nomination

Nominations are requested in March and the closing date for receipt of nominations for the Dunlop Asialink Medal is in August each year.

It is Asialink's policy to retain nominations for five years after which a separate nomination will be required in order for the nominee to continue to be considered for the Dunlop Asialink Medal in subsequent years. However, we would be glad to receive any additional information or materials at any time if you feel these would enhance the nomination.

Explore the list of past Dunlop Asialink medal recipients below.

2019 and 2020

Mr Carrillo Gantner and Mrs Ziyin Wang Gantner

Cultural leaders and philanthropists Carrillo Gantner and Ziyin Wang Gantner have been jointly awarded the 2019 and 2020 Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop Asia Medals.

Mr. Gantner is honoured for his dedication to strengthening ties between Australia and Asia, particularly his leadership in the fields of culture and performing arts. As a performer, theatre entrepreneur, arts administrator, and businessman, Mr. Gantner has made a unique contribution to building networks and understanding across physical and cultural borders, opening windows to Australian and Asian audiences on unseen aspects of each other’s societies.

Over the course of several decades traveling and working between Australia and Asia, Mr. Gantner, chairman of the Sidney Myer Fund, combined his background in the arts and philanthropy with a practical grasp on what it takes to forge productive relationships and get things done.

In the late 1980s, he proposed to the Myer Foundation Board the establishment of an organisation dedicated to advancing understanding and engagement with Asia. The result was the founding of Asialink as Australia’s leading centre for Asian engagement. Mr. Gantner subsequently served as Chairman of Asialink between 1992 and 2006.

But nowhere has Mr. Gantner’s influence been more profound than on Australia-China relations. Following his early travel to China in 1977, he was appointed as Cultural Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Beijing from 1985-87. He has since been the driving force behind dozens of cultural exchanges between Australia and China, particularly in the performing arts.

As an arts administrator, Mr. Gantner has left a powerful mark: He chaired the Australia Council’s Performing Arts Board from 1990 to 1993; chaired the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 1994 to 2000; led the Victorian Arts Centre Trust as president from 2000 to 2009; and was President of Melbourne International Arts Festival from 2010 to 2014. In 2017, he was the primary initiator of the new Asian Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) in Melbourne. He has been awarded Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by both the University of Western Sydney and the University of NSW. In recognition of his work on China, he was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture at Western Sydney University.

In 2019, he was appointed Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the community through professional involvement in, and philanthropic support for, the performing and visual arts, and to Australia-Asia cultural exchange. It followed the award of Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001.

Mrs Ziyin Wang Gantner has proven herself a powerhouse in Australian and Chinese film, television, and theatre production.

Coming from a background of deep deprivation – her family suffering greatly through the Cultural Revolution – Mrs. Wang Gantner’s deep determination in the face of adversity led her to pursue her dream, receiving an education at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy. She graduated in 1982 with a BA in film direction, before emigrating to Australia in 1985 to begin post-graduate studies at Swinburne Film and Television School.

Mrs. Wang Gantner has dedicated her career to enriching both Australian and Chinese cultural scenes, building deeper understanding between nations, and creating meaningful art for the screen and theatre.

Read the citation.
Read Mr Gantner's remarks.
Read Mrs Wang Gantner's remarks.


Mr Peter N Varghese AO

Mr. Varghese has played a critical role in the development of Australian foreign policy in a period of great change in the Asia-Pacific. He has been an advisor to Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers, aiding both Coalition and Labor Governments navigate the complex policy environment to further Australia’s interests in our region.

Mr. Varghese headed the secretariat that drafted Australia’s first White Paper on foreign policy and trade in 1996-1997 and oversaw the ratification of a number of Australia’s most significant free trade agreements, including the trifecta of agreements with Japan, South Korea and China in 2014-2015.  
More recently, in April 2018, he delivered a landmark report on India to the Prime Minister that has been endorsed with bi-partisan support. A comprehensive report, An India Economic Strategy to 2035: Navigating from Potential to Delivery is an ambitious plan to transform Australia's economic partnership with India. The strategy articulates a long-term narrative for engagement with India, highlights Indian states and sectors that offer the most potential in the economic relationship, and establishes specific trade and investment targets as measures of success.

Mr. Varghese completed diplomatic postings in Vienna, Washington, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and India, served as the Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (2004-2009) and as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2012-2016). He retired from the public service in July 2016 to take up the post of Chancellor of his alma mater, the University of Queensland.

Read the citation.
Read Mr Varghese's remarks.


Sir Rod Eddington AO
The 2017 Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop medal recognised the significant contribution of Sir Rod Eddington AO to deepening Australia's involvement with Asia though his role as the key figure in the Australia-Japan business relationships though his chairmanship of the Australia-Japan Business Co-operation Committee.

Read the citation.


Professor Heather Jeffery AO
For more than 40 years, Professor Jeffery has been a newborn intensive care specialist, academic, medical educator and researcher in Australia and internationally, mostly in South East Asia. Working alongside Australian and local doctors and nurses, Professor Jeffery has worked tirelessly to reduce neo-natal infection, which kills millions of babies each year.

Read the citation.


Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC
Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC was awarded the Dunlop Asia medal for his lifelong work to develop strong and trusted relationships with Australia’s neighbours in Asia.

Read the citation.


Gabi Hollows AO
Gabi Hollows AO, through her work with the Fred Hollows Foundation, has helped to restore the sight of people in 20 countries across Asia, the Pacific and Africa. Fourteen of those countries are in Asia, where the Fred Hollows Foundation restores sight to those previously out of reach of eye care because of remoteness and cost.

Read the citation.


John So AO JP
John So is a Melbourne icon. His inclusive style and dedication to community while in public office and through his work in business have helped to highlight and elevate our nation's rich history and connections with Asia.

Read the citation.


The Hon. Alexander Downer AC
Alexander Downer served as Australia's foreign minister for an unbroken eleven and a half years, from March 1996 to December 2007, exceeding by three years the previous Richard Casey record.

Read the citation.


Geraldine Cox AM
Geraldine Cox first worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs at the age of 25 as ambassador's secretary in Phnom Penh. As tends to be the case with first postings, a fascination and love for the country and the people stayed with her through her other postings - the Philippines, Thailand, Iran and the United States. In later years she became aware of the plight of the many orphans left by conflict and deprivation and in 1996, quit her job and moved back to Phnom Penh, establishing an orphanage that would later form part of her network of Sunrise Children's Villages.

Sunrise Children's Villages have been home to many thousands of Cambodia's children. Sunrise offers a loving home environment, health care, and education. In 1999 the returned King Norodom Sihanouk awarded her Cambodian citizenship, one of only four foreigners so honoured during his reign. It's an identity Geraldine wears proudly alongside her Australian one. In 2000 she was made a member of the Order of Australia.

Read the citation.


Professor Ross Garnaut AO
Currently a distinguished Professor at the Australian National University and Vice Chancellor's Fellow and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Professor Ross Garnaut has been at the centre of major decision-making in Australia and our region for almost four decades. Well before Asia was an emphatic part of Australian policy consciousness, Professor Garnaut was developing economic cooperation across the Asia Pacific. From 1985 to 1988, Professor Garnaut was the Australian Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. In 1989, he completed a report for the Government, Australia and the Northeast Asian Ascendancy, better known as the Garnaut Report, which came to mark an historic point of change in terms of Australia's Asian engagement.

Read the citation delivered by Philip Flood AO, distinguished diplomat and former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, at The Asialink Chairman's 20th Anniversary Dinner and 2010 Asialink Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Awards ceremony on 7 December 2010.


Professor Nancy Viviani AO
From as early as 1973 - the year the White Australia Policy was finally abolished - and continuing today, Professor Nancy Viviani's work has reflected an aspiration and an optimism that Australia will "beat history" and avoid the racial tensions and conflict endemic in other multi-racial societies.

Read the citation delivered by Vice Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Professor Glyn Davis, at the Asialink Chairman's Dinner on 1 December 2009.


Richard A Woolcott AC
Dick Woolott AC has had a long and distinguished contribution to Australia's relations with Asia.From an early stage in his career, Dick Woolcott became the face of Australian diplomacy. He was the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations from 1982 to 1988, and served as the President of the United Nations Security Council for Australia's term in November 1985. Woolcott also served as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the most senior diplomatic posting in Australia, from 1988 to 1992. As DFAT Secretary, he was involved in the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Read the citation.


Tim Fischer AC
The former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Trade and the former leader of the National Party established lasting relationships in Asia through good times and the bad, such as the Asian economic crisis. He took a special interest in Thailand and Bhutan, promoting their interests and developing strong ties. After retirement from politics, Mr Fischer maintained his links with Asia as the chairman of Tourism Australia until June 2007.


Sister Mary Theodore OAM
The 2006 Asialink Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop Asialink Medal recognises Sister Mary Theodore OAM's dedication over 50 years to the care and rehabilitation of mentally and physically disabled children in Chennai, India through the Madras Institute To Habilitate Retarded Afflicted, MITHRA.


Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large, The Australian
Through Paul Kelly's editorship of The Australian, his public speeches, and through his writing, he has lifted the standard of discussion and deliberation in enhancing Australia's appreciation of Asia. Paul has been consistently the most perceptive observer and interpreter of Australia-Asia relations among the fourth estate over the past 25 years. The greater sophistication with which Australia now relates to the region has unquestionably been influenced significantly by Paul Kelly.

Read the citation. 


Dr Harold Clough AO, OBE FTS
A pioneer in establishing business relations with Asia and investing in Indonesia through Clough Ltd, his understanding of business in Asia and his enthusiasm in promoting the benefits of continued Australia-Asia engagement, is an inspiration to future generations.


Dr John Yu AC
A paediatrician and Australian of the Year in 1996, in recognition of his visionary leadership in building Australia's dynamic and multi-faceted relationship with Greater China.


The Hon Gough Whitlam AC QC and Mrs Margaret Whitlam AO 
Former Labor Prime Minister of Australia and his wife of nearly 60 years played a leading role in establishing the modern Australia-China relationship.


Mr Bill Armstrong AO
Executive Director, Australian Volunteers International for 18 years. Mr Armstrong devoted more than 30 years to leading volunteer involvement in the Asian region.


Professor Stephen Fitzgerald AO

Professor Fitzgerald was appointed Australia's first Ambassador to the People's Republic of China and has contributed to Australia-Asia engagement.


Professor John Pearn AM, RFD 
Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, Deputy Head of the Graduate School of Medicine, University of Queensland, and Surgeon-General of the Australian Defence Forces.


Professor Walter Taylor OAM
Professor Taylor, in association with colleagues in Thailand, pioneered research on plants used in traditional medicine in Asia, which have properties that relieve the symptoms of asthma. He devoted more than 30 years to nurturing scientists from Asia in their research.


Dr George Tippett, AM 
An anesthetist specialising in techniques for cataract surgery, Dr Tippett's work has been an invaluable contribution to the standard of health care provided in the Asian region.


Professor Peter Drysdale AO
Executive Director of the Australia-Japan Research Centre and Professor at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. Professor Drysdale made an outstanding contribution to the development of students and to research collaboration.


Professor Francis Billson AO
Professor Billson, the inaugural Dunlop Asia Medallist, was an ophthalmic surgeon who dedicated much of hs career to alleviating the suffering caused by blindness in Bangladesh and elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia.