UCD President Andrew Deeks returned to his childhood country of Australia as part of a UCD Alumni Tour this October. Deeks kicked off the tour in his hometown of Perth, with the opening speech at an event in the University Club of Western Australia, on the 23rd of October.

He attended an event at University House, at the University of Melbourne, on the 25th of October. Fergal Coleman, who mentors students in Faculty of Business and Economics, at University of Melbourne, was present. Coleman is better known for his career in the League of Ireland. He was top scorer in the First Division with 13 goals for Galway United in the 1997/98 season.

Deeks then travelled to Sydney for an event at Four Seasons Hotel, on the 26th of October. Professor Rónán McDonald, who completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in UCD, also spoke at the event. McDonald is the Director of the Global Irish Studies Centre, at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He is also the President of the Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand.

The next alumni tour will begin in China at the start of November, with Deeks set to attend. It starts with an event at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, on the 4th of November. Professor David Fitzpatrick, Principal of UCD College of Engineering and Architecture, will be giving a talk on the impact that UCD alumni have made on the Chinese economy, alongside Paul Costigan and Kevin Trappe. Costigan is the CEO of Senseg Oy, a Finnish technology company, while Trappe is the founder and MD of Axiom, a headhunting firm in Hong Kong. Fitzpatrick became the first Provost of the Beijing-Dublin International College (BDIC), a partnership between UCD and Beijing University of Technology, which opened in 2012.

Deeks will then head on to Fudan University, in Shanghai, for another reception on the 7th of November. The event will centre around a panel discussion on the One Belt One Road project. Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to build a road that will link China to Europe, based on the historical Silk Road route. UCD have noted this project will ‘bring together the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road through a vast network of railways, roads, pipelines, ports, and telecommunications infrastructure.’

The most recent developments in the plan centre on its engineering challenges. FitzPatrick will be taking part in the event with Gareth McAlister, Lina Xu and Rita Boyle. McAlister is President of the Asia-Pacific region of LORD Corporation, which produces vibration and motion control technologies, sensing systems, adhesives and coatings. Xu is a lecturer and assistant professor in the School of Computer Science in UCD. She also teaches in BDIC. Boyle, a UCD graduate and Chartered Accountant, is head of SBA Stone Forest’s eDiscovery Division in Shanghai.

Originally born in the UK, Deeks’ family moved to Australia when he was six. He studied and worked in the University of Western Australia, before returning to England to become Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Science at Durham University in 2009. Deeks holds joint British and Australian citizenship.

Cian Carton – Editor