Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

History of the Clark Center

Australia and the United States share two hundred years of history and traditions, a common language and culture, a firm commitment to democratic institutions. The two countries have also entered into a mutual defense arrangement and benefit from interdependent economies. These shared backgrounds and national interests have created a strong relationship.
Presentation of Bark PaintingParallels even more striking may be drawn between Australia and Texas. Their populations are almost the same size, their climates and topographies alike. Their frontier experiences are recent, their political and social traditions markedly egalitarian, and both their economies today rely on agriculture, minerals, and high technology. To recognize these national and regional affinities, and to commemorate Australia's Bicentenary in 1988, The University of Texas at Austin established The Edward A. Clark Center for Australian Studies. Named for the illustrious Texan who was United States Ambassador to Australia during the 1960s, the Center was inaugurated when Bob Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia, visited the campus in June 1988.
The Australian Prime Minister presented an Aboriginal bark painting to the University at a gala dinner that marked the inauguration of the Center in June 1988. Formally receiving the gift were William H. Cunningham, President of the University, and Jack Blanton, former Chairman of the Board of Regents.The Clark Center serves as a focal point for academic, artistic, and public interchanges between the two countries. Funded by a special endowment, the Center is launching a variety of programs.In 2001, the center was renamed The Edward A. Clark Center for Australian & New Zealand Studies in order to reflect the ever-expanding importance of the region.

The Setting...

The University of Texas at Austin, a major teaching and research university, has long shown a strong interest in Australia. Located in the capital of Texas, its 40,000 undergraduates, 10,000 graduate students, and 12,000 faculty and staff members occupy one of the largest campuses in the United States. In 2018, the University ranked 39th internationally and 23rd nationally. The University sustains numerous international programs, which are organized and taught by academic departments in conjunction with interdisciplinary institutes and centers. These include the noted Institute of Latin American Studies; centers for AsianMiddle EasternRussian, East European and Eurasian; a Population Research Center; programs on AmericanAfrican and African AmericanEuropean, and Mexican-American studies. The University draws faculty and students from all parts of the world, and attracts visitors, artists, and cultural events to create a diverse and cosmopolitan community.

The Center's Endowment...

Generous donations by several individuals and corporations have enabled The University of Texas at Austin to establish an endowment for the Center. At present, income from the endowment constitutes approximately a third of what the University estimates is needed to fund the Center's activities. Increasing this endowment is therefore a primary goal. In 1996, after the successful visit of the former Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable R.L.J. Hawke, and his wife, Blanche d'Alpuget, the Center initiated a "Friends of the Clark Center" fund for local people interested in supporting the Center's activities.  
If you’re interested in supporting the Clark Center’s mission, please contact the Director, Rhonda Evans, or you can donate here.

Sponsors and Benefactors