Dr Merriden Varrall is Director, East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute. Before joining the Lowy Institute Merriden was the Assistant Country Director and Senior Policy Advisor at UNDP China, where she worked for the past three years on China’s role in the world, focusing on its international development cooperation policy. Merriden has spent almost eight years living and working in China, including lecturing in foreign policy at the China Foreign Affairs University and conducting fieldwork for her doctoral research. Prior to that she worked for the Australian Treasury. Merriden has a PhD in political anthropology from Macquarie University, Sydney, and the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Her dissertation examined the ideational factors behind China’s foreign policy. She has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from the Australian National University, and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Technology Sydney.