Professor Wang Gungwu is internationally well known as prominent historian of Asia.
He was born in Indonesia, grew up in Malaysia and received higher education in China, Singapore and Britain. He was appointed professor at the University of Malaya at a very young age. His first achievement was a unique interpretation of the Nanyang Chinese history, the Nanhai trade and the relationship between the Ming Dynasty and Southeast Asia, in particular, the Malacca Kingdom. In the work, Professor Wang as a Southeast Asian historian, took the initiative in presenting Southeast Asian history to the world from the viewpoint of Southeast Asia. Besides establishing his position as a historian in Malaysia, he spent a lot of energy making the University of Malaya an international base for historical studies. At the same time, he obtained excellent results in leading international academic circles and training young researchers.
After he was invited to the Australian National University as professor of Far Eastern history in 1968, he became an Australian national. Professor Wang then released penetrative studies on themes including nationalism and the elite class. His focus then diverted to a wider view of China and her ties with Southeast Asia. During these years, his comments on international political affairs covering large areas of the globe carried a variety of insightful suggestions and attracted much attention. At the same time, he successively held important positions such as, Director of the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University, President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia and President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, while making a great contribution to the international development of studies on the Asian-Pacific region.
Since he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, Professor Wang has published important monographs on the Chinese overseas, their identities and international affairs. These issues are the subjects Professor Wang always wanted to work on. His activities are global and are not limited to academic fields. His pleasant, calm and yet alert personality has played a role in bridging the gap between different peoples and cultures which usually conflict with each other. It has won him a lot of confidence from people in the East and the West, and makes him a leading intellectual in contemporary Asia.
Professor Wang Gungwu's academic achievements are outstanding and shine brilliantly in the academic world of historical studies on Asia. These accomplishments are a guidepost to coming generation and make him a truly worthy recipient of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes' International Academic Prize.