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Q&A: Jackson School alumna wins major grant to study China’s ocean issues

September 27, 2018

Tabitha Grace Mallory (B.A. International Studies and Mandarin Chinese, 2003), an affiliate professor at the Jackson School, has received a $245,000 grant from the Packard Foundation for an 18-month study of China’s “marine ecological civilization building” policy.

The study will examine the formation of this policy, announced by the Chinese central government in 2015 to address marine environmental issues, and analyze its implementation at local levels. We asked her in this Q&A to tell us more about the significance of the research project.

Tabitha Grace Mallory

Jackson School Alumna and Affiliate Faculty Tabitha Grace Mallory

Why is this topic important now, what makes it current or relevant?
“People are increasingly aware of how important our oceans are in terms of biodiversity, their role in climate change and as a source of protein. The urgency of environmental degradation combined with the ineffectiveness of previous policies is also affecting how the Chinese government views future prosperity.”

What research will the grant support? 
“The money will support field research in China, including in the coastal provinces of Shandong, Zhejiang, Hainan and Guangxi. Dr. Mallory will be studying how the central government environmental policies will be affecting other priorities for the ocean, such as China’s ambitious plan to develop 12 sectors of its ocean economy, and identifying challenges in how China is balancing these diverse goals.”

What inspired you to apply?
“The rise of China and the need to protect our oceans are two of the most important issues in the 21st century. Moving forward, we’re going to need to work together with China on marine environmental issues since they are ultimately global in scope. Seattle is an ocean city and the University of Washington has excellent programs on both China and oceans, so what an ideal place to base work like this. I hope it’ll be the start of more initiatives on this topic.”

In addition to teaching courses on Asia at the Jackson School, Dr. Mallory is also CEO of the Seattle-based consulting firm China Ocean Institute.