He is the jet-setting host of one of China’s most popular television programs and the founder of burgeoning clothier Michelozzo. It would be understandable if alumnus James Lam (BA 2004, LLB 2004) had little time for anything else.
However, the star of China Central Television’s (CCTV) ‘Travelogue’ program is a five-year volunteer veteran of the Alumni Global Contacts Program. He is one of more than 40 graduates across the world who act as a point of contact for fellow alumni and the University.
Like many international alumni, James has a deep affection for Monash; an affection fostered by his positive student experience and the opportunities his degree has afforded him.
“I spent an unforgettable five years at Monash. I got to meet amazing people from around Australia and the rest of the planet,” Mr Lam said.
“The eclectic student body guaranteed lively exchange of ideas both within and outside the classroom. It was a truly exciting place to study.”
After graduating, having undertaken a year of Mandarin studies and a law internship, Mr Lam began working at international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He joined the Global Contacts Program after seeking out other Monash graduates in Beijing.
“I thought ‘why not become one myself?’ so I could help others in a similar position.
“I think it's important to be involved with the University. I find Monash graduates to be exceptionally friendly and supportive of each other’s endeavors. I wanted to help bring the
large alumni community together and provide assistance to newcomers to Beijing.”
Mr Lam said the best part about volunteering as a contact was getting to meet new people and forming friendships with fellow alumni.
“People contact me for many reasons,” he said. “They may want to know about upcoming events or they may be simply seeking a recommendation on where to get authentic Peking duck or the best place to grab a drink.
“Some alumni just find it helpful to have a point of contact when they arrive in Beijing.”
In early 2011, a break from the law to travel led to an offer to host CCTV’s travel program. He founded Australian-based men’s clothier Michelozzo in early 2012 and now divides his time between Melbourne and Beijing.
He recently added philanthropist to his curriculum vitae, through his support of Monash University's Achieving Potential Fund.
“After reading about the fund and the good it was doing, I felt it was a genuinely worthwhile cause which helps to make a meaningful difference.”