“These pioneering Australian and New Colombo Plan ambassadors will study at leading universities in the Indo-Pacific region, participate in a work placement, develop greater cultural awareness, learn a language and build networks that will endure for a lifetime,” said Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Ms Belinda Robinson.
At the awards dinner hosted by the patron of the program, Australian Governor-General, General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC (Retd), Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop commended Australian universities for the magnificent effort they had made in supporting the program.
“Our universities have been delighted to get behind this unique program because of the exciting opportunity it represents, not just for their brightest students but for those who embody the spirit of the Plan in celebrating Australia’s commitment to the region,” Ms Robinson said.
“The program has the potential to transform, not just the educational experience and global outlook of our students, but for Australian-Indo-Pacific relations in the same way that its predecessor, the Colombo Plan, did decades ago.”
Ms Robinson said that Australia’s universities have been trail-blazers in building links with countries in the region through the provision of higher education to international students, staff and student exchanges, research collaboration and transnational education.
“The combination of study and work experiences in these countries means not only a more in-depth, well-rounded exchange experience, but it facilitates academic and business links that will not end when the students return to Australia,” Ms Robinson said.
Ms Robinson also congratulated the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), on his appointment as the New Colombo Plan Patron.
“Having someone as esteemed as the current Governor-General as the Plan’s Patron sends a clear signal to our region of the level of Australia’s commitment to this very worthy program.”
Ms Robinson said that Universities Australia, in partnering with the Government on the World Class promotional program, shares the Government’s desire to have Australian university students increasingly see overseas study as a normal part of the of undergraduate experience.