In a speech at UNSW Sydney, the Prime Minister said Australia’s universities “bring the world together” and that their global network of hundreds of thousands of alumni are central to the “dynamism, economic growth and partnership that we want to see more of”.
“The ongoing role of Australian education in the region is vital to security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific; as I often say, you can’t have one without the other,” said Prime Minister Turnbull.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson warmly welcomed the Prime Minister’s comments, which also highlighted the importance of research collaboration.
“For six decades Australia’s universities have educated and trained hundreds of thousands of people from our region and helped inspire innovation across the Indo-Pacific through major research partnerships,” Ms Jackson said.
“The Indo-Pacific is home to more than 4.3 billion people – 60 per cent of the world’s population,” she said.
“That’s a whole world on our doorstep. Australia’s universities have driven development and improved people’s lives. They’ve also forged valuable and long-lasting cultural, economic and political ties that have brought Australia and the region together.”
“And when international students return home from their studies – which the vast majority do – this creates a powerful network of global alumni with great affection for Australia.”
“There is no doubt that education is key to peace and prosperity in our neighbourhood.”
International education brings in $32 billion to the economy and supports 130,000 Australian jobs.
“Australia educates half a million students from nearly two hundred countries – that’s such a strong foundation for Australia’s friendships, diplomacy and trade in the decades ahead,” said Ms Jackson.
“It is heartening to see the Prime Minister recognise the important and fundamental role our universities play in developing meaningful ties that benefit all of us both at home and abroad.”
Universities Australia yesterday launched a video series featuring international students talking about their time studying in Australia as part of the #1inHalfaMillion campaign.
Watch the videos here.