New Colombo Plan Scholars to benefit Indo-Pacific Relations

Five outstanding University of Adelaide students have been awarded New Colombo Plan scholarships, to help build long-term ties between Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.

Described as “Australia’s Future Leaders”, the students have been selected on the basis of their academic performance, community leadership, and a commitment to forging relationships in the region.

The scholarships, announced today by the Australian Government, will enable the students to live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region for up to 12 months.

“Supporting the University of Adelaide’s best and brightest students to explore and connect with the world is a key part of the University’s role,"Professor Jacqueline Lo, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International)

“We are very proud of our New Colombo Plan scholars, who have been given a unique development opportunity and the ability to represent Australia in the Indo-Pacific region,” says Professor Jacqueline Lo, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Adelaide.

“Supporting the University of Adelaide’s best and brightest students to explore and connect with the world is a key part of the University’s role. International engagement underpins the exchange of knowledge and ideas across our region – and will give Yasmine, Leah, Max, Stephan and Daniel the experience of a lifetime.

“I wish each of our New Colombo Plan scholars well as they connect with institutions in China, Singapore and Fiji, developing networks and friendships, new knowledge and capabilities, and a deep sense of cultural understanding that will benefit Australia and our partners over the years to come,” Professor Lo says.

“With the global pandemic and travel restrictions in place, it may take longer for our scholars to be able to fully realise the benefits of their scholarships. Nevertheless, once international border restrictions lift, more than ever we will need to reinvigorate our connections with colleagues and communities overseas.”

The University of Adelaide’s New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholars for 2021:

Daniel Barr (Bachelor of International Relations)
Host institution: Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.
Daniel, from the Riverland town of Renmark, has a gift for Chinese language and returned to university study last year after completing horticulture certificates at TAFE. As well as studying Mandarin Chinese language in China, he will intern at the Ministry of Agriculture, and will explore Asian landscape design principles at a number of UNESCO-listed gardens close to Shanghai.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity to go to Shanghai as a New Colombo Plan scholar, especially after spending the last six months developing my vision with the support of my University and the NCP alumni. It is amazing to develop my goals with so much support behind me, and I can’t wait to see what opportunities Shanghai brings!”

Max Douglass (Bachelor of Economics (Advanced))
Host institution: National University of Singapore.
Max’s Honours research will be co-supervised by NSU’s Professor Tuan Hwee Sng, a leading academic in the field of institutional economics, prior to interning at the World Bank in Singapore. Max has worked as a tutor for the University’s Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal education unit and as a peer mentor in the Faculty of the Professions, among other commitments.

“I am looking forward to living and interning in such a historically and culturally rich environment. Australia and Singapore’s ever-growing economic and strategic relationship means that the importance of Australian students being connected to the country cannot be overstated. Internship exposure in a region experiencing such rapid economic growth will also allow me to develop unique translatable skills as I commence my career as a young economist.”

Stephan Robin (Bachelor of Science and Bachelor Arts)
Host institution: National University of Singapore.
Undertaking courses in history and physics while in Singapore, Stephan is interested in working in the field of management consulting and will intern at PwC. A committee member of the Exchange Students Network, Stephan has previously experienced the transformative nature of overseas study, in the Netherlands.

“It’s a terrific opportunity to study at a top global university, learn about their cutting-edge physics research, and develop a stronger understanding of the political dynamics of a region increasingly coming under international focus. Most of all, I am personally really excited to spend some time living in such a vibrant and dynamic city with a rich multicultural tradition.”

Leah Schamschurin (Bachelor of Arts (Advanced) and Bachelor of Environmental Policy and Management)
Host institution: University of the South Pacific, Fiji.
Leah’s study in Fiji will be followed by an internship with global company GHD, focusing on sustainable development. During this time, she will explore the connection between the physical, natural and social environments and local communities. Leah is also the Welfare Officer for the University’s Student Representative Council.

“I have always believed that the best way to understand our world is to go out and experience it. With the opportunity to live and study in Fiji, I am excited to learn about environmental sustainability and human geography within an entirely different cultural and political context. It will not only help me better understand the relationship between Australia and neighbouring countries, but also gain a unique perspective that can be used as I pursue a career in either environmental governance or international development.”

Yasmine Wright-Gittens (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of International Relations)
Host institution: University of the South Pacific, Fiji.
Following her time studying development and ecology in Fiji, Yasmine will take up an internship in New Caledonia with the Dayu Biik Association, the traditional custodians of the Mount Panie Reserve. This reflects Yasmine’s commitment to sustainable management of the environment.

“I am eager to really take hold of this opportunity and immerse myself in the local culture in Fiji and New Caledonia. I am truly excited to explore the islands’ landscapes and to connect with organisations dedicated to helping the environment, people and local economy. The Pacific is so often undervalued for its potential to develop rich and diverse partnerships with Australia and one of my biggest goals while overseas will be promoting connections between Australian and Pacific youth over issues such as climate change and Indigenous sovereignty.”

More information about the New Colombo Plan can be found at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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