A student from The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus has been named a 2020 New Colombo Plan Scholar.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator Marise Payne, announced the recipients of the 2020 New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarships at a special morning tea event held on Monday 25 November at Parliament House in Canberra. Of the 125 Scholarships awarded to students from 37 universities around Australia, one has been happily accepted by Notre Dame student Emma Locker, who is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts double degree.
The event was attended by Notre Dame’s Pro Vice Chancellor International, Professor Peta Sanderson, who said she was delighted by Emma’s success. “The New Colombo Plan Scholarship program provides an incredible platform from which the students can launch their future careers,” she said.
“As our leaders of tomorrow, a meaningful engagement with communities and cultures of the Indo-Pacific region is key to collaborative long-term relationships which stand not only the students in good stead, but Australian interests more broadly.”
Among the most prestigious scholarships available for undergraduate students in Australia, the NCP Scholarships are sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and aimed at increasing a deep knowledge of, and engagement with, the Indo-Pacific region.
Successful students study at universities in their chosen host country for up to one year and many also undertake an internship while abroad. They receive tuition fees of up to $20,000, $1500 for language tuition, a $2500 travel allowance, $2500 to assist with settling in, $2500 monthly stipend, and Health and Travel insurance for the duration.
Emma Locker will enrol in Policy Studies at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and is applying to undertake an internship with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. “I have been working towards this for the past two years so I was very happy when I found out I had been selected for a scholarship,” she said. “Listening to Minister Payne’s speech was really inspiring; she spoke to the scholars as future leaders and it highlighted to me what an important responsibility and privilege it is to represent Australia through these scholarships.”
The Law/Arts student has chosen to undertake her studies in Fiji as it is a significant social and economic hub in the Pacific region, but also because the country holds a special place in her heart. “I moved to Fiji when I was 18 years old and spent six months living with a local family and working as a teacher’s aid at a school. During that time I made a real connection with the country and I am excited to be returning.”
Also acknowledged at the NCP Scholarship function in Canberra was Health Sciences student Alana Middleton, who has been selected as Notre Dame’s 2020 New Colombo Plan Alumni Ambassador. NCP Alumni Ambassadors are students who have previously participated in a New Colombo Plan Mobility Program and will help promote the NCP among the students at their university and in the wider community.
Having received a NCP Mobility Grant to study at Saint Paul Institute in Cambodia for three weeks in January this year, Alana looks forward to encouraging other students to take advantage of the opportunities available through the NCP.
“It is really important to share information about opportunities like this,” said Alana. “Hopefully I can inspire more students to apply, just as I was inspired by this year’s Notre Dame NCP Alumni Ambassador Kamran Ahmed to become an ambassador myself.”
Alana studied a Social Justice course while in Cambodia and said one of the best parts of the experience was learning about the social justice issues Cambodians face first-hand. “It was a great way to open my mind and deepen my cultural understanding of the country.”
Caption: Alana Middleton, Professor Peta Sanderson, Emma Locker
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