Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today launched the Australia Awards scholarship scheme at Customs House, University of Queensland.
The Australia Awards are comprised of two streams: a development stream that offers recipients the opportunity to study in Australia, and then return home to contribute to the development of their own country; and an achievement stream that targets the best and brightest students, researchers and professionals to come to Australia to study and for Australians to do the same offshore.
The launch was attended by 200 Australia Awards scholarship recipients from across the world, studying in Queensland, and also marked the first networking and alumni event for the Awards held in Australia.
“The Awards aim to foster a new generation of regional leaders who develop a strong understanding of Australia while studying at our universities,” Mr Rudd said.
“Past alumni include Marcos Da Cruz who studied at the University of Queensland and is currently the East Timorese Secretary of State for Agriculture and Arboriculture, and Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr Natalegawa, who studied at the Australian National University.
“The Awards showcase Australia's cutting-edge capabilities in the education sector, which includes five of the world's top 100 universities, and demonstrate Australia's ongoing commitment to building closer and enduring ties with our region and beyond.”
Education is Australia’s third-biggest export item, with Australia’s total education exports worth $19.1 billion last financial year. Under the Australia Awards around 5,000 students will study in Australia in any given year, with approximately 1,000 of those in Queensland.
Mr Rudd also took the opportunity to announce the membership of the Australia Awards Board, which will be chaired by Professor Geoff Gallop AC.
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