One hundred of Australia’s best and brightest undergraduates from 26 universities have been awarded highly prestigious Scholarships under the New Colombo Plan, which gives them the opportunity to live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region in 2016 for up to 12 months.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP and the Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, announced the continued expansion of the New Colombo Plan under the 2016 scholarship round.

Countries including Bhutan, the Maldives, Myanmar, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Vietnam will join established scholarship destinations such as Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand for the first time.

Minister Bishop said the 2016 New Colombo Plan scholars had been selected on the basis of their academic performance, community leadership and a proven commitment to forging long term relationships with the Indo-Pacific.

“This talented group of students will be impressive young ambassadors for Australia in the Indo-Pacific region, as they undertake studies, gain industry experience and learn about another culture while fostering friendships and networks that will last a lifetime,” Minister Bishop said.

“Australia is investing in the next generation of leaders who will continue to advance and build on our important bilateral relations in the Indo-Pacific region”.

Minister Colbeck said the strong support of Australian universities had been pivotal to the success of the New Colombo Plan.

“They have promoted the program and advocated strongly for the transformative power of studying in the region,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The breadth of study of New Colombo Plan scholars in 2016 – across fields as diverse as society and culture, engineering, management and commerce, science, creative arts, agriculture, health, IT and education – testifies to Australian universities’ engagement with the program and its promise of closer ties to the region.”

The announcement builds on the New Colombo Plan 2016 mobility round outcomes announced in July, where more than 5,450 students will study and intern in 28 locations in the Indo-Pacific.

Minister Colbeck said: “In its first three years, the New Colombo Plan is supporting more than 10,000 students to live, study and undertake work placements in the Indo-Pacific, creating a genuine two-way flow of students between Australia and our region.” 

For more information on the New Colombo Plan 2016 scholars, visit

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