Australia has chosen 100 of its brightest undergraduates from 26 universities and awarded them scholarships under the New Colombo Plan. This will give them an opportunity to live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region for up to 12 months in 2016.

The announcement of the expansion of the New Colombo Plan comes from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck. The extended list of countries now include Bhutan, the Maldives, Myanmar, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

The list of countries so far included established scholarship destinations like Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

“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,” 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.”

The students have been selected on the basis of their community leadership, academic performance and a proven commitment to forging long term relationships with the Indo-Pacific.

According to Colbeck, the success of the New Colombo Plan will heavily depend on the support from Australian universities.

“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,” he said.

Colbeck further said the New Colombo Plan would support more than 10,000 students in the first three years. It will create “a genuine two-way flow of students between Australia and our region,” he said.

For more information on the scholars selected for the scholarships, visit HERE.

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