ACU’s New Colombo Plan scholars set for Indo-Pacific in 2023

Four exceptional ACU students will embark on a unique global learning experience in 2023 after being named recipients of the highly prized New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

Grace Lawson, Jeriberi Niyongabo, Neisha Scully and Georgia Kane attended the 2023 New Colombo Plan Scholarship Awards Ceremony hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra on 6 December.

Grace, Jeriberi, Neisha and Georgia will live and study in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Fiji to develop their skills across a diverse set of fields including foreign affairs, economic development and law.

Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Global Studies student Grace Lawson will study foreign affairs, human rights, and the Filipino language at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

During her time in the Philippines, Grace also intends to undertake an internship with the Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, which works to uphold and promote women’s rights, particularly within the legal system.

“The opportunity to apply for NCP was one I couldn’t pass up. Having the opportunity to completely immerse myself in a culture through study, internship and language is unique from other opportunities available so I knew it was something I needed to be a part of,” Grace said.

“I hope that immersing myself in Asia-Pacific relations through my study and connections with organisations can show me how (law and global studies) concepts come into play when engaging with real life issues and people.”

Fellow NCP scholar and Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce student Jeriberi Niyongabo will study at Sunway University in Malaysia, before exploring his passion in economic growth through an internship at the Singapore Economic Development Board.

“The focus of my program is to gain an insight into cross-cultural collaboration between Malaysia and Singapore. My experience at the EDB will provide me with the opportunity to understand how to execute strategies that enhance a country’s economic competitiveness,” Jeriberi said.

“I also plan to volunteer with MILK Foundation in Singapore, which aims to deliver programs that empower students and their families to break out of the cycle of poverty. This experience will help me develop my capacity for cross-cultural collaboration while helping to improve outcomes in the local community.”

With aspirations to pursue a career in foreign affairs and international human rights law, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws student Neisha will undertake a semester of study at Mahidol University in Thailand, study the Thai language, and pursue an internship with the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner and Amnesty International Thailand.

“I am particularly interested in leveraging international law to enhance regional relationships, whilst working with the core objective to protect the inherent principles of world peace and security as entrenched by the United Nations,” Neisha said.

“I am looking forward to making the most of the opportunity to fully immerse myself in Thai culture.”

When speaking about her upcoming NCP experience in Fiji, Bachelor of International Development Studies student Georgia said she was excited to explore the socially mediated impacts of climate change in the Pacific region and how these impact population development outcomes.

“My research will explore the influence of Pacific Voices in shaping regional policy, and I hope to undertake various internships in Tuvalu and Kiribati, exploring women’s disaster risk reduction and resilience initiatives, among other areas,” Georgia said.

“I hope to utilise climate-vulnerable populations' knowledge and lived experience to engage in domestic policy and advocacy.”

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is an Australian Government initiative which aims to deepen Australia’s relationships with the Indo-Pacific by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake language training and internships in the region.

ACU Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global and Education Pathways Mr Chris Riley said the program enriches students’ learning and global citizenship, while giving them the opportunity to build strong networks and affinity within the region.

“Our new NCP scholars will have truly transformative experience as have those who have gone before them,” Mr Riley said.

“Their experience studying in another culture will build their understanding of local issues, customs and challenges, and in doing so help shape them as future leaders with a truly global mindset.”

ACU’s 2023 NCP scholars are:

Grace Lawson
Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Global Studies
Host institution: Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

Jeriberi Niyongabo
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce
Host institution: Sunway University, Malaysia

Neisha Scully
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws
Host institution: Mahidol University, Thailand

Georgia Kane
Bachelor of International Development Studies
Host institution: University of South Pacific, Fiji

Find out more about the New Colombo Plan

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