Improving the supply of medicines in Fiji, natural resource management in the Mekong, and the health of livestock in Cambodia and Laos are among 20 new projects to be undertaken as part of the New Colombo Plan.
“This is a wonderful way for the University to engage with entrepreneurial Asia. It allows our students to experience cross-cultural learning, corporate and community engagement and the challenges of entrepreneurship and innovation."
The federal government announced the $AU20 million of funding for the 2016 phase of the plan, which will send more than 5,450 students across Australia on internships and study programs to 28 locations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Overall the government has committed $100 million over five years to this major initiative to enhance knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region.
Since the scheme first launched in December 2013, the University has received funding to send 189 students to Indonesia, Japan, China and Laos. In a major expansion of the University’s involvement, this year’s announcement supports 304 students undertaking projects in those four countries and eight more: India, Cambodia, Samoa, Vietnam, Fiji, Thailand, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia and Myanmar.
“We are delighted to have government support for such a large number of projects, spread across ten faculties and including the involvement of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC), United States Studies Centre and the China Studies Centre,” said Professor Michele Ford, Director of SSEAC.
SSEAC will be involved in five interdisciplinary projects, leading two field schools to Indonesia and supporting three remote and rural enterprise programs in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
“This is a wonderful way for the University to engage with entrepreneurial Asia. It allows our students to experience cross-cultural learning, corporate and community engagement and the challenges of entrepreneurship and innovation. They will be working to resolve real-life commercial problems for entrepreneurial businesses in Asia,” said Dr Richard Seymour, Program Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at the University of Sydney Business School.
“We have a long history of engaging across Southeast Asia, India and China, and this funding allows us to deepen relationships that have grown between partner Universities, entrepreneurial businesses, and our own initiatives such as those developing entrepreneurial women and entrepreneurship in people with disabilities.”
The involvement of students from a range of disciplines is an important feature of many of the University’s New Colombo Plan initiatives. Reflecting on her experience in Batam, Indonesia, on a SSEAC interdisciplinary field school, Bachelor of Health Sciences student Veiongo Lamipeti, commented: “Interdisciplinary fieldwork is not only challenging but it is one of the best learning opportunities that I have personally ever experienced…Each discipline brings a different perspective, attitude and approach to our fieldwork. This group is the epitome of the idea that diversity enhances productivity, creativity and as a result, enhances everyone’s understanding of the area of research.”