Flinders has been successful in securing more than $1m in the latest round of Australia Awards Fellowship funding, as announced by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier this month.
The Australia Awards Fellowships are funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and aim to improve living standards and stimulate economic growth in developing countries through increased educational opportunities.
The scheme gives mid-career professionals from 40 different developing nations the opportunity to undertake crucial research and professional training in order to address pressing social, economic and foreign affairs issues in their homelands.
Flinders is one of 48 host organisations who have won funding for 2017-18, contributing to a total of 94 Fellowships involving 1,136 Fellows.
At Flinders, the latest round of funding will support five Fellowship projects and 65 individual Fellows.
“The Australia Awards program is a great diplomatic initiative,” says Sebastian Raneskold, Vice-President and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at Flinders University.
“It has proven to deepen cultural understanding across continents and contribute to a shared and productive vision of lasting economic and social change in the regions of the world that need it most.
“The newly funded Fellowship projects at Flinders will help mid-career professionals from Southeast Asia tackle key issues related to healthcare, water management and human rights in their communities.”
The Fellowships will specifically seek to address mental health stigma in West Java; violence against women and girls in Indonesia and Vietnam; disability education in Myanmar; agricultural sustainability and groundwater management in Vietnam; and maternal and newborn health in Indonesia.
To date, Flinders has been successful in 12 of the 17 rounds of Australia Awars funding since the program commenced in 2007.
“Two of our recent Australia Awards Fellows have gone on to develop important policy and legislation around disability and disability supports in Indonesia, and another has helped establish a new political party to advocate for the rights and of those living with a disability in Timor-Leste.
“These achievements, and many others like them, are a living testimony of the power of the Australia Awards program to open up opportunity where previously none existed, and empower Flinders graduates to create meaningful change in challenging circumstances,” says Mr Raneskold.
The newest Australia Awards Fellows will commence their Fellowships at Bedford Park campus in October 2017 and will join a burgeoning international community of past and present Australia Award Fellows who have trained at Flinders and gone on to make a positive and lasting difference to the health and sustainability of their home nations.