New Delhi: New Colombo Plan scholars will study and experience culture in Indo Pacific countries and use their learnings to improve processes in Australia. One student will analyse how sport in Fiji helps disadvantaged groups, with plans of making positive changes through the use of sport in marginalised communities in Australia.
A remarkable group of nine Griffith University undergraduate students have been named as 2021 New Colombo Plan scholars.
The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is an Australian Government initiative which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
Newly announced NCP scholar Ramzi Matta will use his scholarship to learn how Taiwan manages crises and avoids risks, specifically looking at how its relationship with China has produced economic gain without becoming overly dependent
“There is an undeniable risk of conflict across the Taiwan Strait which would affect the lives of millions and be disastrous to nations prospering from the region, such as Australia,” he said.
“Remarkably, Taiwan has been effective at managing crises, from constant security concerns to its handling of the SARS and COVID-19 outbreaks.
“Australia could learn much from Taiwan.”
Ramzi said his rich cultural background and family’s experiences motivated him to study a Bachelor of Government and International Relations/Bachelor of Asian Studies.
“I was born into a diverse family, with a Parsi mother and a Lebanese father, who fled the civil war which has since destroyed the prosperity of Lebanon,” Ramzi said.
“Family conversations routinely turned into discussions about world-politics and conflicts, which…drove my desire to shape Australian foreign policy as a career.
“It also provided a unique perspective on the importance of avoiding crises and the need to understand cultural perspectives.”
Proud Gunggari woman Anthea Moodie is studying a Bachelor of Communication and Journalism/Bachelor of Business and has been awarded NCP Indigenous Fellow as the top-ranked Indigenous applicant, as well as the NCP Scholarship.
Anthea is keen to learn more about how sport provides opportunities for those from marginalised communities in Fiji to engage, connect and excel.
“I have commonly witnessed people of my culture who are gifted in sport fail to realise the opportunities presented before them,” Anthea said.
“Like Australia, Fiji’s national identity is deeply rooted in sport.
“Through my NCP experience, I will examine Fijian sporting programs to better understand how the outcomes of students from disadvantaged backgrounds can be improved across Australia.”
Alexander Blackborough, Anna Twomey, Cheyenne Apap, Dean Cosgrove, Joshua Saunders, Melissa Osborn and Pearl Hoile join Ramzi and Anthea as NCP scholars for 2021.
Joshua, a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Government and International Relations student, has also been awarded NCP ASEAN Fellow.
“I have a great love for Southeast Asia after my two years in Thailand and Myanmar and look forward to bringing this passion in this important leadership role,” Joshua said.
“Australia’s relationship with ASEAN is of particular significance as we move into a future shaped by the effects of COVID-19 on the global economy.”
Vice President (Global) Professor Sarah Todd said Griffith having nine scholars was an incredible result.
“In a year when international activities have been challenging to say the least, it’s great to see nine Griffith students receiving these prestigious awards,” Professor Todd said.
“I have no doubt that these new NCP scholars will have a truly transformative experience as have those who have gone before them.
“I am delighted to extend the University’s congratulations to them and wish them all the very best.”