In line with a commitment to support strong Australia Awards alumni communities, an extensive program of alumni engagement activities, initiatives and events was conducted throughout 2018.
Participants of the successful 2018 Regional Alumni Workshop in Bhutan have continued in 2019 to achieve substantial environment and climate action-related outcomes in the region.
Approximately 2,000 alumni attended one or more of the regional and country-level engagement events conducted during the year. These included:
- a seminar hosted by the Australia Awards Women in Leadership Network (WiLN) and Dhaka University on ‘Girl Child in Bangladesh: Empowerment and Equity’
- a blood donation drive organised by the Bhutan Australia Alumni Association that attracted over 100 donors
- a Research Forum organised by Maldives Australia Alumni covering a range of topics, including sustainable development, security, agriculture, health and the environment
- an event in Kathmandu, ‘Celebrating Partnerships and Diversity’, the keynote address of which was signed in Auslan by 2015 Young Australian of the Year, Drisana Levitzke-Gray.
Alumni Disability Initiative Grants were introduced in Nepal, supporting outcomes including: training visually impaired youths on the use of assistive technology; supporting educators for learners with disability; and supporting leaders of Disabled People’s Organisations to increase their understanding of laws and policies.
The Sri Lanka Association of Australia Awards Alumni was particularly active, with initiatives including fundraising, the development of school libraries, and the establishment of provincial chapters.
The WiLN, launched through the Regional Alumni Workshop in 2015, is increasingly active. The WiLN’s national chapters assisted in promoting Australia Awards to potential applicants, mentored new recipients, and engaged in a range of activities to promote and support women’s empowerment in local communities.
In Pakistan, a Mentorship Development Program was introduced, and an online campaign profiling 24 of the most active members of the WiLN was launched by the Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan and the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, the Hon. Dr Sharman Stone.
Image: The International Conference on Compliance Trends for Financial Institutions 2018 & Beyond. Featured from left to right, Hon Eran Wickramaratne (Sri Lanka State Minister of Finance), Mr Nithar Cassim (Chief Editor of Daily FT), with the 2018 President of the Sri Lanka Association of Australia Awards Alumni, Anusha Nishanthi, and 2019 President, Dr Pradeepa Jayaratne.
The alumni database was further developed, and
high-achieving alumni were acknowledged, such as Aisha Jalil (Pakistan), who was named in the 2018 Muslim Women in Sports Powerlist as one of the 30 most influential Muslim women in sport in the world. It is also noted that the Prime Minister of Bhutan and five of his ten Cabinet Ministers have studied in Australia, as have six serving Cabinet Ministers in the Maldives.