More than 1300 Awardees from 60 different countries attended prestigious 2016 Australia Awards mid-year Welcome and Farewell events across Australia in June and July.
The mid-year celebrations are staged annually in all states and also in the Australian Capital Territory to acknowledge arriving and departing Australia Awards scholarship recipients.
They were joined by 47 New Colombo Plan scholars who also attended the events.
In a special moment for the Australia Awards, the retiring Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr Peter Varghese was the keynote speaker at the Australian Capital Territory Welcome and Farewell event on 27 June.
Mr Varghese told the arriving Australia Awards scholars “You have an unparalleled opportunity to see your country from the perspective of another country, and to understand the country to which you have been sent.
“That is the spirit in which we have now, for very many decades, run our scholarship program—beginning in the 1950s and continuing to today. Over that period we have welcomed around 2.5 million international students to Australia and provided more than 80,000 scholarships.” he said.
Mr Varghese encouraged all the departing scholars to stay in touch “with each other, with the Australian Government, and with Australia.”
“As members of our global alumni community, we want to make it easy for you to maintain your connections with Australia and each other, and we’re committed to providing you with professional development opportunities long after you return home”, First Assistant Secretary Public Diplomacy and Communications Division Rob Tranter told the arriving and departing scholars in Melbourne.
The Australian Government was seeking to connect with, mobilise and celebrate our Australia Global Alumni community through the government’s Global Alumni Engagement Strategy
, Australia Awards and Alumni Branch Assistant Secretary Cheryl Johnson told the Queensland Welcome and Farewell event. Australia’s unique new Global Alumni website
and social media platform was a key part of that Strategy, as the online home of Australia's Global Alumni.
“What makes your Australia Award special is that you were individually selected from tens of thousands of applicants. You will be the leaders of the future, and we very much want to be part of that journey. That’s why the Australian Government has invested more than $340 million in the Australia Awards in 2015–16,” she said.
Chancellors and Pro-Vice Chancellors from partner universities also gave keynote speeches on behalf of the Australia Awards university partners.
This year, 1334 Australia Awards scholars started their studies in the first semester at 67 institutions throughout the country, and
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) would like to extend a warm welcome to all the new arrivals who’ve come from around 33 countries to study here. In 2015, more than 2100 Australia Awards scholars from more than 74 countries attended the Australia Awards mid-year and end of year events.