The New Colombo Plan’s 2020 Mobility Program round will support 11,196 undergraduates from 40 Australian universities to complete short-term study and work-based experiences in 36 locations across the Indo-Pacific.
Cross-cultural education is an important part of our engagement with the Indo-Pacific. This key initiative, launched by the Coalition in 2014, continues to provide more opportunities for undergraduate students, which in turn deepens Australia’s people-to-people, business and university links with the region.
We have increased awards for Australian undergraduates to engage with Pacific nations by 15 per cent over the previous round. Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are the most popular Pacific destinations, with the Republic of the Marshall Islands to host New Colombo Plan Mobility Program students for the first time in 2020. Over the next three years, 75 undergraduates will study the impact of climate change on local communities in the Marshall Islands and develop projects to support sustainability and resilience.
We have also ensured that the broad diversity of our nation is represented in the New Colombo Plan, with one third of Mobility Program undergraduates coming from rural and regional areas, an increase in the participation of Australian Indigenous students and greater gender equality. Over half of the more than 25,000 students who have completed a New Colombo Plan Mobility Program to date, have been women.
The growing cohort of New Colombo Plan alumni shows our commitment to increasing links with the Indo-Pacific. This influential and diverse network of young Australians, with direct experience in the Indo-Pacific, will continue to contribute to deepening regional understanding and ties.