Reception to Celebrate “Colombo Plan Scholars & the ‘New Colombo Plan'”

Australian High Commissioner’s Residence, 9 White House Park, 22 August 2014, 7pm-8.30pm

Community and Hospitality are 2 words that regularly pepper the conversation when you speak with Australian Alumni about their experiences in Australia. Many have returned to their home countries imbued with a deep impression and fond memories of the time spent in Australia whilst they were studying. The hospitality shown by the Australian community was integral to the quality of their experiences.

This sense of community and hospitality is not surprising given the genesis of the Colombo Plan. Born out of a Commonwealth Conference of Foreign Ministers, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in January 1950, the Colombo Plan was established to provide a framework within which international cooperation efforts could be promoted to raise the standards of people in the region. This plan saw thousands of Asian students travel to study in Australian universities.

Many of the students from the original Colombo Plan eventually took on leadership positions in both public and private sectors of the newly independent nations of Asia then.

300 of these Colombo Plan Scholars came together on 22 Aug 2014 at a reception hosted by the Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency Philip Green in his residence, to celebrate Colombo Plan Scholars and the New Colombo Plan. This occasion was marked by a visit by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Julie Bishop who in her speech declared the New Colombo Plan (NCP) a flagship programmme of the Australian Government. The NCP programme provides scholarships to students to study at leading universities in the region and offers short term work placements to provide industry experience, whilst providing opportunities to immerse in another culture, learn a second language and foster friendships to last a lifetime. Singapore is one of 4 Asian countries which will host 40 NCP scholars in 2014 – the inaugural year of the launch of this initiative.

At the reception, Chris Cheah, President of AAS, announced the “AAS-NCP Hospitality Scheme” through which AAS members would play host to visiting NCP scholars to Singapore, and introduce to them aspects of the Singapore culture. The spirit of this scheme is rooted in the desire of AAS hosts to “pay forward” the hospitality they themselves had received.

AAS warmly welcomes the following NCP scholars to Singapore:

  1. Pratul Awasthi
  2. Rong Zhai
  3. Jesse Nolan
  4. John Gilbertson
  5. Rebecca Wardell