Australian National University (ANU) graduate Patrick Mayoh is hoping a prestigious scholarship to Harvard University will help him enhance Australia's engagement in the Asia-Pacific and tackle the growing issue of homelessness in the ACT.
Patrick will spend two years at Harvard's John F Kennedy School of Government undertaking a Masters in Public Policy as one of three recipients of the 2015 RG Menzies Scholarship valued at US$60,000.
As a Policy Officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Patrick intends to use his strong China expertise and US public policy training to shape Australia's future in the Asia-Pacific region.
"I am really looking forward to speaking with other Kennedy School students from all over the world and leading US thinkers on geopolitical dynamics in the Asia-Pacific," he said.
"I hope to use this excellent opportunity to better understand the range of views on security challenges in our region, and to work with professors focused on finding pragmatic solutions to tough public policy challenges."
In addition to diplomacy, Patrick is committed to social work in the ACT.
Patrick has recently spent time volunteering with St Vincent de Paul's night patrol van. He said that while he found the work extremely rewarding, he hoped to use his time at Harvard looking into additional ways to better support Canberra's homeless.
"St Vincent de Paul is doing great work in this space, however I think additional support services for homeless people are needed. In particular, I'd like to develop the way communities and government services deal with the issues of drug dependency and mental health on the streets," he said.
"The Kennedy School has some great professors in this area, as well as policy interest groups focused on innovative social policy, urbanisation and homelessness which I hope to get involved in soon."
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that Canberra has the second-highest rate of homeless per capita in Australia behind the Northern Territory.
Patrick graduated from the ANU with a Bachelor of Laws (first class honours), a Bachelor of Asia-Pacific studies (Chinese), a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a Graduate Diploma in Asia-Pacific Studies.
The RG Menzies Scholarship is jointly awarded by the ANU, the Harvard Club of Australia and the Menzies Foundation. The other two 2015 recipients were Matthew Tyler, a policy adviser based in Melbourne, and Sydney consultant Andrew Thomas.