A dream come true – ANU student wins €60,000 scholarship

18 September 2015

The excitement is still yet to set in, but it's a dream come true.

Australian National University (ANU) graduate William Bullock Jenkins is hoping a prestigious international scholarship will help him piece together the world's history and broaden Australia's concept of the Indo-Pacific region.

William will spend a year at the University of Leipzig in Germany followed by another at the London School of Economics as recipient of the 2016 Erasmus Scholarship, valued at around 60,000 euro.

"I'll be studying a Combined Masters in Global and Economic History. The excitement is still yet to set in, but it's a dream come true," William said.

"Global history is a new approach. History is often limited to particular countries and communities at particular times, where global history aims to connect it all together. It tracks the flow of goods, people, and ideas that tie together the world's history."

William will be looking specifically at Australia's historic relations with the Middle East and Eurasia. He said the Middle Eastern nations are often the forgotten part of Asia.

"In Australia we always have this vertical conception of Asia lying only to our north. We think Asia ends at India, or at best Pakistan. Everything west of that is not included in how we see the world," he said.

"We need a whole understanding of Asia. It will help connect people, create new opportunities, and broaden the way we see the world and understand ourselves in it."

In addition to his studies, William has headed up the ANU Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies' Persian and Arabic Languages Online program. Since starting work in 2013, the online program has doubled the number of students taking Persian language.

"It's been a great success, well beyond what we had expected and hoped for," he said.

William said he hoped to see more students take up Persian, a language he believes can open doors for Australia.

"With Iran really coming back into the international community in a way it hasn't been for a long time, Persian is going to be particularly useful," William said.

"Iran is a country of 80 million, young and highly educated and has just about everything you could wish for economically."

During his time at ANU William also won the Tillyard Prize in 2014. William will leave for Germany next week and is set to begin his studies from October.