Scholarship winners set their sights on the Indo-Pacific

29 November 2019

Seven ANU students have won prestigious scholarships to study in the Indo-Pacific under the Australian Government's New Colombo Plan (NCP).

The highly-competitive scholarships, announced by Foreign Minister Marise Payne, are worth up to $70,000 each.

As NCP Scholars, students spend up to 19 months in the region.

Some 125 scholarships have been awarded for 2020, with ANU topping the list of winners with Griffith University.

The seven ANU students will study at universities in China, Fiji, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Taiwan. They will also undertake internships in government departments, universities or businesses across the region.  

Three of the ANU students have been named as NCP Fellows - the top ranked applicant for their country of study.

Among the ANU winners is Yasmin Poole, who is studying law and international relations at ANU. She will spend 12 months at the National University of Singapore, and intern with an international development organisation in the Pacific.

Earlier this year, Ms Poole was named as one of the Australian Financial Review's 100 women of influence and one of the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians at the inaugural Asian-Australian Leadership Summit.

"It was surreal finding out that I had received the scholarship as it was something I had always dreamt of since first year," Ms Poole said.

"I'm particularly excited to study in Singapore. Not only does it provide tremendous work opportunities, but also the ability to explore my Malay-Singaporean ancestry.

"As we head into the Asian Century, understanding the Asia-Pacific is more crucial than ever and I'm excited for the ability to immerse myself."

Announcing the scholarships Foreign Minister Payne said: "The scholars are outstanding young Australians.

"These talented and motivated undergraduates will embark on a journey that will provide them with the foundations to be leaders in business, government and beyond.

"The opportunities are endless, and I look forward to them being part of our ongoing future success and prosperity as a nation."

Eight of the 2020 scholarships are supported by businesses including PwC, King & Wood Mallesons, Newcrest Mining, QBE Insurance and GHD. ANU students have won three of these awards.

Siena Hopkinson, who is studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts and is the NCP Japan Fellow, has also been named the PwC Scholar. She will use her scholarship to complete Japanese studies at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and complete an internship with PwC in Tokyo.

Combined Arts/Law student Freya Cox has been named a King & Wood Mallesons Scholar. She is also the NCP Fellow for China. She will study Chinese language at Fudan University and then undertake an internship with King & Wood Mallesons and Zhong Lun Law Firm in Hong Kong.

Newcrest Scholar Soraya McGinley is completing a Bachelor of Development Studies and a Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability at ANU. She will use her NCP scholarship to complete environmental studies at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji followed by internships with Newcrest in the same country and Papua New Guinea.

Other ANU scholars for 2020 include:

  • Juliette Baxter (Asian studies/visual arts) who will study Chinese language and media studies at Peking University and fine arts at the China Academy of Art. She will intern at the South China Morning Post.
  • Tony Xu (Law/Medical Science/French) who will complete biology research at Papua New Guinea's University of Goroka. He will intern at the University of Goroka and the Directorate of Food, Animal and Rural Affairs in New Caledonia. Mr Xu is also the NCP Fellow for PNG.
  • Edwin Choi (Law/Finance) who will study commercial law and Chinese language at the National Taiwan University. He will intern with law firms, including Baker McKenzie, and complete a mentorship with the Commissioner at the Fair Trade Commission.

The New Colombo Plan was established in 2014 by former Australian Foreign Minister and incoming ANU Chancellor Julie Bishop. 

More than 60,000 awards have been made to students as part of New Colombo Plan scholarships and mobility grants since 2014.  ANU has had 46 NCP Scholars awarded since the inception of the program.