Leadership program ‘a catalyst for future development’

Published 17 April 2008

minhhangnguyen.jpgThe University of New England is participating in a Commonwealth Government AusAID program that is fostering leadership in the developing countries of the South  Asia region.

Eighteen leaders or potential leaders in the field of teacher education are on a four-week visit to UNE funded by Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Scholarships. Six of them are from Bhutan, six from Vietnam, four from Papua New Guinea, and two from East  Timor.

The ALA Fellows, all from tertiary-education institutions or government departments in their respective countries, are working within UNE’s School of Education on the development of projects they will implement in their own workplaces after their return home. They will have a chance to discuss their projects with representatives of the international education community when each of them presents a paper on their project at the International Society for Teacher Education conference to be held at UNE next week.

Although this is UNE’s first involvement in the ALA Scholarship program, the University has strong links with education programs in all four of the countries represented by the Fellows. In welcoming them to UNE last week, Professor Victor Minichiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of The Professions, outlined those links, while the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, emphasised the University’s objective “to engage with our colleagues in other nations who have to deliver education programs to far-distant places”.

“We look forward to learning from you as well as having you learn from us,” Professor Pettigrew told the Fellows.

Ms Minh Hang Nguyen (pictured here) from the Centre for Educational Research, Faculty of Education, at Vietnam National University, Hanoi, responded on behalf of the Fellows, saying they were confident of success in the ALA program because of UNE’s strong support.

Another of the Fellows, Ms Phintsho Choeden from the Royal University of Bhutan,             said they were “honoured and happy” to be at UNE as part of such a highly-regarded award program. Referring to UNE’s long and fruitful association with the Bhutanese Ministry of Education – and now also with the Royal University of Bhutan – she said they were “happy to be here to help make the bond even stronger”.

Associate Professor Tom Maxwell, the Director of the ALA program at UNE, said that the program would benefit both the University and the Fellows on a number of levels. The Fellows would be able to see the publication – as well as the implementation – of their project plans, he said, and the University could look forward to deepening relationships with them and their institutions.

“For everyone involved, there’s an important element of ‘networking’,” he said. “As a whole, the program is a catalyst for future development.”

THE PHOTOGRAPH of Ms Minh Hang Nguyen displayed here expands to show all 18 of the ALA Fellows with several of their UNE hosts.