Consuls General visit UNE to explore potential partnerships

Published 11 June 2009

torbayferginThe University of New England today welcomed to its campus Consuls General and other consular officials from nine nations in what the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, called an “historic” event for the University.

The visitors, representing Argentina, Canada, China, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the United States and Vietnam, were welcomed by the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, who introduced them to the University – its history, achievements, and vision of regional and global engagement.

UNE’s Chancellor, the Hon. Richard Torbay MP, had invited the diplomats – members of the Sydney-based Diplomatic Corps – to Armidale to discuss potential partnerships in education and research. The Chief Development Officer, Mr Chris Patton, and Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Ray Cooksey, outlined the potential for such partnerships, after which the diplomats met international students and staff members involved in UNE’s International Program, and inspected the University’s facilities.

“What I, as Chancellor, would like to see emerge from today,” Dr Torbay said, “is a clear understanding of activities that this university can engage in that will open the way for better international collaboration and international partnerships.”

“UNE has strong credentials,” he explained. “We are a major recipient of competitive research grants from industry and government bodies in Australia. In 2008, for example, UNE was the recipient of more than $20 million in research funding grants across 23 international research projects. And UNE has cooperative teaching and pathway programs with institutions across the world.”

“I would like you to share with us, to the fullest extent, your insights into what might constitute a mutually beneficial partnership or opportunity,” Dr Torbay said. “I would like today to be the first day in a continuing relationship.”

Professor Pettigrew spoke about UNE’s unique qualities as a living-and-learning environment for on-campus students, its distinguished record in – and current and future development of – distance education, and its aspiration to “make a difference” on a global scale. “We want to engage with you,” he told the diplomats.

The United States Consul General, Mrs Judith Fergin, arrived at UNE yesterday and presented a public lecture in politics and international relations titled “The US-Australian alliance under Obama and Rudd”.

“This is a great experience for us, and an opportunity to share ideas,” said Mr Pedro Colombi, Consul General of the Argentine Republic and Dean of the Consular Corps. He said he looked forward to the development of international relationships – relationships that would see the further exchange of students and scholars between UNE and institutions worldwide, and the consequent enhancement of UNE’s international profile.

“It’s a great honour for us to be invited here,” Mr Colombi said.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows the Consul General of the United States, Mrs Judith Fergin, with the Chancellor, the Hon. Richard Torbay MP. Clicking on this image reveals a photograph, taken today at UNE, showing (from left) Mr Pedro Colombi (Consul General of the Argentine Republic), Ms Keiko Egusa (Consul of Japan), Mr Young Woon Ho (Education Director of the Republic of Korea), Mr Vu Hong Nam (Consul General of Vietnam), Mr Graham Molloy (Honorary Consul General of Ghana), Mrs Judith Fergin (Consul General of the United States of America), Mr Tom Macdonald (Consul General of Canada), Dr Torbay, Professor Alan Pettigrew, Mr Sudaryomo Hartsudarmo (Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia), Mr Hu Shan (Consul General of the People’s Republic of China), and Mr Nobuhito Hobo (Consul General of Japan).