International experts to speak at launch of new degree program

Published 13 August 2012

Lectures by a pair of internationally renowned experts in economic development will mark the launch of a new postgraduate degree program at the University of New England.

Professor Anis Chowdhury and Dr Michael Kortt will speak at the launch of the Master of Economic and Regional Development program in the John Dillon Lecture Theatre on Thursday 23 August.

Professor Chowdhury (pictured here) is the Senior Economic Affairs Officer in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic & Social Affairs. He has taught at the University of Manitoba in Canada, at the National University of Singapore, and at the University of New England, and was a member of the Visiting Faculty at North South University, Bangladesh.

Professor Chowdhury worked as a consultant for the United Nations Support Facility for Indonesian Recovery, the International Labour Organisation and the Commonwealth Secretariat, and was Visiting Fellow at the World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki, the Institute of South-east Asian Studies, Singapore, the Development and Project Planning Centre, University of Bradford, UK, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He is Founding Managing Editor of the Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy.

Dr Michael Kortt is a Senior Lecturer in the Southern Cross Business School at Southern Cross University’s Riverside campus in Tweed Heads. Prior to joining Southern Cross University, Dr Kortt spent 10 years working in the government sector as a research manager for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Department of Health and Ageing.  His principal research interests are in the field of local government economics and health economics. He is an alumnus of the University of New England.

Dr René Villano, coordinator of the Master of Economic and Regional Development degree program, said that Professor Chowdhury and Dr Kortt were ideal choices to speak at the launch of the new program since they could – respectively – offer insights into international economic development and the development situation in regional Australia.

“This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to provide students with knowledge and skills for a range of potential careers, including development organisations, NGOs, and government,” Dr Villano said. “Students can choose from a variety of majors, including Asian Studies and Indigenous Futures.

“We felt that, between them, Prof Chowdhury and Dr Kortt could illustrate the breadth of issues in economic and regional development faced by Australia and the wider region.”

Proceedings will begin at 2 pm, and will be followed by celebratory refreshments at 4 pm. Anyone wishing to attend is requested to respond by e-mail to, or by telephone on (02) 6773 3222, by Wednesday 15 August.