The University of New England today welcomed a delegation of 15 Australia Awards Fellows from the Royal University of Bhutan to Armidale, as part of a cultural exchange to help build education opportunities at Bhutan’s only university.
UNE Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Annabelle Duncan said the visit was a further opportunity to strengthen the long standing association between UNE and Bhutan.
“The Royal University of Bhutan has now been operating for ten years – a significant achievement – and has more than 40 UNE graduates employed as academics and working in other areas of the Bhutanese economy,” Professor Duncan said.
“UNE currently has 27 Bhutanese students studying here in Armidale, many of whom will return home to use their newly acquired knowledge to improve the lives of their fellow countrymen.
“Together, UNE and the Royal University of Bhutan are greatly improving the education opportunities and quality of life of the Bhutanese people.
“In addition to these and past students, UNE has welcomed more than 150 Bhutanese educators over the past twenty years, conducting short courses and intensive schools in multi-grade education, helping develop small schools and education programs in remote areas of Bhutan,” Professor Duncan said.
Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government, which offer the next generation of leaders from around the world the opportunity to study, research and undertake professional development in Australia, while high-achieving Australians can do the same overseas.
Australia Awards Fellowships provide short term opportunities for senior officials and mid-career professionals to undertake study, research and professional development activities, hosted by Australian organisations. They aim to develop leadership, address regional development priorities and strengthen links between Australian organisations and partner organisations in developing countries.
Royal University of Bhutan Director of Research and External Relations, Dr Dorji Thinley, who received his Doctorate Cum Laude from UNE in 2011, leads the delegation of Bhutanese Australia Awards recipients.
“The central theme of the program is about building capacity in leadership to improve education and research at the Royal University of Bhutan,” Dr Thinley said.
“All of the participants are Deans and Heads of School and leaders in their fields in research, education and learning in Bhutan.
“Each of us will spend a large part of the next three weeks shadowing our UNE counterparts, learning all we can and generating ideas that we can adopt or adapt to our work at the Royal University of Bhutan.”