Australia Awards eNewsletters for Stakeholders

Welcome to the Semester One edition of our Australia Awards eNewsletter update! It’s been a busy start to 2015 and we’ve already seen some great happenings across the Australia Awards network!  

For those who I have not yet met, I'm Cheryl Johnson, the new Assistant Secretary of the Scholarships and Alumni Branch in DFAT. I look forward to working collaboratively with you in the near future.

Thank you for those who attended the 2014 end-of-year welcome / farewell celebrations it was fantastic to have you there. These events are a relatively new initiative which provide a great platform for awardees to meet one another from across each state and to be welcomed and farewelled by DFAT – not to mention all the photo opportunities! We appreciate the feedback in our Post Event Evaluation Survey which we have used to improve the events starting with the inclusion of a leadership skills workshop. We look forward to meeting institution representatives and awardees at the upcoming mid-year welcome / farewell events across Australia between June and July 2015.

Another big thank you to everyone who has participated in consultations on the Global Program Strategy for the Australia Awards. This is the first time that a global framework has been developed for the program, and provides an important opportunity to reframe how the Australia Awards can best contribute to Australia’s development and foreign policy objectives. I've had the opportunity to visit a number of Posts to discuss ways to take the Australia Awards program forward and to hear from some of our amazing Alumni! We greatly appreciate the input we’ve received to date and look forward to more face to face consultations in the near future.

We are also working with universities and our partners in government (Austrade and the Department of Education and Training) to develop a strategic, whole-of-government Global Alumni Engagement Strategy. Our thinking will be guided by a steering committee and executive committee which include educational industry representation from our Posts, Universities Australia, the Australian Universities Alumni Professional Group and the Group of Eight representatives. We hope to have both strategies launched by the end of the year.

We recently announced that 46 Australian host organisations have been funded to run Australia Awards Fellowships in 2015 that will benefit more than 1400 individuals from 67 developing countries. I congratulate  those organisations and look forward to welcoming new Fellows throughout the year.

Since mid-2014 many scholars have been invited to attend networking events hosted by DFAT’s State and Territory Offices. Most recently these exciting opportunities have included an International Women’s Day function at the NSW State Office and a Linkages Afternoon Tea for awardees to meet State Government representatives at the Victoria State Office. We are very interested in piloting similar activities around the country with the potential to build links between awardees and their peers in Australia’s public, private, academic and NGO sectors.

The 2015 Institution Roadshow will run from 21 April to 1 May and my team looks forward to meeting you to discuss key program issues, policy updates, communications and branding as well future directions of the Australia Awards.

In signing off, let me emphasise that we are always keen to promote the achievements of our awardees and alumni. So if you have any good news stories please email them through to us at: AustraliaAwardsCommunications@dfat.gov.au

 

Many thanks

Cheryl Johnson  

 
Assistant Secretary, Scholarships and Alumni Branch, DFAT
 

 
 
 
 
Throughout November and December of 2014 DFAT held Australia Awards Farewell / Welcome Celebrations across Australia in Canberra, Launceston, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Leo Jamorin from the Philippines spoke on behalf of Scholarship recipients at the Brisbane event. Graduating with a Masters degree from Griffith University, Leo had been selected for the 2014 Australia Awards Leadership Program. He said the celebrations were a perfect way for awardees to wind up their Australian adventure and that it was not really goodbye but ‘see ya –later’ as they returned home to join the Australia Awards alumni and make a significant contribution to development.
Farewell celebrations were kicked off in 2013 as a formal recognition of the accomplishments of graduating scholars, providing an opportunity for DFAT representatives to personally congratulate them and reaffirm the important role they will play as soft ambassadors for Australia in their home countries.
In 2014 the celebrations included, for the first time, newly-arrived scholars for a formal “Welcome to Australia” for those commencing studies in second semester.
Survey responses underlined the success of this model and in 2015 DFAT hopes to welcome and farewell scholars at mid-year and end-of-year celebrations across the country.
We are currently deciding dates for mid-year celebrations in June and July. They will welcome and farewell scholars arriving or graduating in Semester 1, 2015.


 Video and photo highlights from DFAT celebration events will continually be available for cross promotion and public diplomacy. Find 2014 celebration event photos here.
Find 2014 video highlights below:

Awardees network at DFAT State Office events

 

 
 
The international Women’s Day networking event
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015, DFAT’s NSW State Office hosted a networking lunch with key stakeholders, including a number of female Australia Awards recipients from Sydney and Newcastle.
 
Held on Tuesday 10 March, the event brought together over 120 prominent women from NSW holding leadership roles in the private sector, think tanks, business councils, the arts, academia, medical research, police and emergency services, state and local government and the NSW Consular Corps.
 
A group of 13 Australia Awards Scholarship recipients were invited to meet with these inspirational women and hear from guest speaker Lucy Perry, CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia).
 
The Australia Awards scholars represented Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Bolivia, the Palestinian Territories and Ethiopia.
 
One of the scholars Selamawit Minota from Ethiopia was herself a surprise special guest. She is currently studying a Masters in Public Health at the University of Newcastle, but she completed her original nursing practical studies at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital.
 
Australia Awards and Victoria State Office’s Linkages Afternoon Tea
On Wednesday 18 March, 40 Australia Awards scholars attended a Linkages Afternoon Tea at the Victoria State Office.
 
The afternoon tea was an excellent networking opportunity for the awardees who were all participants in the Australia Awards Leadership Program currently on-award in Victoria.
 
The scholars met with senior staff from State Government Agencies of Victoria including the Department of Education and Training, Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Recourses.
 
The Scholarships and Alumni Branch continues to work with DFAT State Offices to identify and arrange networking events that bring together key stakeholders of the Department and Australia Awards recipients studying in Australia.

Australia Award Scholars with guest speaker Lucy Perry (left), Selamawit Minota (centre) and Marnie Wright, Acting State Director, NSW State Office (right)
 
 

 
 

University of Tasmania, NCP and Australia Awards event

 
 
 
The University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) provided the stunning backdrop for the New Colombo Plan and Australia Awards networking event for students from the University of Tasmania, Hobart campus, on Friday 20 March, 2015.
  
New Colombo Plan scholars and mobility students along with Australia Awards Scholarship recipients were joined for the networking event by Senator the Hon. Stephen Parry, President of the Senate, Senator for Tasmania, Professor Peter Rathjen, Vice Chancellor of University of Tasmania, Professor Peter Frappell, Pro Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement, UTAS academic and administrative staff, as well as colleagues from the offices of DFAT and Austrade in Tasmania.
 
The event provided a unique opportunity to celebrate the success of University of Tasmania students in the New Colombo Plan and to connect them with Australia Awards recipients from around the Asia Pacific region currently studying in Hobart. Students and VIPs alike appreciated the opportunity to create links with others who shared common areas of study and expertise and shared experiences of studying abroad.
 
The University of Tasmania is currently hosting thirty five Australia Awards recipients from fourteen countries, all excited to share their invaluable experiences with these successful New Colombo Plan scholars and mobility students.
 
 
 
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Prof. Peter Rathjen, VC University of Tasmania (centre left) and Senator the Hon. Stephen Parry, Senator for Tasmania (centre right) meet Australia Awards and New Colombo Plan recipients in Hobart.   
 
 
 
 

Welcoming 1400 Australia Awards Fellows in 2015
 

 

In 2015, Australia Awards Fellowships will support more than 1400 Fellows from 67 developing countries to undertake short term study, research and professional development in Australia. Forty-six Australian organisations will share their expertise by hosting the Fellowships in a wide range of fields. They include technical and vocational training for women and girls in Papua New Guinea, flood risk management in Indonesia, paediatric training for doctors in Timor-Leste, judicial development in Myanmar, and the development of cricket to mobilise participation in sport and improved health in the Pacific.

 

The Australian Government funds Australia Awards Fellowships through Australia’s International aid program to promote development, build capacity and encourage stronger links between Australian organisations and counterparts in developing countries.

 

The Fellowships support current and emerging leaders and mid-career professionals to undertake study, research and professional development activities in Australia for up to 12 months.

In 2015, Fellowships have been awarded to 742 females and 699 males, 86 per cent of whom are from Asia, the Pacific or Papua New Guinea.

The Australia Awards, together with the New Colombo Plan, is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to building stronger people-to-people links in the region through education and institutional connections.

 

Vietnamese and Cambodian Fellows participating in Round 15 of the Fellowships in Australia
 

 

 

It's Home Time - Booking Travel

 
Going home is an exciting time for Australia Awards recipients, whether it is for reunion or to return home. After a recent spike in questions to the Scholarships Advisory Desk, Institutions are reminded of the following requirements for travel in accordance with the Scholarships Policy Handbook (Sections 10.6, 10.8 and 10.9):
 
  • Airfares must be booked by Institutions and be the most direct/best value for money route
  • Travel should comply with visa completion dates
  •  Stopovers are permitted only if they are unavoidable and DFAT will pay reasonable accommodation costs that have been pre-approved by Program Areas
  • Travel that requires stopovers should use the next available flights i.e. not have stopovers longer than necessary in a third country
  • Travel costs do not include dependants travel, insurance, departure/arrival taxes, excess baggage
  • Travel purchased by recipients may not be reimbursed as it does not follow correct protocol or policy.
    Note: This is currently being reviewed
  • Institutions are responsible for developing their own internal policy stating the time by which travel should be booked i.e. two months prior etc.
  • All travel bookings should be entered into the OASIS Travel section as per DFAT’s contract with all Institutions
  • Note:
  • Institutions should contact DFAT if a recipient fails to book completion travel.
 

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact the Scholarships Advisory Desk at scholarships@dfat.gov.au.

 


 
  
 

Finalising

OASIS records  

The Scholarships Advisory Desk is becoming increasingly aware of Institutions’ desire to increase the length of time allowed for OASIS records to remain on the status “Finalised Pending Results”. As per section 17.7 of the Scholarship Policy Handbook Institutions should be finalising the OASIS records of recipients seven days after recipient’s departure. All Institutions get an OASIS alert notifying them of the required action. Currently there are 389 records in OASIS sitting on status “Finalised Pending Results”. Under the new Scholarship Policy Handbook released in January 2015, section 2.5.16 stipulates Awardees have a maximum of one year to submit a PhD thesis after returning home. Failure to submit the PhD thesis in this time period will result in the awardee having their scholarship completion recorded as a fail and their details will not be forwarded on to the Online Alumni Network. If an institution wishes to allow an awardee to submit their thesis after the above one year timeframe and is confident that the awardee will be able to do so, the institution needs to discuss it with relevant Post and an exception maybe made. 
 
Until OASIS records have been finalised, recipient’s information will not be passed on to the Online Alumni Network and they won’t be able to participate in Alumni activities at home. The Alumni networks are a vital component of the Australia Awards Scholarships Program and further contribute to the outcomes of the overall program. This is why Institutions are encouraged to keep all records up-to-date and in a timely fashion.
 
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact the Scholarships Advisory Desk at scholarships@dfat.gov.au.
 
 
 

 

 

Sharing online content

 

Are you time poor but have online communications goals you still need to meet?  Did you produce a story or video but it got very few hits? Well we might just have the solution for you – let’s share more content across the Australia Awards network!

 
If you have stories, tweets, video’s and photos, the Scholarships and Alumni Branch would love to share your content online through Australia Awards online platforms. We welcome content to upload on the Australia Awards whole-of-government website or the DFAT Australia Awards website and can tweet or re-tweet via the DFAT Twitter handle.
 
We can provide high quality online content for your platforms as we continue to generate a steady flow of Australia Awards news articles, awardee profiles, photos, video and tweets with relevance for Posts, Institutions and Managing Contractors.
We encourage Institutions, Posts, and managing contractors to share this content online!
Twitter
The DFAT Twitter account has over 30,000 followers.
When posting twitter content please use the hashtag #AustraliaAwards so we can readily identify and re-tweet your content through the DFAT Twitter account.
Video
The DFAT YouTube channel includes an Australia Awards playlist with around 30 videos that includes mentions of participating institutions and or their logos.
Recent uploads include South Asian and Indonesian alumni profiles as well as end-of-year Celebration highlights. Other useful titles include the three minute program overview Australia Awards empowering leaders for development and the On track for Australia series.
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A snapshot from the Australia Awards Farewell Welcome videos  
 
Mailing list
 
If you would like to be on a mailing list that receives notifications when new content is uploaded please reply to australiaawardscommunications@dfat.gov.au
 

 

Australia Awards nomination to 2014 Disability Awards highlights Christine’s inspiring story!

 

The nomination submitted for DFAT’s 2014 Disability-inclusive Development Award for Good Practice highlighted the inspiring story of Christine Wamala from Papua New Guinea, an Australia Awards Alumni who identifies with having a disability as well as working within the disability support sector.

Christine came to Australia in 2010 to study an advanced Diploma of Community Services Welfare and has since returned home to resume her work at Cheshire Disability Services Papua New Guinea where she helps improve service delivery to people with disability – an issue Christine sees as one of the main development issues for her country.

Since Christine’s return home her employer has seen the great benefits of the Australia Awards Scholarship and has become an advocate to other employees and people with disability within the wider community encouraging them to apply to participate in this Australian Government Initiative.

Christine’s story demonstrates the innovative and collaborative work that the Scholarships and Alumni Branch and Port Moresby Post are undertaking within the disability inclusive development space. 

The Australia Awards are multi-faceted with the ability to improve the lives of not just scholarship recipients but also their family, work and wider community and are therefore gaining a reputation for leadership in disability inclusive aid programming.

The Australia Awards strive for disability inclusive best practice and seek to remove barriers so that students with disability are able to participate in all aspects of the selection and scholarship process on an equal basis with students without disability. 

Scholarship recipients who identify with having a disability work closely with Post and staff in the Scholarships and Alumni Branch to help decide the best type of disability support for their individual situation and select an institution that provides the best academic and disability support outcomes for their individual needs.

The relationship between the Scholarships and Alumni Branch in Canberra and Posts is a vital aspect of ensuring that the right support is provided to scholarship recipients who identify with having a disability.

Port Moresby Post is showing strong initiative in this field, ensuring that their scholarship recipients have the right support.

Well done to the Scholarships and Alumni Branch and Port Moresby Post for receiving a runner up prize for this great award!

 

 
 

Increased management fee

 

Institutions were previously advised that the management fee has increased to $300 per student per semester from 1 January 2015 (for students enrolled on census date 31 March 2015).

Approvals have been received and OASIS has now been updated to reflect the increased management fee entitlement for all current awardees.

 

How does this look in OASIS?

 

  • The entitlements screen in OASIS now includes a ‘Management Fee – 2015’ entitlement from 1 January 2015 for all active awardees.
  • In some cases, management fee expenses have already been recorded for 2015. For these institutions, the OASIS Team have automatically reversed the expense and recorded a new one at the increased rate.

 

What should I do?

 

  • Review OASIS to confirm the ‘Management Fee – 2015’ entitlements are correctly recorded.
  • When entering management fee expenses for 2015, select ‘Management Fee – 2015’ entitlement and record a $300 expense.
  • If management fee expenses have already been recorded for 2015, review those records to ensure they are correct.

A contract deed of amendment will be issued to formalise this increase. Further information about this will be sent out separately.

If you have any questions about this change please contact us via email at scholarships@dfat.gov.au.

 

 
 

Save the date Institution roadshow

 
It’s that time again! The Scholarships and Alumni Branch will be on the road visiting most major Australian capital cities for the 2015 Institution road show. 

Scheduled for 21 April to 1 May 2015, the Institution road show is a great opportunity for DFAT and Institutions to meet face to face to discuss key program issues, and innovations, policy updates and future directions for the Australia Awards.  

The agenda and travel itinerary is available by emailing scholarships@dfat.gov.au

 


 

 

We are looking for stories of our fantastic Australia Awards Scholars and Alumni!

 

Do know of an exceptional Australia Awardees or Alumni? The Australia Awards are always on the lookout for inspirational stories of Awardees and Alumni who are making a difference to feature in upcoming editions of the newsletter, the Department of Foreign Affairs website and the Australia Awards whole-of-government website: www.australiawards.gov.au

We would love to hear from you! Please contact: australiaawardscommunications@dfat.gov.au.

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Australia Awards scholars at the Leadership Program in Canberra, Australia
Last updated: April 17, 2015