Foreign Affairs Minister launches innovative cross-cultural training for New Colombo Plan students

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, encouraged Australia’s next generation of leaders to develop the cultural awareness and cross-cultural skills needed to form lasting partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, at the launch of a new training initiative in Melbourne on 8 April.

The cross-cultural training, purpose-designed by Asialink Business for New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility students, will help equip students with the capabilities needed to engage effectively across cultures and gain maximum benefit from their study, work and life experiences in the Indo-Pacific region.

The result of a public-private partnership between the Australian Government, the Bennelong Foundation, the Myer Foundation and Asialink Business, as many as 7000 Australian students will participate in the training. It will be rolled-out on a national scale from 2016-2019, following a highly successful pilot in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales in 2015.

The Chairman of the Bennelong Foundation, Jeff Chapman, said that the Foundation fully supported, and was delighted to be involved with, the Federal Government’s initiative in launching the New Colombo Plan.

“The NCP Pre-Departure Cross Cultural Training Programme is a natural fit with our focus on education and regional development and integration, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate on the project with DFAT, the Myer Foundation and Asialink Business” he said.

Asialink Business Chairman, Sid Myer AM, said:  “Australia’s economy and community are increasingly interconnected with the Indo-Pacific, and it is critical that Australians of all ages develop the cultural insights, skills and awareness needed to form long-lasting, trusted cross-cultural relationships throughout the region.

"Developing these Asia capabilities is as important for engaging in the region as it is for doing business in an Australia which is becoming increasingly interconnected with Asia,” he said. 

Asialink Business CEO, Mukund Narayanamurti, said: “As Australia’s National Centre for Asia Capability, Asialink Business is delighted to support the Australian Government’s flagship New Colombo Program and to partner with The Bennelong and Myer Foundations on this important training initiative.

“It is highly encouraging to see the extent to which business and the private sector is getting behind the NCP. The cross-cultural training will help deliver lasting benefits for the participants as they enter the workforce and embark on varied professional journeys,” Narayanamurti said. 

The concept and principal funding for the training originates from the Bennelong Foundation, with additional funding support from The Myer Foundation and Asialink Business. Asialink Business is overseeing the design, development and delivery of the program.

The national roll-out of the training will also include innovative and highly interactive online modules, which can be accessed by participants at their convenience to accommodate busy study and work schedules.

For more information visit Asialink Business.

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Heather Chai

+61 3 8344 8451