Some of the brightest and most talented scholars from 46 countries in the Asia Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are developing their leadership skills in Canberra this week.
More than 170 current and emerging leaders of developing countries are taking part in the Leadership for Development Conference hosted by AusAID as part of its Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) program.
The program helps future leaders from developing countries strengthen their leadership skills, and builds enduring partnerships between their nations and Australia.
Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, the Hon Richard Marles MP, joined the ALA recipients at Parliament House in Canberra tonight.
"The Leadership for Development Conference is a three-day event that helps ALA recipients deepen their understanding of international development challenges, strengthen partnerships with their colleagues and with Australia, and put their leadership skills into practice," Mr Marles said.
"Leaders make a positive contribution on return to their home countries.
"For example, Ms Tilianamua Afamasaga, who studied at Macquarie University under an AusAID scholarship, went on to further develop Teacher Training in Samoa, served as the Dean of Education at the University of Samoa and designed a Samoa School Fee Relief Scheme."
Mr Marles presented The Allison Sudradjat Award to six outstanding ALA scholars from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Allison Sudradjat was a senior AusAID officer in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea who died tragically on 7 March 2007 as a result of a plane crash in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
In Allison's memory, the awards are granted in her name annually to exceptional ALA recipients.
The award recipients from Indonesia were Mr Andrey Damaledo, Mrs Atun Wardatun, Mrs Sri Wiyanti Eddyono and Mr Harits Masduqi, and from Papua New Guinea, Mrs Mary Magabe and Mr Arthur Elijah.
AusAID's Australia Awards, and the ALA program, are an important investment in international development. Scholarships have been a key component of Australia's overseas aid program over the past 70 years. More than 4,000 long and short term Australia Awards are granted annually; adding to over 100,000 scholarships Australia has provided across the globe since the early 1950s.
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