Australia celebrates achievements of Australia Awards scholars

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Australian High Commission in Pakistan proudly acknowledges the achievements of the 60 Pakistani scholars who have successfully completed their studies in Australia this year under the prestigious Australia Awards scholarship program.

The scholars, including 21 men and 39 women, are being recognized for their dedication and academic excellence.

“It is with great pride that we celebrate the achievements of the Pakistan scholars who have successfully completed their studies under the Australia Awards scholarship program,” Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Neil Hawkins said. “We commend them on their hard work and are confident that they have gained valuable knowledge and skills that will contribute significantly to the development of Pakistan.”

The Australia Awards scholarship program is a key component of the Australian Government’s development assistance to Pakistan. The program aims to equip scholars with the expertise needed to drive progress and development in their home country, and it particularly supports the empowerment of women, aligning with Australia’s foreign policy priority to promote gender equality.

Highlighting the importance of this initiative, High Commissioner Hawkins welcomed the number of women scholars noting that the Australia Awards program underscored Australia’s commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The High Commissioner however expressed concern over a growing trend of scholarship recipients choosing to remain in Australia post-graduation, which contravened the terms of the scholarship agreement. “Such a practice undermines the very purpose of this initiative, which is to contribute to Pakistan’s development. If this trend continues, it will jeopardise the future of the program in Pakistan and deprive aspiring Pakistani scholars of an opportunity to benefit from an Australian education and contribute to Pakistan’s development,” he cautioned.

The High Commissioner urged all Australia Awards recipients to honour their commitment to return to Pakistan and contribute to its growth and development. “By fulfilling your obligations, you will play a pivotal role in strengthening the ties between our two nations through sustainable development and mutual progress,” he said.

The Australia Awards Recognition Ceremony celebrates the successful completion of Australia Awards Scholarships and Short Course Awards from the FY 2023-24. This year’s event honours 60 scholars who have completed either a short course or a scholarship and have returned to Pakistan, including those who participated in programs focused on Women in Executive Leadership Development, Agribusiness, Climate Finance, and Climate Change Adaptation.