Congratulations to the 2018-19 NCP Alumni Ambassadors!

New Colombo Plan
Monday, September 2, 2019 - 16:00
  • New Colombo Plan
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These dedicated Ambassadors are reaching the end of their tenure, but their experience will not be forgotten. With recruitment underway for our next generation of NCP Alumni Ambassadors for 2019-2020, this article looks back at the amazing work of our 2018-19 NCP Alumni Ambassadors and celebrates their achievements.

New Colombo Plan (NCP) Alumni Ambassador Program 2018-19

After an extensive nation-wide application process, 43 outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds were selected to take on NCP Alumni Ambassador positions for Universities across Australia.

The NCP Alumni Program is an Australian Government initiative that aims to support the 20,000+ young Australians who have taken part in the NCP, and help them maintain a connection to each other, the NCP and the Indo-Pacific region as they progress in their lives and careers. The NCP Alumni Ambassador Program was launched in 2017 to support alumnus from each Australian university to promote the NCP and the value of Indo-Pacific study and work placement.

Over time, the growing community of NCP Alumni will play an increasingly important role in Australia's relationships with our Indo-Pacific neighbours. Through the ongoing opportunities offered by the NCP Alumni Program, they are building the skills and networks needed to become a driving force in Australia's future prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Canberra Orientation

In November 2018 the newly appointed NCP Alumni Ambassadors were invited to Canberra for a full day, all-inclusive orientation and training program.

While in Canberra, the NCP Alumni Ambassadors were able to get to know each other, network, learn from the outgoing Ambassadors and begin to plan their individual work plans for their new role. NC Alumni Ambassadors also had the opportunity to attend a reception at Parliament House with Foreign Minister, the Hon Marise Payne MP, and then Australia’s Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and meet with senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, senior politicians and senior business leaders. During the Canberra orientation, NCP Alumni Ambassadors were provided with access to a number of learning and development opportunities to help them obtain the skills and knowledge needed to carry out their new role, as well as contribute to their overall professional and personal development.

NCP Alumni Ambassador for the Australian National University, Rebecca Ryan, writes that the Canberra orientation provided her the “opportunity to connect with Alumni Ambassadors throughout Australia and join a network of passionate individuals who would be working in the same role”.

Indeed, this was just the beginning of numerous development opportunities provided to the cohort of young leaders. NCP Alumni Ambassador for Western Sydney University, Andrew Phong, was asked about the opportunities afforded to him in his role. He writes:

“Being an Alumni Ambassador for the NCP…has been rewarding beyond words could ever express…Opportunities are provided to you left, right and centre by the great team at Asialink Business and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade”

“I cannot speak highly enough of the NCP program, especially the opportunities and unconditional support made available to the NCP Alumni Ambassadors. You’re not just part of another resume building extracurricular, you’re recognised by Government and the wider community both domestically and abroad as an emerging leader that has the betterment of the Indo-Pacific at heart”

On Campus Activity

Orientation Week (O-Week) is one of the busiest times of the year on Australian university campuses, and NCP Alumni Ambassadors were out and about promoting the NCP and the benefits of studying in the Indo-Pacific. Throughout the year NCP Alumni Ambassadors have participated in multiple on-campus events, such as study abroad fairs, and campus open days. See images below of NCP Alumni Ambassador Kamran Ahmed, Edwin Lai and Piero Craney promoting the New Colombo Plan on campus. A number of NCP Alumni Ambassadors have also assisted in the on-campus pre-departure training of students heading to the Indo-Pacific as part of their NCP Mobility Program. Sharing their unique stories from the region has been crucial for preparing and upskilling students who are getting ready to travel overseas for the first time. Below, William LuEdwin Lai and Piero Craney assisted in the planning and facilitation of a pre-departure training session in Sydney.

Online Development & Learning

As part of the NCP Alumni Program, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in partnership with Asialink Business, have been developing the NCP Alumni Learning Portal. This exclusive resource has been developed specifically for NCP Alumni in their transition from student to young professional, hosting a range of resources such as webinars and micro-learning modules. 

A number of our NCP Alumni Ambassadors have been intimately involved in the development and delivery of webinars and micro-learning modules, building upon their presentation and public speaking skills, whilst also assisting with the professional and personal development of the wider NCP Alumni community.

Luke Elson used his online experience and exemplar LinkedIn profile to help other NCP Alumni develop an online personal brand in the micro-learning module, “Getting noticed on LinkedIn”.

Joshua Cook provided practical tips and advice to NCP Alumni wanting to build their ‘elevator pitch’ and in ‘Working in Culturally Diverse Teams’, Gina Zheng shared her extensive experience in the Indo-Pacific to help NCP Alumni accrue the intercultural skills to be successful working in businesses anywhere in the world. NCP Alumni Ambassador Edwin Lai writes that the micro-learning modules and webinars “brought a greater understanding of the goals of the NCP Alumni Program” and helped empower the NCP Alumni Ambassador cohort and wider NCP Alumni community. In particular, he notes how the webinar ‘Careers with Impact’ particularly resonated with him. He writes that it was the…

“first time I learnt about careers in aid and development. This has inspired me to possibly pursue a career in humanitarian engineering in the Indo-Pacific region, where I can use my skills and experiences for the benefit of global communities.”

Networking and Official Events

Finally, in their role, the NCP Alumni Ambassadors have represented the New Colombo Plan at high-level events, and have also assisted in the planning and running of NCP Alumni networking evenings and panel discussions around Australia.

As part of the NCP Alumni Program, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Asialink Business have been running a series of networking evenings for NCP Alumni to connect with each other, as well as network with business leaders and industry professionals.

In April 2019, NCP Alumni in Melbourne joined our first networking evening featuring an in-conversation between Ms Jan Owen AM, CEO, Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and Mukund Narayanamurti, CEO, Asialink Business and NCP Business Champion. NCP Alumni Ambassador Daniel de Waard also had the opportunity to provide opening remarks for the event.

NCP Alumni Ambassador for RMIT Lachlan McKenna writes how the networking event in Melbourne opened his “mind to how I could potentially improve my own workplace”. Since meeting Ms Jan Owen AM during that event, Lachlan has remained in contact with her on LinkedIn.In July, NCP Alumni in Brisbane convened to discuss, ‘Career Pathways in the Indo-Pacific’ featuring an in-conversation between Mukund Narayanamurti, Albert Tse, Founder, Wattle Hill Capital and Michelle Howie, Emerging Technology-Specialist, Telstra and 2017-18 NCP Alumni Ambassador. NCP Alumni Ambassador Jason Valusaga, who was a great support in organising the event, also provided opening and concluding remarks.  

For Jason this experience was invaluable because he not only was able to partake in an incredibly topical and interesting discussion, but could also develop his “event coordinating skills”. Overall Jason found his involvement in the evening an “amazing and fulfilling experience”.

Finally, NCP Alumni Ambassadors Piero Craney, Edwin Lai, Olivia Gallimore, Apirl McElligott, and Andrew Phong represented the New Colombo Plan at Prime Minister’s, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, first foreign policy address in his new term, entitled 'Where we live,' at an Asialink and Bloomberg event in Sydney. The NCP Alumni Ambassadors were fortunate enough to hear the Prime Minister’s remarks on Australian foreign policy and our continued engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, whilst also having the opportunity to network with leaders across business, government and academia. This is just a snapshot of the great work of the NCP Alumni Ambassadors for 2018-2019. We would like to thank all of the NCP Alumni Ambassadors for their amazing efforts during their tenure. We wish them all the best as they progress in their lives and careers and continue to champion the NCP and Australia’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific. If you would like to become an NCP Alumni Ambassador in 2019-2020, we are now recruiting! If you are a returned NCP Scholar or Mobility grant recipient, we would love to hear from you. Submit your application online now via: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCPAmbassador2019-20.Applications close on 13 September.