Former Australian Senator and the first MP of Indian descent Lisa Singh will soon join the Melbourne-based Australia India Institute as its new Director.
Ms Singh has a unique set of skills and experience in the India-Australia realm which will be put to productive use at the University of Melbourne institute.
She is the Deputy Chair of the Australia India Council and also sits on the advisory committee of the University of Melbourne’s Asialink.
Ms Singh has been a long-term advocate for a deeper Australia-India relationship. In 2014, she was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India, for building friendly Australia-India relations, the highest civilian honour for a person of Indian origin.
Ms Singh said she is honoured to take up the role and intends to work with a range of leaders in Australia and India to advance the political and economic agenda.
The Australia India Institute was launched at the University of Melbourne in 2008 as a centre dedicated to the study of the bilateral relationship. It plays a role in developing relations between the two nations by expanding scholarship opportunities.
“The Australia-India relationship is going through a transformative period. I believe its success will be dependent on the effort and collaboration that governments, business and institutes like the AII put into it,” Ms Singh said.
“It’s important we nurture the academic and research capabilities in the relationship. But it needs to be done by focusing on shared priorities. That way partnerships for both nations will be enduring and mutually beneficial.”
Stepping into her new role, Ms Singh is aware that international students, many of who are from India, are clamouring for a full return to campus.
“COVID-19 restrictions have stymied the education sector. The sooner Indian students can return to Australia to complete their qualifications the better. I hope to play a role to help facilitate a pathway for that to happen,” Ms Singh said, while expressing concern over the significant impact of the pandemic on the sector.
Ms Singh was previously Head of Government Advocacy at Minderoo Foundation (Walk Free initiative), a philanthropic organisation founded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest to address some of the most challenging global issues.
She starts in her new role on 8 September.
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