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Ms. Julianne Cowley - Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City: Education promotes people to people links

 

Ms Julianne Cowley Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City gave 65 million dong to Ms. Vo Hoang Yen DRD Director
Ms. Julianne Cowley - Australian Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City - gave 65 million dong to Ms. Vo Hoang Yen, DRD Director. This amount was contributed by Australian alumni to help the DRD Companion scholarship program to increase the number of beneficiaries

Education &Times Newspaper – The Australian Embassy has held an annual Aussie Alumni Reunion with the theme – Joining hands to support people with disabilities. Education & Times Newspaper had an interview with Ms. Julianne Cowley - Australian Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City to learn more about plan, activities, and support of Australian Government and Australian Alumni upon their return to Vietnam.

Education is at the heart of everything 

Can you tell us why Australia supports empowering women and people with disabilities in Vietnam?

Equality is something that’s very important to Australia and Australian government and I know that’s a value that’s shared here in Vietnam as well. We talk about empowering both women and people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. So, to empower women we work in three main areas: to make sure that women have their voice in decision making and leadership; we work with women to encourage them to engage in the economy and empower them economically; and also end violence against women and girls which is something very important to do.

In terms of people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups, Australia is very proud of the work we’ve done on this, and we’ve been recognized as a leader in this field. We are one of the first donors to have a disability inclusive strategy. That’s something that cuts across our whole development program, and here in Vietnam we recently focused on that throughout our whole program that we run.

The Australian Government invests in the Aus4Skills. Through this program, we work with partners to support and train people with disabilities to ensure they can participate in economic activities, sustain their livelihood, access to training and opportunities like any other social group. That is what is needed to build a civilized society in which everyone is integrated, contributing to the prosperity of every nation.

What is the role of entrepreneurship education in developing economic opportunities for women and people with disabilities?

I think education is in the heart of everything. Education gives people the opportunity and when people are offered the Australian Awards Scholarship, they can have access to a world-class education and I think that’s something promotes people to people link.

We are very proud that here in Vietnam we have 70.000 Vietnamese who studied in Australia who came back to their homeland. Among them, there are many women and people with disabilities who play important roles and do amazing things in Vietnam. For example, the Centre for Disability Research and Capacity Development (DRD) which was founded and operated by Ms. Vo Hoang Yen, an Australian alumnus. And I know DRD has been working with a lot of people with disabilities, really giving them opportunities to get an education, to support in the workplace, mentoring, capacity building, job training, all the things that people need to get a head start in life.

I think for people who are sometimes not included, such as women and people with disabilities, at decision making table or in leadership – that when we enable them an access to education and opportunities here in Vietnam they can go on and do pretty impressive things!

A Vietnam’s part at the heart of Australia! 

Ms Julianne Cowley Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City
Ms. Julianne Cowley - Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Can you share an experience with Australian alumni from Vietnam?

Australia is very proud to offer scholarships through our government and universities to give more and more people learning opportunities in Australia. And the two countries have many things in common. Australia has more than 300,000 people of Vietnamese decedents living in Australia. We love to celebrate all the things that Vietnamese people celebrate in Australia. We celebrate Tet with beautiful Vietnamese cuisine in these communities. We have a little bit of Vietnam in Australia and we certainly are proud of our alumni to come back to Vietnam, invest in the country here, go on to do amazing things, start businesses, use their excellent Australian education to really strengthen the future of Vietnam. 

Currently, people pay more attention on the schools’ culture, organization’s culture. What would you say about Australian Alumni’s culture? 

We do have a grant fund available for Australian alumni. That tries to support people who studied and lived in Australia to come together and to share their professional knowledge, their experience with each other, to further their work in different fields. There are several alumni groups that they can join and there’s an Aussie Alumni Facebook page with all information. It’s the way we can support people to continue their great work they do when they come back to Vietnam. 

Australia is very proud of the people who come and study in Australia and then go back to all countries around the world. Upon their return to Vietnam with the education, Australian alumni have strived to further people to people links between our countries. I think when people come to Australia, spend time, study, learn, eat beautiful Vietnamese food we have in Australia as well. And they really understand Australia so well, and our countries grow so very closely together.

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"The alumni I have talked to are proud upon their return to Vietnam. Our connections are very strong and we are also proud of the 70,000 alumni who come and study in Australia and then go back to Vietnam and grasp opportunities in their homeland. I believe that the people to people links between Vietnam and Australia will continue to grow strongly”-said Ms. Julianne Cowley - Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City. 

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Source: Translation of an article on Education and Times Newspaper