Close to thirty inventive Australia Awards Alumni from South and West Asia gathered last week in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ‘Alumni Innovation Challenge’.
The Challenge, supported by the BRAC Social Innovation Lab, provided successful alumni applicants with grants to pilot development innovations in their home countries – including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The week’s events commenced with a two-day Design Sprint, linking grantees to expert mentors and an opportunity to gain a richer understanding on how to scale up their ideas.
Following this was an Innovation Conference, inaugurated by the Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh HE Julia Niblett. The Conference presented an opportunity for grantees to showcase their ideas through presentations to Heads of Missions from South and West Asia, Government of Bangladesh Ministry officials, international development agencies, fellow alumni, and other key stakeholders.
The Challenge finished with an Innovation Tour, where participants visited Australian Government-supported and Australian alumni-initiated development innovations in Bangladesh.
Opening the Innovation Conference, Ms Niblett said
“The Alumni Innovation Challenge will further enable us to respond to emerging global opportunities and challenges through innovation by drawing together some of our most inventive, creative Alumni across the region. It will also provide a unique opportunity for our Alumni to network and share experiences”.
Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government. They offer the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia.
In the last five years alone, more than 1,000 Australia Awards Scholarships have been awarded to individuals in South and West Asia to study in Australia. The next intake of Australia Awards Scholarships will be announced in February 2018.