International students inspire with Australian Award success

December 9, 2015

Murdoch master degree students Ei Hnin Phyu Htun and Jonathan Kelly were recipients of Australia Awards

Murdoch master degree students Ei Hnin Phyu Htun and Jonathan Kelly were recipients of Australia Awards

Two master degree students whose time in Perth was funded by the Australia Awards program, have spoken of broadening their academic knowledge and understanding of global cultural diversity while studying at Murdoch University.

Jonathan Kelly from St Kitts and Nevis and Ei Hnin Phyu Htun from Myanmar were chosen to deliver the key note speeches at the Australia Awards Welcome and Farewell Celebration recently before returning to their native countries.

Jonathan completed a two year master degree in renewable energy at the School of Engineering and Information Technology and plans to use his knowledge and experience to benefit St Kitts and Nevis, which is a two island nation situated in the Caribbean.

“On my return I will be actively involved in planned and existing renewable energy projects to which I hope to make significant contributions based on the knowledge and experience I have gained at Murdoch University,” he said.

“Like all small island developing states, St Kitts and Nevis is challenged by the negative impacts of climate change and there is a shortage in local expertise in renewable energy utilisation.

“Receiving the Australia Award and pursuing my degree has not only enabled my personal development and growth, but it will ultimately help my country.”

On a more personal level, Jonathan said his experience at Murdoch with the Australia Awards ensured he had friends from all corners of the globe.

“The socio-economic challenges and inequalities that exist in developing countries can only be remedied through global collaboration,” he added. “The bonds of friendship and networks formed will contribute towards sustainable development on a global scale as we continue to collaborate and support each other even after leaving Australia.”

Ei emphasised the importance of finding a balance between academic and normal life in her key note speech at the celebration.

She has recently completed a Master of Public Policy and Management at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs and said Murdoch academics and professional staff had offered incredible support to help her achieve that balance and success.

On her return to Myanmar, Ei says she plans to make a valuable contribution to a new system of democratic government following the recent victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in the 2015 general election.

“The victory will deliver prominent social and political change in my country,” she said

“Though these political developments are heading towards a democratic system, there are gaps in the way the public relate to democracy. The country has survived under a dictatorship for many decades, and so we are unaware of our rights and how to guarantee that they will be honoured.

“In this scenario, the role of civil society organisations is crucially important to promote awareness of the new system of governance. This is the gap I intend to fill upon my return home.

“The master course at Murdoch is very relevant to the reform strategy of my country.”

The Australia Awards Scholarships are long term development awards administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which provide opportunities for people from developing countries to undertake full time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities.

The Australia Awards Welcome and Farewell Celebration event recognises the graduating awardees and welcomes commencing awardees.

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