CDU students win New Colombo Plan Scholarships


Deputy Vice-Chancellor Andrew Everett (centre) with New Colombo Plan Scholarship recipients Joel Kennaway and Jessica Kelly.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Strategy and Advancement Andrew Everett (centre) with New Colombo Plan Scholarship recipients Joel Kennaway and Jessica Kelly. 

Two Charles Darwin University students have won prestigious New Colombo Plan scholarships that will allow them to live overseas next year where they will continue their undergraduate studies.

Bachelor of Engineering/Masters of Civil Engineering student Joel Kennaway will head to the Philippines, while Bachelor of Laws student Jessica Kelly is bound for Hong Kong. Both will undergo language training, work as interns with local establishments and further their studies while based at a leading university.

It will be Darwin-based Joel’s second overseas venture, having lived in Timor-Leste for six years.

“There was a little bit of trepidation on hearing news of my selection, but mostly I’m excited about what promises to be a very different experience,” Joel said. “I’m planning to leave in March for eight or nine months.” 

Joel has also been selected as the New Colombo Plan Philippines Fellow, an honour bestowed on the top-ranked student for each destination country.

“It’s a coveted role that means I may be invited to represent Australia at various events or be called on to promote the scholarship program.”

Joel said he expected the opportunity would allow him to experience “different sectors” within the broad field of civil engineering. 

“I’m keen to develop my own networks, develop the Northern Territory and will share my experiences with CDU when I return to Darwin.”

NSW-based naval officer Jessica Kelly said she was flattered to learn of her scholarship selection, which will take her to Hong Kong for 12 months from June.

“It will be my first visit to Hong Kong, although I went to China on a mobility grant in 2017,” Jessica said. “I’m looking forward to meeting the other scholars and making some lifetime friends. I’m also planning to learn Mandarin and I’ll probably finish my Law degree while there.”

Jessica said she expected the experience would help CDU build a stronger relationship with Hong Kong University.

Joel and Jessica were officially confirmed as New Colombo Plan Scholars by Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Marise Payne at a reception in Canberra last night.

CDU’s Director International Dr Stacey Farraway affirmed the significance of the Australian Government’s strategy to deepen relationships throughout the Indo-Pacific.

“We all stand to benefit from these study opportunities to engage with the region and from a workforce that understands the cultures and practices of our neighbours throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” Dr Farraway said.

“On behalf of Charles Darwin University, I congratulate Joel and Jessica on their selection as New Colombo Plan scholars. We are confident that they are on course to become future leaders in their chosen field and I urge them to make the most of these exciting opportunities,” she said.

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