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Assistant Foreign Minister highlights alumni impact in Bhutan

Posted: 30 May 2023

Bhutan, Alumni, Impact,

To mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Bhutan, Australia’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Tim Watts MP, travelled to Bhutan and witnessed the impact of Scholarship alumni.

On 15 May 2023, Assistant Minister Watts met with high profile Australia Awards alumni in Thimphu, including Ministers, business leaders, judges and senior civil servants. “I am very proud of the significant contribution the Australia Awards and its precursors have made to Bhutan-Australia relations,” said Assistant Minister Watts.

While his trip coincided with the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Assistant Minister Watts noted that Bhutan-Australia ties went back to the 1960s, with the arrival of the first of hundreds of Bhutanese who have since taken up their studies in Australia through Scholarships under the Colombo Plan and Australia Awards.

“The granting of an Australia Award marks a recognition of potential”, Assistant Minister Watts told the alumni. “You are the leaders and change agents who took the opportunity to realise potential, and ran with it. All of you making important contributions to Bhutan’s transformation and development. I am very proud of the small role Australia has played in this journey.”

While in Bhutan, Assistant Minister Watts was received by His Majesty The Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and met with the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Dr Lotay Tshering, and the Foreign Minister of Bhutan, Dr Tandi Dorji, both of whom are Australian alumni.

Assistant Minister Watt’s speech can be found here.