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Scholars and alumni prepare to become leaders for development

Posted: 9 December 2021

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Scholars Platform, Sri Lanka, Alumni, In Australia, Linkages, Scholar,

In November, Australia Awards and ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) scholars and recent alumni from South Asia, Mongolia and Myanmar participated in two professional development activities aimed at strengthening their leadership skills and assisting current and former scholars to become more effective change agents.

The first of these activities was a training workshop called ‘Leading Through Story’, delivered by Digital Storytellers, a Sydney-based film agency. The second was a webinar on mainstreaming inclusion and climate action in participants’ Development Impact Plans and Reintegration Plans.

Tony Crooks, Team Leader of Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia delivered the opening speech in both the professional development activities.  In his remarks he reminded the participants that they are very well placed to share their Australian knowledge, expertise, and experience to contribute to development in their countries. “You are now strong, empathetic and energised leaders who can make a positive difference in your communities, your countries and the Indo-Pacific region” he said.

Leading Through Story

This virtual workshop was held in two parts, on 18 and 24 November. During the workshop, participants explored tips and techniques to use storytelling for leadership and change management by crafting effective stories to engage, persuade and inspire others.

“Stories we tell represent the experience, events and endeavours we undertook in the past and what we wish in the future. The Leading Through Story workshop made me realise I can impact change with my stories, and I will continue to do so,” says Jyoti Jiban Khisha, a scholar from Bangladesh who is currently studying at the University of Adelaide.

The participants also attended focused discussions to improve their skills in writing stories, digital storytelling and presenting in virtual events.

A drawing board by Digital Storytellers to showcase the lessons learnt during the workshop

“I am very much thankful to Australia Awards for organising such an impressive professional development training on storytelling,” says Kencho Lhamo, an Australia Awards scholar from Bhutan who is currently studying at Edith Cowan University. “This session was an enriching experience for me. I have found many of the techniques and tips from the session directly relatable and applicable in my workplace for persuading and inspiring positive change.”

Development Impact Planning webinar

This webinar was held on 29 November, with guest speakers Dr Anu Mundkur (co-founder of Equalis and Associate Director, Gender Consortium – Flinders University) and Ailsa Lamont (co-founder of Climate Action Network for International Educators). They explained why it is important for scholars and alumni to consider inclusion and climate action when updating their Development Impact Plans / Reintegration Plans. The speakers also provided participants with best practice examples on mainstreaming inclusion and climate action, as well as important resources that are useful not only when updating Development Impact Plans / Reintegration Plans but also in other development activities.

Are you a leader looking to make a difference in your home country? Applications for Australia Awards Scholarships for intake 2023 open in early 2022.

Image on top: Australia Awards scholar Jyoti Jiban Khisha