Griffith’s New Colombo Plan scholars announced

New Colombo Plan recipients with Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. From left Leah Brokmann,Molly Jackson, Kim Johnston, Elizabeth Dowrie, Georgia Toft and Shaun Milligan.
New Colombo Plan recipients with Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. From left Leah Brokmann, Molly Jackson, Kim Johnston, Elizabeth Dowrie, Georgia Toft and Shaun Milligan.

Six Griffith University students have been awarded prestigiousNew Colombo PlanScholarships to study at leading universities in Singapore,Hong Kong and China.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop announced the winners of the scholarships at a ceremony in Canberra on November 28.

A total of 105scholarswere selected nationally with candidates chosen based on academic excellence and community leadership skills.

The successful recipients from Griffith University are:

  • Leah Brokmann:Bachelor of Business
  • Elizabeth Dowrie:Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Government and International Relations
  • Molly Jackson:Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Government and International Relations
  • Kimberley Johnson:Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Government and International Relations
  • Shaun Milligan: Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business
  • Georgia Toft:Bachelor of International Business/Bachelor of Government and International Relations

Griffith University Vice President (Global) Professor Sarah Todd congratulated the scholars, describing them as “fine ambassadors for Griffith and Australia.”

“These six NCP prestigious scholarships cement Griffith’s reputation as one of Australia’s leading universities for providing student experiences in Asia adds to the significant funding for short-term programs that Griffith has again been awarded this year to enable students to spend time studying in the region,” Professor Todd said.

“As a university, we are committed to enabling as many of our students as possible to either study or undertake an internship abroad, giving them an amazing experience and an edge in the employment market when they graduate.”

Globalised future

RixRyan-0562For Molly Jackson (pictured right), a fascination with other cultures led her to pursue a career in international law.

The fourth-year Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Government and International Relations student said a gap year after high school opened her eyes to the possibilities presented in a “globalised” future and gave her a “keener sense of the injustices that take place around the world”.

“Studying International Relations has taught me critical thinking skills and I have learnt a lot about the dynamics of global politics, particularly in relation to the Asia-Pacific,’’ she said.

“Law also allows me to develop advocacy skills, and to hopefully enter a career where I can deal with questions of justice daily.”

As part of her scholarship Molly will spend two semesters at Hong Kong University and learn Mandarin in China while researching investment protection at Peking University.

She also hopes to spend three months in Kiribati studying the effects of climate change on planned migrations of Pacific Island Peoples.

“I really believe that Australia should embrace its place in the Indo-Pacific, and I am beyond excited that this scholarship will allow me to spend almost two years in the region, experiencing another way of life, and hopefully, getting early access to Australia’s future,” she said.

“The NCP is essential for me to become the sort of future professional I want to be – global-minded, culturally-aware, well-connected, and most importantly – skilled.

“The NCP has given me access to opportunities like pursuing a career in international law, which otherwise might have just remained a pipe dream.”

Helping others

RixRyan-0517 (1)Since she was a young girl, Kim Johnson (pictured left) knew she wanted to study law so she could help people less fortunate than herself.

“I envisioned being a legal advocate, utilising the law as both a sword and a shield to protect human rights and empower disadvantaged groups in our society.”

As part of the New Colombo Plan scholarship, the Bachelor of Laws and Government and International Relations student will study law at the University of Hong Kong where she will also undertake a full-time internship at the Hong Kong Arbitration Centre.

“Being awarded the New Colombo Plan Scholarship is truly such an honour and I am so grateful to have been selected,’’ she said.

“This incredible opportunity means that I am able to fulfil my dream of studying overseas and immersing myself in a cultural context so different to that of my own.

“More importantly, the knowledge, professional networking connections and regional experience I will develop as a result of my NCP Scholarship Program means that I will have the necessary foundations for my future career in international law and policy in the Indo-Pacific region we call home.”

While Kim doesn’t have a specific job or location in mind, when she graduates she would like to obtain a position in an intergovernmental organisation such as the United Nations.

“I’d like to help develop effectivepolicies that enforce human rights and empower the disadvantaged in the Indo-Pacific region.”


The scholarships, awarded by the Australian Government, recognise high-achieving students who show a commitment to their community and potential as a future leader.

It also provides students with an opportunity to enhance their cultural understanding and employment potential and to create lasting bonds in the region.

Launched in 2013, the New Colombo Plan aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia, by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

The program also includes internships and mentorships, as well as flexible mobility grant programs for shorter-term practicums and research.