The 2023 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Fellowship for Pacific Policymakers was held from 30 October to 17 November as part of DFAT’s prestigious Australian Awards Fellowships. Funded by the Australian Government for emerging and established leaders, the Fellowships focus on fostering networks of influence and leadership in Australia’s partner countries.
The Fellowships aim to strengthen partnerships between Australian organisations and their counterparts in the Pacific region. Griffith University’s Pacific Island Centre for Development Policy and Research (PICDPR–formerly SPCCB) capacity development program for Pacific policymakers played a pivotal role in the relaunch of the Fellowships last year.
Addressing one of the Fellowship’s six priority areas–digital economy–PICDPR brought together a delegation of 13 Fellows from the central banks of Fiji and Solomon Islands to Brisbane for the three-week training program. During their visit, these policymakers engaged in a comprehensive training program titled “Financing Pacific Futures: Finance in a Digital Economy.”
In appreciating DFAT’s sponsorship of the training program, Dr Parmendra Sharma, Program Director of PICDPR, noted that:
“Such programs are not only very useful for capacity development but they also provide a great opportunity for inter-Pacific, in-person interactions and bonding where the Fellows share their views and work together towards Pacific-based solutions to common challenges.”
Tailored for senior and mid-career officials and professionals capable of advancing development outcomes, the Fellowships are designed to elevate the institutional capacity of partner countries through the application of effective leadership.
Distinguished instructors for the program included Dr Shyama Ratnasiri, Associate Professor Parvinder Kler, Professor Robert Bianchi and Dr Victor Wong, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Dr Peter Dirou, Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct and former Asian Development Bank consultant, Professor Alan Wee-Chung Liew, Deputy Director, Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems, Professor Christoph Nedopil Wang, Director, Griffith Asia Institute and Professor Renee McKibbin, Australian National University and Panellist of the 2023 RBA Review.
The training program’s coordination was led by Associate Professor Tarlok Singh, Dr Jen-Je Su, and Dr Parmendra Sharma–comprising the core PICDPR team.
Going beyond conventional classroom sessions, the program facilitated interstate visits, fostering collaborative partnerships with key entities including theAustralian Securities and Investment Commission, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Reserve Bank of Australia, DFAT, and Federal Treasury. This hands-on approach aimed to provide policymakers with practical insights, fostering not only professional growth but also strengthening the bonds between Pacific nations and Australian financial institutions and regulatory bodies.