Speech by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
"Connect With Australia" – Philippine Australian Alumni Networking Reception
Dusit Thani Hotel
6:00M-9:00PM, 26 June 2013
Good evening and Welcome to “Connect With Australia.”
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all tonight, most especially Filipino alumni of Australian universities and institutions. Tonight is your night as we celebrate your accomplishments as a result of your Australian education.
I’m sure you all are excited to see your fellow alumni and to be re-connecting once again with one another. And that is why our event tonight is called “Connect with Australia.” Together with the Philippine Australian Alumni Association, it is our aim to bring alumni together in a spirit of friendship and purpose. Australia places a high value on its partnerships in the Philippines. And for us this means investing in quality engagements, where we can truly make a difference. The Australia Philippines Alumni Association means a great deal to us in this context.
Some of you will know how passionate I am about alumni and alumni networks. You, unlike me, will be Ambassadors for Australia for the rest of your lives.
I’m sure you have had wonderful experiences as students in Australia, or as students pursuing an Australian study program in the Philippines. And we would like to add to that through this event.
There are presently 5,000 Filipino students studying in Australia. Over the past 5 years, more than 13,000 Filipinos graduated in Australia in varying levels of study, from certificate all the way to post graduate degrees. In recent years, we have also had graduates from Australian courses offered in the Philippines. There are 11 active partnerships between Australian and Philippine institutions. This is a welcome development for Australia as we value Filipino students for their diligence, ability to adapt well in a multicultural environment, and warm and friendly manner. That’s why I am glad to see you all here tonight in the Philippines practising what you have learned and contributing to your home country using your Australian education to make a difference in this wonderful country.
You have distinguished yourselves in your respective fields. You have achieved a “Future Unlimited,” which is Australia’s international brand for our education offerings. “Future Unlimited” conveys vast potential and opportunities available as a result of an Australian education. Education underpins our innovation – Australian inventions such as the heart pacemaker, commercial Wi-fi, Google maps, and the cervical cancer vaccine, were a result of our strong focus on research and development in our universities and colleges. For a country with a small population, I’m proud to say we have produced 15 Nobel Prize laureates who were educated in Australia. I’m sure you too can attest to the quality of Australian education – you are living proof of it.
You will be glad to know that the Australian Embassy is actively encouraging more Filipinos to study in Australia. We have recently re-launched the “Future Unlimited – Study in Australia” website which you now see on-screen behind me. The new website has more interactive features and a vibrant design. It also features stories from alumni which we will expand on in the future to show your own stories. We would like to ask for your assistance in promoting the “Future Unlimited” website as well as sharing your experiences to family and friends interested to study in Australia.
We have an exciting evening planned for you. We have Ms Carla Dunareanu to sing for us. Thank you very much to our valued partner Qantas, who are going to raffle off a return ticket to Australia later tonight. We also have a lovely buffet set tonight with Australian beef, wine, beer and cheese – which I’m sure you will all enjoy.
Thank you all for attending and we trust that you have a wonderful time tonight.