Former Senator Lisa Singh has been appointed as the new Director of the Australia India Institute (AII), a University of Melbourne’s centre ‘dedicated to promoting support for and understanding of the Australia-India relationship’.
Lisa Singh, a former Australian Senator and the first female MP of South Asian descent, will head the Australia India Institute.
She is the Deputy Chair of the Australia India Council and also sits on the advisory committees of the University of Melbourne’s Asialink and the University of New South Wales’ Australian Human Rights Institute.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Michael Wesley said the Australia-India relationship continues to be one of the most important international relationships for the University of Melbourne, with significant opportunity for collaboration and cooperation.
“Since the launch of our first-ever bilateral engagement plan in 2019, the University remains deeply committed to developing our partnerships with India, and to contributing ideas to the development of closer partnerships between Australia and India,” Professor Wesley said.
“Ms Singh’s appointment is a big step forward in building capacity across both our societies and shaping the opportunities of a shared future.”
In 2014, Ms Singh was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India, for building friendly Australia-India relations, the highest civilian honour for a person of Indian origin.
According to a statement released by the university, Ms Singh said she was honoured to take up the role and intends to work with a range of leaders in Australia and India to advance the political and economic agenda.
“The Australia-India relationship is going through a transformative period. I believe its success will be dependent on the effort and collaboration that governments, business and institutes like the AII put into it,” she said.
“It’s important we nurture the academic and research capabilities in the relationship. But it needs to be done by focusing on shared priorities. That way partnerships for both nations will be enduring and mutually beneficial.”
“COVID-19 restrictions have stymied the education sector. The sooner Indian students can return to Australia to complete their qualifications the better. I hope to play a role to help facilitate a pathway for that to happen,” Ms Singh said.
She starts in her new role on 8 September.