By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 30 August 2021: Lisa Singh, former Australian Senator and first female MP of South Asian descent is the new Director of the Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne.
Lisa Singh 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.
Ms. Singh has been a long-term advocate for a deeper Australia-India relationship. In 2014, she was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India, for building friendly Australia-India relations, the highest civilian honor for a person of Indian origin.
Ms. Singh said she was honored 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 while expressing concern over the significant impact of the pandemic on the sector.
Ms. Singh was previously Head of Government Advocacy at Minderoo Foundation (Walk Free initiative), a philanthropic organization founded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest to address some of the most challenging global issues.
She starts in her new role on 8 September.