Lisa Singh to lead the Australia India Institute

By Our Reporter
Lisa Singh. Pic credit:

Lisa Singh has been appointed as the new Director of the Australia India Institute (AII), the University of Melbourne’s centre dedicated to promoting support for and understanding of the Australia-India relationship.

Singh is a former Australian Senator and was the first female MP of South Asian descent. 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, according to a news release from the University of Melbourne’s website.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Michael Wesley welcomed Singh’s appointment and 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.”

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 honour for a person of Indian origin, the release states.

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,” Singh said, while expressing concern over the significant impact of the pandemic on the sector.

Singh was previously Head of Government Advocacy at Minderoo Foundation (Walk Free initiative), a philanthropic organisation founded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest to address some of the most challenging global issues, the release further stated.

She starts in her new role on 8 September.

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