From the Vice-Chancellor
Last month, the University conducted its annual off-shore graduation ceremonies which really are among the most enjoyable functions I attend in the course of the year. They are a unique time to celebrate old and new friendships alike, and to share in a defining moment for our graduates, their families and their friends.
Across four ceremonies held in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, I was once again struck by the importance of our work as an international educator, and the contribution foreign students make to our University, both here and abroad. On the cusp of new careers, these graduates are now equipped with skills to make their mark on the world. Along the way, they will carry the University's name with them. I feel sure that their international experience will stand them in good stead, and their future employers will reap the benefits of a more rounded education.
The international experience is a rich and rewarding one, and not just for those who leave their shores to live and study in Adelaide. In reciprocal fashion, the University is intent on sending our students to high quality universities overseas for part of their studies.
Being exposed to other cultures, schools of thought and different perspectives offers enormous gains for both students and prospective employers and helps the University cement ties with tertiary providers in other countries.
While in Asia for the offshore graduations, I signed an agreement with the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing to establish twinning programs in commerce, economics and finance. We will have a modest presence on-site at Tsinghua from 2007 onwards, and the local authorities are clearly enthusiastic about growing the relationship.
The pace and scale of change in China is nothing short of incredible. The economy is growing at an amazing rate, and as much as anywhere else, research of the highest quality, much of it conducted in the leading research universities, is regarded as fundamental to economic health. Tsinghua is the first ranked university in China, and we have a remarkable opportunity to participate in a `world's best' field of on-site collaborators. We have been asked to signal our interest in participating by the end of the year: it's going to be a busy time.
The University has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government in Kuching to develop research programs in areas of joint interest including agriculture, biotechnology, aquaculture, environmental biology, functional genomics, soil science and water resource management.
While in Singapore, I attended a local Alumni Chapter function at which the Chancellor launched a commemorative book documenting the history and achievements of many high profile Singaporean identities who have studied at the University of Adelaide.
The book, The Southern Light - Enlightening and Enriching, records the collective accomplishments of the Singaporean alumni, covering a 60-year period and includes excerpts from some highly distinguished citizens who are recognised internationally in their fields.
Internationalisation is here to stay. Australia's involvement in international education, both as a major exporter, and in the encouragement of Australians to learn about other countries and have experience abroad, is enriching society as a whole, the institutions that underpin this huge enterprise, and the hundreds of thousands of people who make them up. To ensure the experience of internationalisation is as good as it can possibly be is an ongoing process, but it is one in which we must succeed. After all, our students and graduates are our greatest accomplishment - and our best ambassadors.
PROFESSOR JAMES A. McWHA
Vice-Chancellor and President