Australian Embassy Welcomes Fifty Balikbayan Scholars

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely welcomed over 50 Filipino recipients of the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarships on their return from postgraduate studies at Australia’s top universities.

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“The Australia Awards Scholarships are part of Australia’s contribution to Philippine development. Scholars earn a world-class degree from Australia and return to the Philippines with new ideas and knowledge to spur social and economic reforms,” said Ambassador Gorely.

The Ambassador welcomed the latest batch of returning scholars at the recently concluded Re-Entry Action Plan (REAP) Conference.

REAP is an important feature of the Australia Awards Scholarships in the Philippines. It encourages recipients to apply their Australian education and skills to high-impact projects in their field, industry or community upon their return. The scholars are expected to implement their REAP within a year or two upon their return.

One of Manila’s most successful social enterprises C&C Home and Gifts was created through  scholar Monica Co’s REAP.  C&C, which stands for Creative & Committed, is a community-based livelihood program benefitting stay-at-home mothers.  Monica partnered with women sewers of Samata Village in Las Pinas, and weavers of Cutud in Pampangga, to produce top-of-the-line hand woven baskets, mats and planters.

The socially-centered principles Monica learned from her Master of Management (Marketing) at the University of Melbourne, coupled with the thriving art scene of that city, inspired her to set up C&C Home and Gifts as part of her REAP.

The latest batch of returning scholars joined the roster of Australia Global Alumni that includes former and current cabinet secretaries, heads of government agencies, successful entrepreneurs and national scientists.