ASEAN member states commit to Australia's New Colombo Plan

Plenary Session of the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers's Meeting in Myanmar. (AAP)

All 10 members of ASEAN have agreed to participate in the Australia's New Colombo Plan encouraging Australian students to study at universities in Southeast Asia.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she is pleased with the development, saying that close ties between the ASEAN members make it logical that Australian students study at universities in Southeast Asia rather than in countrites like the United States.

"Given the long history of cooperation and close ties between ASEAN members, it is appropriate that young Australianswill now have greater opportunities to learn from our Southeast Asian neighbours," she said in a statement.

A pilot of the New Colombo plan began earlier this year in January, with more than 1300 Australian undergraduate students supported by the government to study in the region.

"There are many world class and emerging universities in Southeast Asia, and Australian universities and undergraduates will increasingly build linkages with them," Minister Bishop said.

She says the program is aimed at deepening people-to-people links between Australia and our Southeast Asian neighbours.

"The Australian Government wants to encourage a new generation of Australians to experience more regional cultures, languages, and ways of doing business through the New Colombo Plan," she said.

The plan has been funded to run over five years at a cost of $100 million.

Under the original Colombo Plan, tens of thousands of students from Southeast Asia studied in Australia during the 1950s and 1980s. 

Source World News Australia

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