2016 Columbo Plan Scholar, James Barklamb, is currently studying a double degree at Monash (Bachelor of Arts and Law, majoring in International Relations). James was one of 100 recipients Australia wide (8 at Monash) to be awarded the scholarship, which allows students to study for an extended period overseas with the full financial support of the federal government.
James outlines what he will be doing in Myanmar next year and talks about the support he received from Monash to achieve the scholarship:
“As one of two inaugural Columbo scholars to be sent to Myanmar, I will be engaging with one of the most significant political and governmental transitions in the recent history of the Indo-Pacific: the transformative election victory of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's party.
The next few years in Myanmar promise to be a period of rapid development, democratisation and international engagement, and I am extremely fortunate and excited to be a part of this.
As an ambassador for, and agent of, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, I aim to engage with influential business, non-profit and academic organisations, in a manner that will strengthen the growing diplomatic, political and economic ties between Australia and Myanmar.
I will be immersing myself in the social challenges confronting Myanmar's citizens, and aiming to build on my work within the Access Monash Program, as a Monash Community Leaders Scholar, and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience as an advocate for educational access and social mobility.
Having worked with the Southern Ethnic Advisory and Advocacy Council in supporting students whose families have sought refuge in Australia, I hope to particularly focus on documenting how the spectre of ethnic conflict affects the educational development of Myanmar's youth and drives refugee movement.
I also hope to build on my work in Rwanda at the Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (through Monash's Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation) by addressing Myanmar's politically and ethnically sensitive governmental transition.
As a 2016 scholar, I owe a debt of gratitude to both the ACJC and the Arts Faculty more broadly, for supporting my studies and developing an internship network that places interns in positions of real responsibility and encourages students to be bold in engaging with leaders in their field of interest.
The incredible opportunities which will come my way in Myanmar are a testament to the global outlook and reach that Monash pursues for all its students. In particular, the dedication and commitment of Trevor Goddard and his team at Global Engagement, as well as the team at Monash Abroad, were undeniably crucial in supporting the success of all nine Monash scholars.”