The first-ever industry symposium on the Australia Government’s signature foreign policy initiative, the New Colombo Plan (NCP), was co-hosted by King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at KWM’s Sydney office this week.
The New Colombo Plan is a mobility grants and scholarship program which provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to live, study and undertake internships and other work-based learning in 40 participating Indo-Pacific locations.
The symposium, which was focussed on exploring practical ways of encouraging and supporting more young lawyers to prepare for successful careers in the Indo-Pacific, was attended by a range of business, industry leaders, senior lawyers, academics and a number of NCP alumni.
Amongst others, the event was addressed by Australia’s Foreign Minister, Hon Julie Bishop MP, KWM’s Global Chief Executive Sue Kench and Deans of several Law Schools, reflecting the importance placed on the program by both government and the private sector.
Sue Kench noted that over the last four years KWM has placed 23 NCP scholars and grant recipients in its offices in China and Hong Kong and has embedded the New Colombo Plan as a critical part of the firm’s international exchange and secondment program. “We are thrilled to support the program. By building a cohort of Asia-literate and Asia-engaged future leaders, the program presents a real opportunity to foster a deeper regional awareness and to broaden and deepen Australia’s expertise and networks in the region.”
NCP Business Champion and KWM China Practice consultant David Olsson said: “With the fastest growing region on our doorstep and shifts in geopolitical power, it is increasingly important for international lawyers to understand the perspectives of others from non-western backgrounds. As a profession this is the beginning of a conversation about how the legal fraternity can engage with the emerging economies that will be the economic powerhouses of the future.”