Five UNSW students have been awarded prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarships to study at leading universities in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, announced the inaugural winners of the scholarships – valued at $67,000 each – at an awards dinner in Canberra last night.

A total of 40 scholars were selected nationally with UNSW the only university to receive the maximum five scholarships. Candidates were chosen based on academic excellence and community leadership skills.

The successful recipients from UNSW are Amogh Sarda, Thomson Ngo, Rong Zhai, Caroline Yun and Guy Baldwin.

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Iain Martin congratulated the scholars, describing them as “fine ambassadors for UNSW and Australia”.

“The New Colombo Plan is an excellent initiative and these scholarships will provide our students with a terrific opportunity to enhance their cultural understanding and employment potential, and to create lasting bonds in the region,” Professor Martin said.

“It is a testament to the quality of our students that we received the maximum number of scholarships available.”

Amogh Sarda, 20, is studying a dual degree in Computer Science and Mechatronic Engineering. He will attend Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

He hopes to delve into the entrepreneurial world of robotics "with an international backdrop" and establish himself as a young professional in the dynamic and fast-growing Asian market.

“Hong Kong is a thriving cosmopolitan city that is creating and embracing modern technology. I feel that Australia can learn a lot from the region in creating a competitive, technology-intensive manufacturing sector. In particular, I intend to nurture my entrepreneurship skills and engage with the vibrant business start-up community,” he said

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government that aims to lift knowledge of the Indo–Pacific in Australia and strengthen people-to-people and institutional relationships.

Scholars can undertake up to two semesters of study in one of the four pilot locations (Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore) along with an internship and language study.

UNSW scholarship winners and host institutions

Amogh Sarda, Engineering/Science | Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Thomson Ngo, Engineering | Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Guy Baldwin, Arts/Law | University of Tokyo

Caroline Yun, Commerce (International) | University of Tokyo Rong Zhai, Engineering | Nanyang Technological University

Media contact: Denise Knight, UNSW Media Office, M 0405 207 685 E


Amogh Sarda, Rong Zhai, Professor Iain Martin and Caroline Yun. Image: Bill Green