Singapore and Australia have announced plans for the launch
of an exchange program of "Young Ambassadors" to promote
stronger business and professional ties between the two countries.
The announcement was made during a meeting between Singapore's
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Professor S Jayakumar and Australia's
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer on 28 July
1999. Mr Downer is visiting Singapore to attend the ASEAN Regional
Forum and the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference.
The Minsters recalled that interest in a Young Ambassadors
exchange program had been agreed in principle during the Singapore-Australia
Joint Ministerial Committee meeting held in Singapore in February.
Professor Jayakumar and Mr Downer welcomed the agreement now
to proceed with the program. They announced that the coordinating
agencies for the program will be the Singapore International
Foundation and Australia's Asialink Centre, which is attached
to the University of Melbourne.
Professor Jayakumar said that the Young Ambassadors Program
is a very good initiative. It would give both young Singaporean
and Australian professionals the opportunity to experience a
new work environment, network and exchange ideas. He was pleased
that the program had progressed so expeditiously after it was
adopted at the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee
meeting. The program would widen the scope of economic co-operation
and expand opportunities for more people-to people interactions.
This would add further momentum to the New Partnership initiated
between Singapore and Australia in January 1996.
Mr Downer said the Young Ambassadors Program should add a
new dimension to the existing, excellent bilateral relationship.
The program would enable young Australian professionals, entrepreneurs
and others in business to gain experience with counterparts in
Singapore, and for reciprocal experience to be gained by similar
Singaporeans in Australia. Mr Downer said the opportunities
provided by the program for networks to develop and for close
professional interaction at early stages in business careers
should promote further strategic trade and investment linkages
between Australia and Singapore. He was pleased that the Australian
members of the Singapore Australia Business Alliance Forum (SABAF)
had given their strong support to the program.
Both sides are expected to identify opportunities for young Australians
and Singaporeans to live and work in each other's country for
several months. They will be able to learn about each other's
country and their own profession.
The program is expected to start next year.