The five university undergraduate student winners of the inaugural iSAY Essay Competition 2019 met Secretary Ms Frances Adamson, DFAT Chief Negotiator, Regional Trade Agreements Division Ms Elizabeth Ward, Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Mr Nam and Indonesia's Deputy Ambassador Mr Aman in Canberra on 16 September 2019.
Celebrating the Australia now ASEAN year in 2019, the inaugural iSAY Competition was open to university undergraduates of Australian and ASEAN member country universities. The ASEAN winners are Tran Thi Thu Trang, studying at Hanoi Law University, Vietnam, and I Gst. Putu Agung Trisna Guna Pradnyana studying at Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. The Australian university winners John Swan, Charlotte Choi and Olivia Stanley attend the Universities of Adelaide and Melbourne, and the University of Technology, Sydney respectively.
The students were in Canberra to attend a Youth Forum designed to promote ASEAN-Australian trade and economic links. They presented their winning essays to an audience of local high school students, DFAT and embassy staff. After the presentations, John Swan from the University of Adelaide was chosen as the overall winner and will travel to Jakarta, Indonesia as a delegate to the ASEAN-Australia Young Leaders Forum 2019.
At DFAT, the students received a series of briefings on work Australia and ASEAN are undertaking on trade, including negotiations towards the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is an ASEAN-centred regional free trade area, initially including the ten ASEAN member states and Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The winners also joined a tour of the Australian Parliament House and watched Question Time.
Planning for the 2020 iSAY Competition is underway and we will announce the timing and topics for each category – including the Australia senior high school student category in which we also received many highly competitive essays – early in the new year. See the webpage for more information: www.dfat.gov.au/isaycompetition.