MELBOURNE – Filipino students in Australia are gearing up for the first Filipino-Australian Student Leaders National Summit to be held on July 15 in Melbourne.

The inaugural event, to be convened by the Filipino Australian Student Council of Victoria (FASTCO), aims to strengthen the Filipino student community in Australia by linking different organisations across the country. The Philippine embassy in Canberra estimates that there around 10,000 Filipino students enrolled in Australian universities and vocational institutions.

“One of the strongest aspects of the Philippines-Australia Comprehensive Partnership is education cooperation,” Philippine Ambassador to Australia Minda Calaguian-Cruz said in a statement.

The ambassador added that being a recipient of the Colombo plan herself in 1985 for a Foreign Service Training at the Australian National University, she can attest that her educational experience in Australia has left her with skills needed for the service, life-long friends, a greater appreciation of the depth of Philippines-Australia relations and a desire to strengthen further people-to-people linkages between the two countries.

Mike Malicsi, FASTCO president, said holding the summit is an opportunity to promote the presence of Filipino Australian students in the country.

“This unprecedented and trailblazing initiative will further enrich the already immense potential of student communities in key states across Australia. We are excited to imagine and shape a shared future with student leaders representing the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria and we thank them tremendously for accompanying FASTCO towards this pursuit,” he said.

One of the main objectives of the event is the creation of a formal alliance among different Filipino student organisations in the country which will serve as an avenue for future projects and collaborations. The Philippine embassy said it is pleased to support the inaugural event and the creation of an alliance among Filipino student organisations.
“Through my interaction with Filipino students in Australia, I have seen for myself that they are brimming with new and innovative ideas not only to support each other during their time in Australia but also in promoting greater awareness and appreciation of the Philippines in their respective educational institutions,” Calaguian-Cruz said.

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