The Government of Libya has formally thanked The University of Western Australia for financially supporting nine students from Libya when last year's civil war halted living allowances worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for them to study at UWA.
Libya's Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Musbah AA Allafi, and the Head of Cultural Affairs, Dr Omran Zwed, visited UWA today to thank Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson and other senior UWA staff associated with supporting the Libyan students' welfare.
Professor Johnson said the Libyan students had done remarkably well at UWA despite the personal trauma of violent civil war in their homeland.
"They kept their heads down and worked hard and steadily amid fears for the safety of their family and friends, and the uncertain future of their country," Professor Johnson said.
The Director of UWA's Centre for English Language Teaching, Ms Bianca Panizza, said the Libyan students did "wonderfully well" despite the harrowing circumstances at home.
"They showed amazing and admirable resilience and won the respect of all at CELT," Ms Panizza said.
In August last year, the Libyan Peoples Bureau in Canberra informed the University that living allowances for all Libyan students in Australia would cease from 1 September 2011.
Former UWA Vice-Chancellor Alan Robson resolved that UWA would take over payment of the Libyan students' living allowances up until 31 December 2011 under an arrangement that these costs would later be refunded.
As a result, six Libyan students successfully completed their courses and five are now undertaking postgraduate studies. Two other Libyan students from UWA returned to their homeland during the civil war, where one was killed by a sniper and the other worked as a doctor in a hospital. One other Libyan student discontinued studies at UWA.
A total of $265,064 for Libyan student living allowances and English language learning fees was refunded to UWA by the Libyan Embassy earlier this year.
Kelly Smith (Director, International Office) (+61 8) 6488 1853 Bianca Panizza (Director, Centre for English language Teaching) (+61 8) 6488 3011 / (+61 4) 17 950 401 Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783