Born in Leeds to Indian parents from the Punjab, Shah won a place at Oxford and studied politics, philosophy and economics.
He came from a humble government school. "It was odd being the only one in my school to sit the entrance exam, me and one teacher as invigilator.
“It was interesting going to university in the late 80s because at Oxford there weren't many non-white British students.”
So what does Australia do to diversify its global education reach? Shah hints that while King's looked to Asia to diversify, UWA might need to balance its portfolio by looking elsewhere.
“People here are saying China is the big market but you need to diversify. Any strategy that relies on one or two countries is dubious. At King's there are students from 170 countries and only recently Chinese numbers overtook US numbers.”
Recruiting students will not be his responsibility. Instead Shah will work on “connecting UWA to the rest of the world” by building relationships with foreign universities and research bodies.
“Our Vision 2030 policy talks about how UWA is well-placed to connect Australia with the Indian Ocean Rim. So how can we expand our influence from Indonesia, Malaysia, through to India, the Middle East and Africa?
“It may be working with African universities on upskilling or Indian universities on joint research projects that are industry related. I'm keen to ensure UWA is seen as the partner of choice for industry and the community it's located in. After all, we are civic institutions first and foremost.”
Simone Hewett (UWA Media & PR Adviser) 08 6488 7975