Building capacity through education to help the emerging Indian Ocean nation of Myanmar achieve its potential in the Asian Century is the key to a scholarship announced jointly today by The University of Western Australia and Woodside Energy.
A post-graduate capacity building scholarship will be offered to a citizen of Myanmar to study at The University of Western Australia. It is likely the scholarship will be available in 2014.
The scholarship was announced during the UWA In The Zone conference, which discussed bridging the divide between poverty and wealth in the Asian region and the need for collaborative partnerships between sectors and nations to build for the future.
Delegates heard that education was a huge challenge in fragile states such as Myanmar - formerly known as Burma - where less than two per cent of that nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was spent on education - one of the lowest figures in the world.
"Partnerships are critical for success in the 21st century," UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said. "This scholarship announcement demonstrates a successful collaboration between Australia's corporate and education sectors to help an emerging nation seeking and needing partners.
"After a long period of profound challenges, world attitudes are changing towards Myanmar and new opportunities are dawning.
"Nothing is more important in this century than knowledge, and we can best contribute by offering Myanmar access to the world-class education and research capabilities available at UWA.
"Now is the time to build on fledgling reforms so that Myanmar and its citizens can achieve their full potential in the Asian century."
Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said the scholarship was an important step in strengthening the company's collaboration with UWA to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
"The scholarship provides a fantastic opportunity to build capacity and support knowledge transfer between Australia and Myanmar during this important transition for the country," Mr Coleman said.
"We recently announced our intention to take equity in exploration acreage offshore Myanmar and we look forward to playing our role in the development of the country's emerging oil and gas sector and building new relationships with the broader community."
Details of the Myanmar scholarship will be available later.
In the Zone is an intensive meeting of national and international leaders from business, government and academic sectors discussing the increasingly complex policy questions facing Australia and the Asian region.