H E MS PENNY WILLIAMS, AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER
CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY GRADUATION
SUNDAY 21 OCTOBER 2007
Chancellor, Mr. Lawrence Willett,
President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Goulter,
Ladies and gentlemen.
It is indeed a great honour to address you this morning and I thank Charles
Sturt University for this opportunity.
I promise I will make the best effort possible to keep this short and sweet but
without compromising on the key messages and challenges I have for you –
and challenge you, I will!
But first and foremost, congratulations! It takes dedication to achieve what you
have, and each and everyone one of you has a lot to be proud of – as
graduates of the Charles Sturt University.
Ladies and gentlemen – education has for decades been the bedrock of
Australia’s relationship with Malaysia. Over the years, hundreds of thousands
of Malaysian such as yourselves have either walked through the halls of
universities in Australia or pursued an Australian qualification in Malaysia.
It is indeed endearing to see this legacy continue. Even more endearing is
knowing that you, as proud owners of Australian degrees, will make the most
of what you have learned and work towards creating opportunities for others
to experience what you have – as the now famous line goes “with great power
comes great responsibility”
We do not have to be superheroes to make a difference in this world. You
now have great power. The scroll you take home today gives you that power.
It is now on you to use it wisely.
In whatever you do, keep in mind your social responsibility. Think about the
decisions you make today and not just about how it affects you but more so,
how it will affect others. If there is anything your university degree has taught
you, it has to be that equity of opportunity, tolerance, ethical conduct and
accountability must be at the core of who you are in order for you to succeed
in your pursuits.
And as I mentioned, create opportunities. I would love to see more Australians
come to Malaysia to study! Why shouldn’t we? Malaysia is a wonderful
country which is rich in heritage, steeped in tradition and yet able to be
modern and liberal in every positive sense.
I would like to urge you to tell the Australians you meet about the wonders of
Malaysia and the quality of education you have received from HELP
University College. Let them know that from an education perspective, things
are really the same and that the experience of being abroad in a welcoming
country like Malaysia would only make their tertiary experience all the more
Ladies and gentlemen, I could not have commenced my posting in Malaysia
at a better time – in a year when we are celebrating 50 years of our bilateral
relationship. And the education relationship with Malaysia could not be at a
better stage either. Since the days of the Colombo Plan, the education
relationship has now moved on to a variety of transnational education models,
research collaboration and new scholarships programmes.
The history of the relationship between both our countries is one that is rich
and personal to many of us. As you would know, Malaysia’s very own Higher
Education Minister Dato’ Mustapa Mohamed is among our distinguished
The Colombo Plan which saw around 4,000 Malaysian scholars attend
Australian universities from the 1950s to mid-1980s was really the start to our
relationship in education. Since then, twinning programmes have developed,
three branch university campuses have commenced successful operations in
Malaysia and various other forms of transnational education have also taken
Providers such as HELP University College have been leaders in this regard.
Dr. Paul Chan and his team have done a lot of good work in building the
relationship between our countries and providing for opportunities in
However, the responsibility now is on you to make the most of your education.
This is the challenge I am throwing to you – to go out there and do yourselves
proud. Graduates, rise to the challenge!
Hone the skills needed to succeed.
For example, are you adaptable?
Do you use your imagination?
Do you listen?
You need to be adaptable because the information revolution is changing the
world so dramatically.
You may not believe it right now, but most of you will pursue careers that are
quite different from the career you have in mind today.
And some of you will pursue careers that do not even exist today. After all,
who had heard of nanotechnology a decade ago?
If you are adaptable, you, your family and your society will enjoy greater
profits, have more fulfilling experiences and, I hope, live more peaceful lives.
And now, as you embark on the next phase of your lives, know that you are
not alone. Your peers who now form part of CSU’s alumni network are a great
support group. Continue to stay in touch and support each other. Never
underestimate the power of networking for your university community
stretches from the shores of Malaysia to Australia and beyond.
Also, continue to stay in touch with your university. Provide your valued
advice to your university when they send Australian students to Malaysia or
when academics come over to work on exchange. Get in touch with
Australian students who do come here and help them settle in. Talk to them
about everything great that is Malaysia – from the food to travel and you as
wonderful people – for the experience of an overseas education is not just
limited to the confines on campus.
Also, get involved with the Malaysian chapter of your alumni association and
the Malaysia-Australia Alumni Council (MAAC). There are a host of activities
for members. This year, there has already been a successful treasure hunt
organised by the High Commission and a bowling tournament organised by
MAAC, among a host of other activities.
It is a time of great opportunity for you and armed with a university degree, the
sky is really the limit in terms of what you want to achieve. So I urge you –
push yourselves, challenge yourselves to become wholesome individuals by
way of building successful careers, contributing back to Malaysia’s robust
economy with its demand of knowledge workers, and giving back to society in
the many ways available.
The holistic education and development of a person is really what sets the
best from the rest – and I can see great potential among you today. I expect
great things and I look forward to hearing more about your achievements in
years to come.
To CSU – I would like to applaud your commitment to Malaysia reflected in
simple things like making the effort to regularly hold graduations in Malaysia.
You are a good example of a quality, responsible provider.
Last but not least, congratulations to you, graduates of CSUs Class of 2007. I
wish you all the best.