MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
AUSTRALIA

D12

28 July 1999

Singapore And Australia Announce Young Ambassadors Program

Singapore and Australia have announced plans for the launch of an exchange program of "Young Ambassadors" to promote stronger business and professional ties between the two countries.

The announcement was made during a meeting between Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Professor S Jayakumar and Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer on 28 July 1999. Mr Downer is visiting Singapore to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference.

The Minsters recalled that interest in a Young Ambassadors exchange program had been agreed in principle during the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee meeting held in Singapore in February. Professor Jayakumar and Mr Downer welcomed the agreement now to proceed with the program. They announced that the coordinating agencies for the program will be the Singapore International Foundation and Australia's Asialink Centre, which is attached to the University of Melbourne.

Professor Jayakumar said that the Young Ambassadors Program is a very good initiative. It would give both young Singaporean and Australian professionals the opportunity to experience a new work environment, network and exchange ideas. He was pleased that the program had progressed so expeditiously after it was adopted at the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee meeting. The program would widen the scope of economic co-operation and expand opportunities for more people-to people interactions. This would add further momentum to the New Partnership initiated between Singapore and Australia in January 1996.

Mr Downer said the Young Ambassadors Program should add a new dimension to the existing, excellent bilateral relationship. The program would enable young Australian professionals, entrepreneurs and others in business to gain experience with counterparts in Singapore, and for reciprocal experience to be gained by similar Singaporeans in Australia. Mr Downer said the opportunities provided by the program for networks to develop and for close professional interaction at early stages in business careers should promote further strategic trade and investment linkages between Australia and Singapore. He was pleased that the Australian members of the Singapore Australia Business Alliance Forum (SABAF) had given their strong support to the program.
Both sides are expected to identify opportunities for young Australians and Singaporeans to live and work in each other's country for several months. They will be able to learn about each other's country and their own profession.

The program is expected to start next year.

Media Inquiries: Tony Melville 02 6261 1555