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Canberra Fellowships Program

The Canberra Fellowships Program (CFP) was established in 2018 to bring high-calibre emerging leaders from the Indo-Pacific region to Australia. Visitors are drawn from the ranks of politics, business, public service, the judiciary, journalism, academia, and other key sectors. This prestigious program focuses on providing tailored individual and small-group visits.

The CFP builds our region’s understanding of Australia’s national strengths, interests, and perspectives. By providing an unparalleled opportunity for delegates to develop ongoing relationships with Australian counterparts, it fosters long-term connections with Australia. Visit itineraries may include meetings with ministers and senior officials, business representatives, non-government organisations including academics and thinktanks, and other experts focused on the interests of delegates. The program also seeks to highlight the best of Australia, with visits including networking, learning, sporting, Indigenous and other cultural elements.

“One of the best professional weeks of my life.”
Delegate, Vietnam and Australia @50, May 2023

In 2023-24, the program will support eighteen delegations from twenty countries across the Indo-Pacific. 

In 2022-23, the CFP brought ten delegations to Australia, with visit themes including foreign, defence and security policy, climate and green energy transition, political leadership and governance, and gender equality.

Tonga – Strategic Policy


A group photo on the docks at Fleet Base East, a large ship in the background. In the centre are His Royal Highness, Crown Prince of Tonga Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala and Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, with delegates and members of the Royal Australian Navy.
His Royal Highness, Crown Prince of Tonga Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala, and other CFP delegates, tour Fleet Base East with Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, Commander Australian Fleet. Credit: DFAT.

The first Canberra Fellowships Program visit since COVID-19 took place in February 2023, with a six-person delegation led by His Royal Highness, Crown Prince of Tonga Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala. The delegation was welcomed in Sydney by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley. They held a range of meetings with senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Defence and other agencies, as well as the Australian National University. The program enabled participants to exchange views and make progress on addressing shared priorities including climate change, cybersecurity, health, and regional cooperation. The delegation toured HMAS Adelaide, which had deployed to Tonga in 2022 to assist with disaster relief following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami. His Royal Highness warmly thanked Commanding Officer Captain Troy Duggan RAN and Australia for their support at this challenging time. The delegation also toured HMAS Arunta and reunited with Commanding Officer Captain Jason McBain RAN, a former Australian Defence Adviser to Tonga and former classmate of His Royal Highness, as well as connecting with serving members of Tongan heritage.

Malaysia – Green Economy and Energy Transition Program


In March 2023, Australia hosted a visit by government officials and senior executives from top Malaysian companies, to learn about Australia's energy transition and to assess investment opportunities. Meetings with Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism, and Senator the Hon Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, highlighted Australia’s legislated clean energy targets and significant solar, wind, hydrogen, and storage capacity. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr explained how the ACT had achieved 100 per cent renewable electricity and noted current plans to procure EV infrastructure. The delegation also met with peak bodies and leading businesses including the Clean Energy Council, the Australian Hydrogen Council, and Fortescue Future Industries.

“The program itinerary was truly impressive and provided me with a unique opportunity to gain insights into the latest developments in the energy sector in Australia.” Delegate feedback.

Two women and three men stand on a green lawn, dressed in business suits. In front of them, three Indigenous performers pose with traditional instruments, wearing white ceremonial body paint.
Malaysian CFP delegates and members of the Wiradjuri Echoes at a Farewell Reception, Canberra. Credit: DFAT.

Indonesian Parliamentary Delegation Visit


Their Excellencies Governor General and Mrs Hurley with four Indonesian delegates, three female one male. Behind them are the flags of Australia and Indonesia.
Indonesian CFP delegates with their Excellencies General the Honourable David John Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Mrs Linda Hurley. Credit: DFAT.

A delegation of five young Indonesian parliamentarians visited Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra in March 2023. Meetings in Canberra enabled discussions on the bilateral relationship, parliamentary engagement, and respective policy and legislative challenges. The visit provided a foundation for deepening bilateral parliamentary ties and broader people-to-people links with Australia, with discussions focused on climate and energy policy. The program included meetings with Governor-General, His Excellency General the Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, Senate President the Hon Sue Lines, and Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Tim Watts MP, as well as representatives of Australian business, industry, universities, and diaspora groups.

India – Climate and Energy Policy


Four influential climate policy advisors visited Australia from 26 March to 2 April 2023, representing some of India’s top climate and energy think tanks. The delegation visited Cairns, Sydney and Canberra in a program focussed on climate change, climate policy, energy, and the economic transition. Meetings included Senator the Hon Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Discussions about First Nations perspectives on country, culture and history highlighted another aspect of Australia’s climate policy response.

Eighteen people, comprising the Indian delegation and university staff, standing in front of a building bearing a University of Sydney logo.
Indian CFP delegates meet with University of New South Wales faculty members. Credit: DFAT.

Japan – Future Leaders in Foreign Policy


Two Japanese men laying a white floral wreath, watched by host Mr Smythe. In the background are trees and a lake.
Mr Brendan Smyth and Japanese CFP delegates, Nara Peace Park, Canberra. Credit: DFAT.

In May 2023, two members of Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) visited Australia for meetings focused on Australia’s bilateral relationship with Japan and our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific. The comprehensive program included engagements with Assistant Foreign Minister the Hon Tim Watts, Victorian Government Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Tim Pallas, DFAT Secretary Jan Adams, Dr David Gillespie MP (Member for Lyne and Vice-Chair Australia-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group) and Mr David Smith MP (Member for Bean and Government Whip in the House of Representatives), the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, and business and industry leaders. Delegates also met Shadow Foreign Minister Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham and former Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison, and attended a wreath-laying ceremony and peace-bell striking at Nara Peace Park hosted by Mr Brendan Smyth, Commissioner of International Engagement ACT Government.

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