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Horizons – Leadership Program International Engagement

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in partnership with The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) are seeking applicants from regional and rural shire councils to participate in a Leadership Program designed to raise awareness about the benefits that may flow to regional Australia from international trade, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and international tourism. The program will consist of six interactive webinars designed to generate ideas on how Shire Councils may capitalise on these as part of their COVID-19 recovery efforts.

The workshops will run from 20 August to 10 December 2021 with the final presentation comprising short-listed video presentations from participants on their International Engagement proposal for their region. A mentorship platform will guide the learning process and inform the proposal. The program is open to early to mid-career applicants who are working in economic/growth roles within regional and rural Shire Councils.

Your application should include a short introduction answering the following four questions and responding to the selection criteria, as well as your CV/LinkedIn profile support material.

  • Introduce yourself and tell us why you do what you do?
  • Why this program and why now?
  • How have you explored and developed ways to promote your region so far?
  • How do you see your role as an advocate for your region?

Selection criteria

Successful applicants will have:

  • Strong motivation towards improving the community and economic development of their region / town.
  • Sound knowledge of economic development, preferably applicable to the local government context, with demonstrated ability to effectively apply this knowledge.
  • Demonstrated experience in being proactive about their region and engaging in its development.
  • Demonstrated experience in business / project management roles that require the ability to set goals and objectives to achieve short-term and long-term results.
  • The desire to improve their leadership skills in international trade and tourism for the well-being of their regional community.

Webinar series

Month Webinar Agenda
20 August Session 1 Introduction to the Program and Opportunities within the FrameworkLiz Ritchie, CEO, RAI. Speakers/Presenters
27 August Session 2 Understanding the International Markets and Trade - How to write a strategy (presented by Export Council of Australia)
17 September Session 3 Cultural Influence and Negotiations (presented by Asialink)
8 October Session 4 The Export Journey - Government Services to assist businesses within your region export (presented by Austrade and DFAT)
29October Session 5 How to prepare for International Tourists post COVID (Presented by Tourism Australia
10 December Session 6 Project presentations and winner announcement.

Applications are currently closed for the August 2021 Horizons Leadership Program. However, it is never too early to submit your expression of interest (EOI) for the next round which is scheduled to start in early 2022. Apply now and submit your application online.

If you would like to be put on our Horizons mailing list to be notified of the next program, please send your request to

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