13 September 2011

In the first program of its kind in Queensland, two University of Queensland (UQ) students will travel to Canada as part of the Queensland Indigenous Student Ambassadors (QISA) program.

The scholarship, which is 50 percent funded by Queensland Government Education and Training International (QETI), will see Baringa Kukoyi and Joshua Preece embark on a journey of a lifetime next month.

The duo are a group of nine Indigenous Queensland university students undertaking the tour, which will see them travelling to British Columbia, Canada for two weeks representing the Queensland Indigenous community.

Baringa Kukoyi said that as an Indigenous student she feels strongly that education is of the utmost importance to the advancement of our society.

“My major in Economics is International Trade and Finance as I have a passion for learning about other countries.”

“To be given the opportunity to be involved in this program that has a focus on promoting higher education within Queensland is very exciting. I’m looking forward to being an Ambassador for the Queensland Indigenous community,” Ms Kukoyi said.

Fellow Ambassador, Joshua Preece, said he was thrilled when he found out he had been selected to represent the Queensland Indigenous community.

“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS) Unit and its staff have given me a great deal of support and encouragement since I began my studies at UQ. Through my participation in the inaugural Indigenous Student Ambassador Program, I look forward to proudly representing the Indigenous community, and UQ,” Mr Preece said.

Acting Director of the Office of Undergraduate Education Dr Jessica Gallagher said this initiative represented a unique opportunity that would give the students a greater understanding of life outside of the University.

“We believe this program will be a positive experience for our students, giving them exposure to another university and providing them with the opportunity to learn about the Indigenous history and culture of another country,” Dr Gallagher said.

“The program demonstrates Queensland’s focus on education as an essential tool in improving the quality of life and outcomes for individuals – a commitment shared by UQ.”

Dr Gallagher hoped our ambassadors would be viewed as leaders of the indigenous student community at UQ.

An induction will be held in Brisbane on Wednesday the 21st of September, before the ambassadors leave Australia on the 23rd of September.

Both students said they are very thankful to those responsible for making this fantastic opportunity possible.

Media: Dr. Jessica Gallagher, Acting Director, Office of Undergraduate Education 3346 0508, j.gallagher@uq.edu.au and Judith Dale, Senior Officer, Student Relations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit 3346 9181, j.dale@uq.edu.au