In an historic event, Southern Cross University hosted 22 Japanese officials and University representatives on the Gold Coast as part of a Saitama Prefectural Government visit to Queensland recognising 35 years of the sister-state relationship.
For many of the Japanese government delegates, it was their first visit to Australia since their appointment following the Saitama gubernatorial election in August.
The VIP delegates and Southern Cross University executive signed an agreement, doubling the number of Saitama Scholarships available to students from Saitama to study at Southern Cross University, and aiming to increase Japanese full-degree students to the University’s campuses along Australia’s East Coast.
The Gold Coast and Northern NSW have long been a tourism hotspot for Japanese holidaymakers, but now a second-wave of Japanese travellers are making their mark – university students.
Now in its 25th year, Southern Cross University has a long and storied history with the Land of the Rising Sun, from the founding of the Japan-Australia Centre and museum at the University’s Lismore campus in 2000, research connections and regular engineering study tours of Japan, and the two-decade connection with the University’s Isabella Acappella choir touring Japan annually.
Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker introduced the University’s ambitious Japan Strategy in early 2018. Since then Professor Shoemaker has visited Japan twice to meet with university leaders in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.
“We are thrilled to be hosting this important delegation at our Gold Coast campus – Southern Cross shares a strong, historical bond with Japan which we look forward to strengthening even further,” Professor Shoemaker said.
“It comes at a time we are sending more of our students, researchers and graduates to represent our University in Japan through study abroad and other programs, while incoming enrolments from Japan have increased at all our campuses.”
Director of Special Projects Professor Peter Wilson said Southern Cross University delegates had recently returned from the Australia-Japan Business Co-operation Committee conference in Osaka and the Japan Association of National Universities (JANU) – Universities Australia (UA) joint symposium where they represented Universities Australia as national ambassadors.
“We have very strong partnerships with several universities in Japan and a very comprehensive and bold Japan strategy that will be even further strengthened with this visit from Saitama delegates,” said Professor Wilson, who has previously lived and worked in education leadership in Japan.
“Queensland has a 35-year sister-state agreement with the prefecture of Saitama and we are focusing on the region and want to grow full degree seeking students from Japan.”
The full Japanese delegation of 80 people will spend three days in Queensland, including meeting with the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey, visiting Town Hall and local sporting matches.
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