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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has used a speech at The Australian National University (ANU) to hail the success of the Australian Government's New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.
The ANU has won 15 projects worth $533,500 as part of the 2016 round of the plan. The projects will see 145 ANU students spend time studying at one of nine Indo-Pacific countries.
Speaking at the annual State of the Pacific 2015 conference on Monday, Ms Bishop said that she was delighted with the progress of the New Colombo Plan, which she referred to as a flagship program of the Australian Government.
"It's been an extraordinary success," Ms Bishop said.
"By the end of 2016 around 10,000 Australian students will have studied in the Indian Ocean Asia-Pacific region under the new Colombo Plan.
Ms Bishop said this included 653 students given the opportunity to study in the Pacific region, including countries such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
"Supporting peace, prosperity and stability in the Pacific is a primary area of focus for the Australian Government.
"As more students understand the benefits and great experience that they will get from living, working and studying in the Pacific those numbers should increase significantly," she said.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO said the program is a great opportunity for ANU students.
"The New Colombo Plan Mobility Program is another opportunity for our students to immerse themselves in other cultures as part of their studies," he said.
Under the program, students will participate in projects for periods of up to one semester, with 11 of the projects designed for short-term study of up to six weeks.
The projects will enable students to undertake a range of short and longer-term study across a variety of ANU disciplines including Arts and Social Sciences, Asia and Pacific Studies, Engineering and Information Technology and Sciences.