March 20, 2014
Student exchange key to US Australia alliance
The University of Wollongong (UOW) is ideally placed to help drive the transformation of the Illawarra from heavy manufacturing to high-tech, knowledge-based industries, the United States Consul General Hugo Llorens said on a recent visit to the region.
Mr Llorens met with local government, Illawarra business leaders and toured UOW as part of his first visit to the area after taking up his post as Consul General.
The Consul General’s role is to coordinate all functions of the US Government in the region, maintain contact with senior Australian officials, both state and federal as well as keeping the Embassy and Washington informed of important political, economic and other developments affecting US interests.
Mr Llorens said he recognised the Illawarra region was going through a period of change and transition but was impressed by the number of innovative companies driving change through high-tech industries and in the IT sector.
He said UOW was an important part of creating new industries and jobs.
“This is a quality university and it’s clear it’s a huge part of this community,” Mr Llorens said.
“It is having an impact across the board particularly the you have in engineering and IT and the links with the US and initiatives with American universities across the board.
“This is a quality, world-class university and I think this institution is going to serve the region for the long term.”
Mr Llorens said that a critical part of strengthening the US-Australia relationship was the links between its education institutions and through student exchange.
UOW has 66 partner institutions in the US with a total of 162 students coming here to study. There are 34 UOW students headed to the US this semester.
“I’m just coming out of Afghanistan and I’ve visited Australian troops in Uruzgan Province but we need to recognise the future relationship is going to be about our young people they’re going to define the relationship in the next 20 to 40 years.
“It’s important to get young Americans to Australia and see the reality of this country and learn from Australia and it’s also good to get Australian students to the US and see the reality and so we don’t have this caricature, Hollywood version of our countries.
“Anything we can do to get people from our countries to get to know each other better will be to the good of the relationship between our two countries.
Mr Llorens met with the University’s Senior Executive and spoke with several US students who are currently studying at UOW.
Student James Brodell, at UOW from Colgate University, New York, said the Consul General provided fascinating insights into international diplomacy and what it meant to be an international citizen.
“He emphasized the importance of experience abroad, and the positive impacts it can have both personally and professionally,” James said.
“I was surprised at the breadth of responsibilities an international diplomat has, and their importance in cultivating mutually beneficial relationships between two countries.”
More: See where studying abroad with UOW can take you on this Destination Map.