The ASEAN Australian Alumni 2024 Connectivity Roundtable

24 – 26 March 2024

Event Overview:

Excitement permeates the atmosphere as delegates from 11 nations convene in Bangkok, Thailand for the inaugural ASEAN Australia Alumni Connectivity Roundtable, graciously hosted by the Australian Alumni Association Thailand. This prestigious event serves as a platform for engagement and collaboration, bringing together representatives from Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Timor-Leste, showcasing the rich diversity of the ASEAN region.

The evening prior to the meeting was marked by a splendid dinner reception, setting a conducive tone for the ensuing discussions and collaborations. The official proceedings commence at the Hyatt Regency, with Cambodia notably assembling all its committees, with a total of 7 representatives, including delegates from the participating Australian Embassies in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Anticipation runs high as participants eagerly prepare to capitalise on this gathering to foster meaningful engagement and exchange of ideas.

In parallel, scholarships have emerged as a primary focal point, drawing keen interest from ASEAN counterparts as a commendable initiative. This aligns seamlessly with the key focus of the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, which committed $3 million to promoting greater understanding and cooperation among ASEAN countries through youth exchange programs and educational scholarships. These initiatives serve to enhance people-to-people connectivity and cultural exchange across ASEAN.

Plans are currently underway to facilitate sharing and collaboration, aimed at fostering mutual learning and advancement in education across the region. Such endeavours are earmarked as potential priorities for the forthcoming ASEAN meeting, reflecting a collective commitment to nurturing talent and fostering cross-cultural understanding within the ASEAN-Australian community.


The working groups addressed key areas of focus aligning with the recent 2024 ASEAN Australia Special Summit held in Melbourne. These were considered with factors of unique challenges and opportunities faced by each locality.

  1. Minority Community (People-to-People Connectivity): The initiatives aimed at supporting minority communities are developed and implemented effectively to promote social cohesion and equity within the ASEAN-Australian region. This includes access to education which could be tailored to meet the unique cultural and linguistic needs of minority students.
  2. Leadership (Strategic Partnerships & Leadership): Developing leadership capabilities and fostering collaboration among leaders from ASEAN and Australia contributes to the strategic partnerships and regional stability. This may take forms such as forums to facilitate knowledge exchange, mentorship, and capacity building among emerging leaders.
  3. Rural/Urban Areas: Addressing disparities between rural and urban areas is crucial for sustainable development and inclusive growth, in line with the summit’s focus on trade and economic cooperation. The KPI would involve implementing projects or policies that promote balanced regional development, improve infrastructure, and enhance access to essential services in rural areas.
  4. Education & Capacity Building (Capacity Building & Digital Transformation): Investing in education and capacity building supports human capital development and digital transformation. This can be achieved from education, training, and scholarship programs in enhancing skills, fostering innovation, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities across ASEAN and Australia, thereby contributing to regional development and prosperity.
  5. Climate Change & Sustainability: This is to encourage and promote initiatives related to climate change mitigation and sustainability. Moreover, Australia pledged $20 million over five years to support renewable energy projects and climate resilience efforts in ASEAN countries programs or forums that facilitate knowledge exchange, mentorship, and capacity building among emerging leaders to drive positive change in the region. This would further enhance ASEAN-Australian region’s resilience to climate-related disasters.

The region has also been encouraged to explore strategies for mobilising resources and engaging stakeholders to support initiatives related to the identified key areas of focus. This entails fundraising efforts and active stakeholder engagement to support projects or programs aimed at addressing regional priorities and strengthening ties between ASEAN and Australia.


Overall, the ASEAN Australian Alumni 2024 Connectivity Roundtable provided a platform for constructive dialogue and collaboration on key regional priorities, with a focus on advancing mutual interests and addressing common challenges for the prosperity and well-being of the ASEAN-Australian region.

Her Excellency Ms Danielle Heinecke, the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia reaffirmed unwavering support for the MAAC’s pivotal role in the ASEAN region, heralding exciting prospects for strengthened ties and enriching experiences within the alumni community. As we embark on this journey of collaboration and innovation, we embrace the exciting times ahead, united in our commitment to fostering connections and driving positive change across the region.