Wellington, June 26, 2022
The great value of personal connections was reinforced as I accompanied Education Minister Chris Hipkins to the USA, Brazil, and Chile, on his first official visit since the start of the pandemic.
Our purpose was to promote New Zealand’s world-class education and share the message that New Zealand is open again to international students. Travelling with the Minister opened many doors for us and led to useful media coverage in all three partner countries.
Association of International Educators
In Denver, USA, Minister Hipkins spoke at the plenary session to open the National Association of Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA) (popularly known as the Association of International Educators, to launch its international education strategy, and Education New Zealand (ENZ) launched the sector’s ‘I AM NEW’ global marketing campaign.
We met with senior officials to reaffirm New Zealand’s partnership commitment to the Gilman Scholarships, which enable students of limited financial means to study abroad. We also met with NZ EdTech companies, including ImmerseMe, which uses virtual reality to teach languages. The company signed a seven-year partnership agreement with schools in the area during our visit.
Golden Jubilee with Chile
The next stage of the trip was Brazil. In São Paulo we explored the possibility of English language study in New Zealand for school students with government Ministers; met with the São Paulo Research Foundation to support the growing NZ- São Paulo research engagement; and met with key education stakeholders from three São Paulo Universities: USP, UNESP and UNICAMP.
New Zealand is celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations with Chile this year, and our visit to Santiago included meeting with Chile’s Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation, and with Kiwi alumni.
We signed two separate Education Cooperation Agreements – with Chile’s Minister of Education, and with the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities. We also visited Universidad Diego Portales, which has a long history of collaboration with NZ EdTech company, ADInstruments, whose technology has been implemented as part of the university’s educational model.
We were warmly received everywhere, and there was a high level of interest in New Zealand. It was great to reconnect with Kiwis offshore, and with alumni, agents and others who have a genuine interest in building relationships with New Zealand – and to be able to support their efforts in person at a wide range of events.
In other news, the recipients of the recent round of Prime Minister’s Scholarships to Asia and to Latin America are close to being finalised. That round of scholarships, which was solely open for group applications, will soon be followed by the opening of the second round of awards, this time focused solely on individual applicants. Again, we will be seeking to encourage applicants from a wide range of backgrounds particularly Māori and Pasifika applicants. In anticipation of the next round, we encourage everyone to check out the alumni stories and other useful information on our scholarships website here.
Grant McPherson is Chief Executive of Education New Zealand based in Wellington.