UQ and Southern and Central Asia

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Collaboration in action

Empowering female leaders in Pakistan

In January 2017, UQ International Development (part of the Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education) led a Short Course Award for female police officers from the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial arms of the Pakistan Police Service. Delivered in Islamabad, the course focused on leadership, policing, and gender-based violence to address the technical and legal aspects of preventing and policing incidents, as well as the professional development principles that affect Awardees and their organisations. Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the course was delivered by international experts in gender-based violence, specifically within a Pakistani context. 

Teaching psychology in Maldives

Master of Counselling graduate Shehenaz Ismail (pictured) teaches neuropsychology, forensic psychology, cognitive psychology, and counselling psychology at the Maldives National University. Ms Ismail educated the first batch of Bachelor of Psychology students trained in the Maldives, and is now involved in the development of a Masters of Clinical Psychology program for the University – another first of its kind in the Maldives. The passionate psychologist is also heavily involved in cancer support research and counselling, having initiated and developed the first – and currently only – cancer support group in the Maldives for patients, survivors, and primary care takers.

Screen time linked to teen depression

Teenagers in Bangladesh who exercised less than one hour a day, and who had more than two hours of screen time per day, are more than twice as likely to report depressive symptoms than those who exercised for an hour a day. The research by School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences' Dr Asad Khan showed screen time among young people has increased considerably in recent years due to socio-economic transition and the advancement of technology. Combined with low physical activity, the 'double burden' presents a variety of health and psychosocial problems. Dr Khan’s team will now develop a culturally appropriate intervention to help Bangladeshi adolescents increase physical activity.

Capitalising on Pakistan's horticulture potential

Pakistan’s horticulture industry, one of the largest in the world, has huge growth potential in both domestic and export markets. However, the industry's performance is well below potential, and the marketing system is widely considered to be a key factor. In response, an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project is investigating domestic and foreign market potential, identifying problems, and formulating an appropriate marketing policy reforms program. UQ is collaborating on the project with 11 international institutions, including the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, the Karachi School of Business and Leadership, and Sindh Agricultural University.

Participants from the Australia Awards Women in Executive Leadership Development Program (Sri Lanka) Short Course

Female Sri Lankan leaders breaking the glass ceiling

UQ is supporting female Sri Lankan Government officials it combat under-representation in senior leadership positions through a customised Australia Awards Short Course delivered by UQ International Development. The Executive Leadership Development Program (Sri Lanka) Short Course is the third iteration of a specialised course in leadership offered to women from the South and West Asia region. The Short Course will build the capacity of emerging Sri Lankan female leaders to make informed choices about leadership styles and approaches. In doing so, it will provide participants with the skills needed to overcome the stereotypes that influence the interests and motivations of women to participate as leaders in the public service.

Student mobility

UQ International Development

UQ International Development (UQID), within the Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ), undertakes a wide range of development projects across a range of regions globally. South-West Asia is a key region of focus, with Pakistan being a priority country for development activity in the region. UQID works closely with Scope Global, the managing contractor for DFAT-funded development projects including Australia Awards short courses.

UQ Economics Sri Lanka Scholarship

The School of Economics has established a strong connection with Sri Lanka, attracting high achieving students, and we are proud of their contribution to the UQ student body. We also have strong connections with our local Brisbane Sri Lankan community who are keen to support Sri Lankan students with mentoring and internship opportunities.


UQ has more than 1,100 alumni from Southern and Central Asia, including:


UNICEF Pakistan Officer in Charge/Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting Specialist (Masters of Development Practice 2007)

Rotary Peace Fellow (Master of International Studies – Peace and Conflict Resolution 2016)

Action Against Hunger Agriculture Coordinator (Master of Rural Development 2016)

Head, Environmental Protection Agency (Masters of Environmental Management)