UQ and Southern and Central Asia

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UQ's valued relationship with India has been strengthened by decades of academic and industry partnerships, student mobility, and commercialisation opportunities.

Collaboration in action

Combating migrant smuggling in Pakistan

Law Professor Andreas Schloenhardt worked closely with Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency to develop Pakistan’s laws against smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons. Pakistan is a major source, transit point and destination for refugees and labour migrants and also experiences domestic trafficking. “The anti-smuggling and trafficking laws seeks to criminalise those who profit from these crimes, promote better cooperation, and better protect victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants.” Professor Schloenhardt said. “Pakistan is a young and proud nation and has a history of foreign countries meddling in its internal affairs, yet there was a genuine willingness to cooperate with international organisations and myself, as their consultant.”

Working together to mitigate disasters in Nepal

In 2019, 21 emerging leaders from Nepal participated in the 100th Australia Awards South and West Asia Short Course in Inclusive Governance for Effective Disaster Risk Reduction (Nepal) delivered by UQ’s International Development (UQID). The course focused on building capacity across the different levels of Government by exploring a variety of available approaches to the development of mechanisms for participatory disaster governance. The course involved a two-week component in Australia and a four-day component in Nepal (Kathmandu and Chitwan). In Australia participants visited many first responder organisations and coordination services such the Queensland Reconstruction Authority in Brisbane and the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, Canberra.

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' Associate Professor 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.

Female Sri Lankan leaders break the glass ceiling

UQ is supporting female Sri Lankan Government officials to 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) 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). Currently in UK on a Fulbright.

Economic Resilience consultant with expertise in the field of Food Security and Livelihoods;
Former Action Against Hunger Agriculture Coordinator (Master of Rural Development 2016)

Head, Environmental Protection Agency (Masters of Environmental Management 2007)