UQ and Southern and Central Asia

Showcase country

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

Collaboration in action

"We want to call Australia home"

Eight years after being forced to flee war-torn Afghanistan and the Taliban, a first-year physiotherapy student has been awarded UQ’s inaugural Refugee and Humanitarian Scholarship. Omid Anwary was just 21 years old and living in Takhar Province in northern Afghanistan, where violent clashes between government forces and Taliban fighters were routine. The young man made the difficult decision to leave his homeland and his family after Taliban rebels threatened his life. It was his year in detention, highlighting the importance of access to adequate care, that inspired his decision to pursue a career in the health sciences. He met and married Kaitlin four years ago, and they now have two sons. The young family is settled in Brisbane after moving up from Melbourne to study at UQ. 

Championing Change: Australian Government supports Women in Executive Leadership in Bhutan

UQ International Development delivered the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded Australia Awards Women in Executive Leadership Development Short Course (Bhutan) between June 2020 and May 2021The Short Course aimed to support the efforts of the Royal Government of Bhutan’s Royal Civil Service Commission to develop the leadership capabilities of emerging and existing female leaders, and selected male ‘Champions of Change’ within the Bhutanese civil service. Listen to how the short course changed the professional and personal lives of civil servant participants, and their communities (video). 



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.

Creating smallholders’ wealth through efficient credit systems in Pakistan

UQ researchers are identifying improvements to agricultural credit systems to increase smallholders’ productivity and wealth in Pakistan. Pakistan’s agriculture sector accounts for more than 20% of the country’s GDP and 40% of jobs. Despite this, many smallholders in rural Pakistan live in poverty. With limited access to innovative farming techniques and equipment, many are ill-equipped to take advantage of emerging food markets in Asia. UQ School of Business Dr Shabbir Ahmad (pictured centre) is aiming to improve the lives of these smallholders by refining agricultural credit schemes currently offered by financial institutions. 

Student mobility

UQ International Development

International Development (ID) 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. ID 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, International Alumnus of the Year 2017)

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)