Skip to Content

About AEF

About Us banner

Youth Initiatives

Through our youth-based programs we connected with over 600 participants across regional and metropolitan Australia and Asia.

“In a world where technology will replace routine tasks, education needs to equip young people with the capacity to think divergently and creatively. To think inventively, learners  need to be able to synthesise from different contexts and contents.” Sophie Fenton, Head of Education Design, Asia Education Foundation

Highlights from our youth series included:

Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum

  • Glenunga International High School, Adelaide
    Bringing together 84 students from nine different schools across South Australia and Queensland, students debated issues of digital trade, skilled migration and infrastructure development from the perspective of the 10 ASEAN Member states and Australia. With a keynote address from the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Simon Birmingham and the opportunity to talk with the ASEAN Ambassadors and Members of the Australia-ASEAN Council Board, participants were given an immersive learning experience in a real-world context. Read more here.

“Meeting the Secretary Ambassador of Indonesia and talking with a South Australian senator is a memory I won’t forget. The exercises taught me much about public speaking and international affairs. I am eagerly awaiting an opportunity to attend next year” - Booker Deane-Freeman, GIHS Student

2019 Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum in South Australia

Image: 2019 Delegates of the Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum on Trade with Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, ASEAN Ambassadors to Australia and the Australia-ASEAN Council at Glenunga International high school in South Australia. 
  • Christian College Senior School Campus, Geelong
    With students from regional Victoria, this forum focused on trade in agricultural goods and services. Delegates considered how ASEAN member states contribute and impact regional trade through the lenses of Infrastructure Development, Primary Industries Trade and Goods & Services Industries Trade. Working alongside industry experts’ students explored the opportunities and challenges posed by transport, telecommunications and urban planning as they relate to the agricultural sector.

“To thrive in a small world, learners need to have an understanding of how others live in diverse cultures and traditions, and how others think. Intercultural learning exposes learners to different contexts and perspectives, enabling them to recognise, understand and interpret diversity and to think ethically and empathetically.” - Emeline Gillingham, Project Officer, Asia Education Foundation

  • Sydney Opera House, Sydney 
    Under the Australian Governments, Australia now ASEAN, Initiative the first National Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum, brought together students from schools across Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand to debate the issues of Digital Connectivity. Experts from Asialink, Deloitte and DFAT guided the cohort in their debate. Through negotiation and consensus-building, delegates formed a set of recommendations. Read more here.

"This initiative is connecting future innovators, leaders and social change-makers across Southeast Asia. It is connecting you with one another as you forge a new generation of leaders who will help to shape peace and prosperity in our region." Elena Rose, Director, ASEAN & Regional Programs, US & Indo-Pacific Division, DFAT 

National Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum

Image: 2019 Delegates of the first National Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum on Digital Connectivity at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney. 

STEMing From Asia Youth Forum

Delivered at the Queensland Museum, as part of the Go Global Student programs funded by the Queensland Department of Education, the Forum brought together over 50 students from six STEM specialist State Government schools across Brisbane. 

STEMing from Asia is AEF’s first STEM-based youth program designed for secondary school students, which enables students to deepen their STEM understanding in an intercultural context. Youth led, this learning experience brought students together to explore examples of technological and infrastructural advances from China, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Connecting their existing with new knowledge of STEM in order to propose innovative solutions to pressing contemporary challenges, students at this forum used the AEF design thinking model, worked collaboratively to addresses emerging societal needs such as green technology, medical technology, gaming, engineering and social media platforms. Inspired by the work of nations in Asia, many students demonstrated their capacity to think ethically and work collaboratively to design from perspectives of others. Teachers feedback highlighted the social aspect of the day as ‘a very powerful source of learning, an important part of a development perspective for their students.’

Global Goals Youth Forums

  • Edge Hill State School, Queensland
    Delivered as part of a series supported by the Queensland Government Department of Education, the inaugural Global Goals Primary Forum was hosted in far North Queensland. This new student-centred, full-day program was designed to deepen participants understanding of local and global issues and develop their global competence. Students focused on a small interconnected set of goals relevant to the challenge at hand, namely Goal 3, 9-12. Enabling students to apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems in real world situations is an essential step in building their capabilities to be active and informed global citizens. Read more here.
  • Canterbury Primary School, Melbourne
    With over 100 Primary School students from metropolitan and regional Melbourne, participants were led through an exploration of global issues to propose innovative solutions. Using the AEF design thinking model, students focused on how to create public spaces that promote inclusivity for our culturally diverse communities. Working collaboratively in teams of six to design a sustainable public space, final products reflected intercultural awareness.

    In an Australian first, AEF partnered with Playground Ideas to bring their latest venture, Nudel Kart, to Primary Schools. The karts allowed for a deep dive into the links between play and innovation. With exclusive access to a number of the Nudel Kart kits, students prototyped their own ideas for how these types of resources could invent and reinvent and benefit their peers across the country. Read more here.
2019 Global Goals Primary Forum, Canterbury

Image: 2019 Delegates of the Global Goals Primary Forum Forum with parts of the mini Nudel Kart at Canterbury Primary School in Melbourne.

“This initiative will help build students’ foundation knowledge and understanding of global issues. Our young Australians will be key to solving the big challenges of our future, so we want to give them the opportunity to get involved in this space in their local and global community from an early age.” - Hamish Curry, Executive Director, Asia Education Foundation

We also explored pathways to drive connection and discourse between in-country experts and young Australians through our tailored events in 2019.

Engaging ASEAN Through Education

Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, Ms Jane Duke, visited Hurlstone Agricultural High School, one of the first Australian schools to be partnered with Brunei Darussalam under the Australia-ASEAN BRIDGE School Partnerships Program. This event brought together school leaders, teachers and students from schools in regional Sydney who are engaging with ASEAN through education-based programs.

While visiting the NSW school, Ambassador Duke hosted a panel discussion speaking with students from; Hurlstone Agricultural High School, Marrickville Public School, Bateman’s Bay High School, Hamilton Public School, Hunter Sports High School and Cranbrook School about their engagement with ASEAN nations through school programs, future international career paths and how education is pivotal in Australia’s relationship with our region. Read more here.

Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, Ms Jane Duke

Image: Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, Ms Jane Duke hosting a panel discussion at Hurlstone Agricultural School in Sydney.

Indonesian Language Learning Ambassadors

In 2019, we once again partnered with Australia Awards Indonesia to deliver the Indonesian Language Learning Ambassadors (ILLA) Program. Creating over 50 partnerships, we linked leading Australia Awards recipients studying at 20 top-tier Australian universities with Australian schools and teachers. The initiative focused on providing greater authenticity and engagement in the learning of Bahasa Indonesian in Primary and Secondary schools. With partnerships heading into 2020, there have been over 26 interactions through in-school and online communications.

Follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook with #ILLA2019. 

Australia Awards 2019 Partnership

Image: Giving context to their language learning classes, in Term 4 Yankalilla Area School in South Australia invited Indonesian Language Learning Ambassador, Ibu Nilam Pamularsih from The University of Adelaide to visit their college.

To view the full event albums, please click on the above images. 


In 2019, a selection of our programs were supported by the Australian Government.

  • The National ASEAN-Australia Youth Forum in NSW was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australia Now ASEAN initiative. 
  • The Engaging Students with the World series was funded by the Queensland Department of Education.
  • The Global Goals Youth Forum in SA was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.




back to top