Melbourne: In a move set to further strengthen education ties with India, Australian government on Thursday appointed former cricketer Adam Gilchrist as nation's inaugural ambassador to the region on education.
The announcment was made by the Minister for Education and Training Christopher Pyne prior to attending the Annual Ministerial Dialogue and third Australia-India Education Council meeting in New Delhi on August 24.
"I am delighted to announce Adam Gilchrist as the first Australia-India Education Ambassador," Pyne said.
"Adam will play an important part in supporting the growth in the strong bilateral education relationship between Australia and India, to help ensure that Australia continues to be seen as a high quality provider of education.
"Consistent with the pillars of the Draft National Strategy for International Education, the Australian Government is committed to reaching out to the world," he said.
"I see Adam's appointment as helping to build on this, as he will help grow our already strong education partnership with India and raise Australia's profile and reputation.
"The Indian people recognise Adam as one of cricket's greats, and the values he espouses both on and off the field ' excellence and integrity ' are precisely those with which Australia aligns its reputation for high-quality education, training and research," Pyne added.
Gilchrist said he was excited about his new role and welcomed the challenge ahead of him. "I am honoured to have been chosen to perform this important role in helping strengthen the education ties between our two countries," Gilchrist said. "For the past seven years in my capacity as an ambassador at one of Australia's best research universities I have seen first-hand the vital role education plays in the development of modern India.
"Having spent so much of my cricketing career playing in India, I have gotten to understand the important bond Australia has with India. Being Australia's first education ambassador to India will give me the opportunity to put so much back into that relationship through the all-important focus of learning and training," he said.
Gilchrist will join Minister Pyne in New Delhi next week to help showcase the quality of Australia's education systems.