More than 100 international student leaders representing 39 countries attended the first Queensland International Student Leaders’ Forum in Brisbane last week.

The students, drawn from institutions across the state, were at the forum to discuss their experiences and learn the skills and information they need to become advocates for international education in their communities.

The forum also included an International Students Meet Parliament event, where students were able to network with Ministers, MPs, embassy staff and industry leaders.

Speakers at the two-day forum included former international student Gary Lee, who was named New Australian of the Year by the Australia Day Council in 2016. Now International Education Project Coordinator for the City of Melbourne, Gary encouraged the students to follow their dreams, and reminded them that ‘nothing is impossible’.

Rebecca Hall, Executive Director of TIQ’s International Education and Training Unit (IETU), said that the forum was of great benefit to both the students and those who met them.

‘The forum provided a platform to harness the student voice and to raise awareness among members of parliament about the positive impact that international students have on Queensland,’ she said.

‘The students who attended had an opportunity to network with other students, industry representatives, members of parliament and government officials, and to acquire the knowledge and tools they need to advocate for international education and training in their communities.’

Student feedback was extremely positive, with participants commenting on the contacts, insights and skills they gained.

The Queensland International Student Leaders’ Forum is a joint initiative of the Queensland International Student Advisory Panel, the Council of International Students Australia (CISA), and IETU.

CISA National Treasurer Vincent Tawiah said the forum was an opportunity to connect with Queensland students and other organisations.

‘Not only did the forum give us the chance to market CISA, it also demonstrated our partnership with government in enhancing the international student experience.

‘The positive feedback from the participants indicates how Queensland is positioning itself as a destination for international students.’

The forum was held in Brisbane on 26–27 October.

IETU is leading delivery of the Queensland Government’s $25.3 million International Education and Training Strategy.