Priority Partner Countries

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North Asia (China, Japan and Republic of Korea)

Cooperation in education, training and research is a major component of the bilateral relationships between Australia and our North Asian partners. Australia has a long history of education collaboration with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, with a strong focus on policy dialogue, information sharing and partnerships to achieve mutual benefits. The education and research relationship between Australia and China span more than forty years with a strong focus on policy dialogue, information sharing and partnerships to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Australia and Japan have a long history of collaboration both in bilateral engagement and in student flows resulting in strong people-to-people links. A key pillar of the relationship between Australia and Korea is a proud history of high-quality collaboration in education and research. Our bilateral relationships with these countries provide important economic benefits, institutional linkages and underpins Australia’s strong people-to-people connections with these countries.

Key priorities

  • Strengthening government-to-government engagement in areas of mutual priority
  • Supporting Australian stakeholders operating in and with North Asian partners, including by providing information on each countries’ regulatory and policy environment
  • Strengthening partnerships to increase student mobility numbers in both directions and supporting the delivery of transnational education, and
  • Building on research linkages to increase research collaboration and awareness of Australia’s research sector.

National office contact

For enquiries relating to engagement with China,

For enquiries relating to engagement with Japan,

For enquiries relating to engagement with Korea,

Minister-Counsellor for China 

Ms Karen Welsh – Minister-Counsellor (Education and Research)

China - Resources

Counsellor for Japan and Korea

Ms Janine Pitt – Counsellor (Education and Research)

Japan - Resources

Republic of Korea - Resources


South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka)

Australia has long-standing education relationships with South Asian nations. These strong, mutually beneficial relationships are underpinned by high levels of student mobility, close government-to-government relationships, and a significant diaspora within Australia. Australia hosts large numbers of students from South Asia, particularly from India and Nepal. Australia also has a long history of education collaboration with South Asian nations, with a strong focus on policy dialogue, information sharing and creating partnerships to progress our mutual objectives. As our relationships in the region further strengthen and diversify, the presence of our Australian education providers in the region is growing, as is our collaboration in research and vocational education and training.

Key priorities

  • Engaging with governments in the region to share knowledge and best practices on education, training and research systems
  • Information sharing with partners in South Asia on quality assurance, online education and qualifications recognition
  • Developing opportunities for Australian education institutions to establish markets in the region, share information and provide technical expertise
  • Reducing barriers to research collaboration and promoting greater institutional relationships with South Asia, and
  • Increasing two-way student and academic mobility between Australia and the region.

National office contact

For enquiries relating to engagement with South Asia, email:

Minister-Counsellor for South Asia

Mr Mathew Johnston – Minister-Counsellor (Education and Research) 

Counsellor for South Asia

Mr Brett Galt-Smith – Counsellor (Education and Research)

South Asia - Resources


South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam)

South East Asia is a significant priority region for Australia with increasing importance due to geographical proximity, economic importance, increasing global influence and warm people-to-people links. In particular, the economic growth trajectory, growing young population, and identified need for quality education, training and research in both Indonesia and Vietnam make them key partner countries for Australia’s international education sector. Australia and Malaysia have a longstanding and prosperous education relationship extending back to Australia’s original Colombo Plan from the early 1950s, and our strong historical ties present numerous opportunities for Australian education providers looking to establish an in-country presence. Australia’s relationship with Thailand is mature and developed across mutual interest areas, with education, training and research a significant pillar of our cooperation. Australia engages with key partners in this region to foster deeper connections on policy alignment, create opportunities for trade in education services and enhance our reputation for education excellence.

Key priorities

  • Encouraging growth and reducing barriers to trade in education services to facilitate the provision of new and existing Australian higher education and vocational education and training courses onshore and offshore, including through ongoing policy advice, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora
  • Growing collaboration with key partners in higher education and vocational education and training cooperation (including in online and hybrid delivery) to help meet future workforce needs
  • Growing research cooperation and mobility by strengthening the bilateral research relationship, and
  • Encouraging qualification and course (including short courses and micro-credentials) recognition through multilateral fora (for example to progress the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework).

National office contact

For enquiries relating to engagement with South East Asia, email:

Counsellor for Indonesia

Mr Han Xiao Zhang – Counsellor (Education and Research)

Indonesia - Resources

Counsellor for Malaysia

Ms Fiona Morris – Counsellor (Education and Research)

Malaysia - Resources

Counsellor for Thailand and Vietnam

Ms Jen Bahen – Counsellor (Education and Research)

Thailand - Resources

Vietnam - Resources


Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina)

The department has two Education and Research Counsellors based in Latin America. The Education and Research Counsellor based in Mexico City has responsibility for Australia’s bilateral education, training and research relationships in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru and multilateral education engagement with the Pacific Alliance forum. The Education and Research Counsellor based in Brasilia has responsibility for Australia’s education, training and science relationships with Latin American countries outside of the Pacific Alliance, with a primary focus on Brazil and Argentina. Australia engages with our partner countries in this region to enhance Australia’s reputation for excellence in education and research, foster deeper connections on policy alignment, create opportunities for trade in education services, and increase research cooperation. An increasing number of international students from Latin America choose Australia as a study destination, particularly from Brazil and Colombia.

Key priorities

  • Identifying and facilitating industry-specific vocational education opportunities, systems and products to facilitate information sharing and the provision of technical expertise and help meet future workforce needs
  • Reducing barriers to research cooperation through targeted virtual workshops and treaty-level agreements
  • Engaging through multilateral fora such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Pacific Alliance, G20 and UNESCO to progress issues of mutual benefit, including on quality industry skills training standards and practices and qualifications recognition and frameworks
  • Deepening government-to-government cooperation, including through virtual engagement with a focus on qualifications and course (including short courses and micro-credentials)  recognition, higher education funding and English language teaching policy, and
  • Growing collaboration with key partners in the region on quality assurance, online education and research cooperation.

National office contact


Counsellor for Brazil

Ms Kassia Hare – Counsellor (Education and Research)

Brazil - Resources

Argentina - Resources

Counsellor for Mexico 

Ms Barbara Klompenhouwer – Counsellor (Education and Research)

Mexico - Resources

Colombia - Resources

Chile - Resources

Peru - Resources


Europe (including the OECD and ILO)

Australia’s relationship with Europe is incredibly valuable, with deep-rooted connections in education, research, trade and investment. The department engages primarily through the European Union (EU) and its Member States and is committed to being a strong and effective global partner working with the EU. The DESE Counsellor to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is based Paris.

Key priorities

  • Supporting greater collaboration and policy connections on a range of issues across the education landscape, including education and research
  • Representing Australia at OECD and ILO meeting discussions to promote Australia’s broader national interests and contribute to the evidence base for national policies
  • Facilitating policy dialogues in the region concerning education matters with the aim to share best practices and lessons learnt and explore collaboration opportunities, and
  • Monitoring key issues in the region that relate to education, research, qualification assessment and recognition.

National office contact

For international education engagement with European partners, email

For matters regarding the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), email

Counsellor contact

Ms Moya Drayton – Minister-Counsellor (Employment)

Europe - Resources