Law lecturers Dr Alexandra McEwan and Dr Luke Price have secured $39 000 in Australian Government New Colombo Plan Mobility Program funding that will subsidise costs for 12 students to undertake a study tour to Vietnam under the University's CQUGlobal Outbound Program' and work on a policy and law research project on wildlife law and protection.
The 'Wildlife Law and Protection in Vietnam' tour' which will be conducted as part of the Legal Practicum unit' is in partnership with Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) and Vietnam National University School of Law
"The study tour component will enable students to understand first-hand the legal' cultural' and environmental context of wildlife protection and illegal trafficking. Students will use that understanding and integrate local knowledge from Australia and Vietnam to contribute to global wildlife protection efforts'" Dr McEwan said.
While the international study tour' scheduled for January 2023' is the centrepiece' this legal education initiative has online and in-country components with students to participate virtually' and in the field.
The five-week program is embedded into an undergraduate law program unit for which students will receive academic credit. The project will be developed in collaboration with ENV to address a real-world problem that aligns with ENV's objectives. ENV is an internationally recognised wildlife conservation non-governmental organisation based in Hanoi.
"Students will develop a range of research' law and policy' and professional communication skills in environmental management and governance'" Dr Price said.
Drs McEwan and Price agreed that after two years of border closures' it was good for the students to be able to travel overseas to experience different legal problems and solutions first-hand.
"It is also an opportunity for students to make a real difference to wildlife conservation. This NCP funding will make an enormous difference in making the study tour more affordable for our students'" Dr Price said.
Dr McEwan added that "how we protect and care for other species is an important question for all of us. Law students are our future policy and law makers. They also have a key role to play in community education related to wildlife and environmental protection law."
"Students will work online' focusing on Australian perspectives' and in person' experiencing the local context of Vietnam. This diversity of experience' combined with expert academic supervision' will ensure the quality and impact of this project's outputs: a report' seminar' and online engagement on the topic: "Local is global: how Australians can contribute to wildlife protection in Vietnam".
"This project will include students in social change efforts' preparing globally aware' socially engaged graduates for a career in law."
During the tour' students will learn about Vietnam's legal and constitutional history. They will also undertake an excursion to Cuc Phuong National Park' Ninh Binh to visit endangered species rescue centres' and meet with park rangers.
"The students' as contributors to project outcomes' will have vital first-hand experience of the realities and complexities of wildlife law and illegal wildlife trafficking. Alongside formal activities' the proposed tour timetable includes opportunities for students to make connections with Vietnamese law students around law and policy issues and to participate in social events and cultural exchange activities'" Dr McEwan said.
The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
The New Colombo Plan Mobility Program provides funding to Australian universities to support Australian undergraduate students' participation in study' internships' mentorships' practicums and research in 40 host locations across the Indo-Pacific region.