The opening session

Friday 26 November 3pm IST / 8.30pm AEDT

The global pandemic changed how we think about the future of work. But will our work environments and people need to adapt further to succeed in this new world of work?

Join expert panellists from across academia, the private sector and government, as they unpack the future of work in India and Australia and discuss higher education’s role in helping students prepare for a rapidly evolving future. This opening keynote session will feature leading voices from the University of Melbourne, the Australia India Institute, India’s Central Board of Secondary Education, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Australian and Victoria Governments.

Join the conversation, as we consider how to build a future-proof and sustainable workforce in India and Australia.

Session speakers

Professor Michael Wesley

Professor Michael Wesley is Deputy Vice-Chancellor International at the University of Melbourne, responsible for leading the University's international engagement. Professor Wesley has extensive experience in international strategy and relations and has worked in higher education, government, and the private sector. His research focuses on Australian foreign policy, Asia’s international relations and strategic affairs, and the politics of state-building interventions. His most recent book is Restless Continent: Wealth, Rivalry and Asia's New Geopolitics.

Previously, Professor Wesley was Professor of International Affairs and Dean of the College of Asia & the Pacific at the Australian National University (ANU), Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU, the Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Director of the Griffith Asia Institute at Griffith University, and Assistant Director-General for Transnational Issues at the Office of National Assessments. He has a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Mr Ian D.G. Biggs - Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to India

Mr Biggs was appointed as Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to India in July 2021. He is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and had earlier served as Australia’s Ambassador to Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Chargé d' Affaires in Baghdad.

Mr Biggs had also served as the Head of Secretariat, International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (2008-10) and was on secondment as Special Assistant to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (2002-04).

Mr Biggs has an extensive experience within the Department and in the Office of National Assessments and had earlier overseas postings to Austria, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Mr Biggs holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with double Honours from the University of Sydney and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the Australian National University.

Ms Michelle Wade - Commissioner to South Asia, State Government of Victoria, Australia

Michelle Wade is a highly experienced international trade official and has held senior diplomatic postings for the Australian government in Italy, Malaysia and Spain.

Michelle has managed Victorian government operations and the promotion of trade and investment across South Asia since September 2017.  Her territory includes four of Victoria’s top ten education markets being India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan and is responsible for the in-market delivery of Victoria’s India Strategy.  During Covid-19, Michelle managed the Victorian government’s $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund, the largest support in Australia for students, which provided welfare payments and support to over 30,000 international students.

Michelle’s early career was in classical music management with Sydney Symphony and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and she has also been on the board of Musica Viva Australia, Australia's leading provider of music education in schools.

Michelle has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland and Postgraduate qualifications in Applied Law (UQ) and Business Communications (QUT) and speaks Spanish and Italian.

The Hon Lisa Singh – Director and CEO (Australia India Institute)

Lisa Singh is a former Australian Senator and was the first woman of South Asian heritage to be elected to the Australian Parliament. She is also a former Tasmanian Member of Parliament and was a Minister in the Tasmanian Government. She is Deputy Chair of the Australian Government’s Australia-India Council and an advisory committee member of the University of Melbourne’s Asialink and the University of New South Wales’ Australian Human Rights Institute. In 2014 she was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India for building friendly Australia-India relations, the highest civilian honour for a person of Indian origin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in human geography from the University of Tasmania and a Master of International Relations from Macquarie University.

Ms. Megan Dench

Meg (she/her) is passionate about connecting people to opportunity; current superpowers are focused on managing the Careers & Employability Service at the University of Melbourne. To lead a team dedicated to improving student experience and innovating career development, Meg draws on skills and experience gathered from leadership roles at University of Melbourne, Melbourne Writers Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival and Malthouse Theatre, as well as various voluntary not-for-profit governance and development positions.

Mr Aditya Gupta 

Aditya Gupta is the CEO of India Didactics Association, an exclusive pan India association in the country, dedicated to the education & skills domain, involving all stakeholders and unifying the entire sector. With his experience and expertise in the Education domain over the last 16 years, Aditya has been single-handedly instrumental in establishing the India Didactics Association, which is today a national trade association for Education in India and represents the country in the global arena. He is on the advisory panel of various international associations and councils and works actively with the USA,  UK,  Switzerland,  Germany,  Australia, etc.

Aditya has received various international acclaims including the prestigious Mahatma  Gandhi Leadership Award at the House of Commons, London for contribution in Education, on the 150 years celebration of Mahatma Gandhi. He is also the recipient of the 1stGlobal Ambassador of Education conferred by the Didacta Association, Germany. He has also worked with various international bodies and ministries and helped in forming alliances & partnerships with the industry partners in the country.

Dr. Biswajit Saha - Director (Trainings & Skill Education) CBSE, New Delhi.

Dr Saha Manages the works of Skill curriculum design, development of Student resource books & Training Manuals and Monitors the execution of various Teachers Training Programmes by 16 CBSE-Centre of Excellences.

Prior to joining CBSE in 2011, Dr Saha was a faculty member & HOD (CSE) at Government Engineering College, Agartala served as OSD (Technical Education), Government of Tripura and worked with Tripura Central University & NIC, Govt. of India in various capacities.

Dr Saha handled the execution of various development projects of World Bank, AICTE, UGC and MeitY.  He had actively participated in the drafting of NVEQF, NSQF notified by MHRD & MSDE in 2012 & 2013 respectively. He drives the promotion of future skills in schools with a strong industry association and oversees the Digital Education movement under VidyaDaan @ DIKSHA.

Dr Saha is a member of various National & International Committees constituted by AICTE, State Higher Education Council, DGT, NCTE, MoE, MSDE etc.

Mr. G V Selvam - Co-Chairman, CII, SR Education & Skills Sub-Committee & Vice President, Vellore Institute of Technology

Mr.G.V. Selvam, is the Vice-Chairman of Vellore Engineering College and Co-Chairman, CII SR Education, Skills & Job Creation Sub Committee. Since day one his vision has been to drive systemic change in education and close the opportunity gap by implementing great policies and tools with excellence at scale. Under his able guidance and leadership, Vellore Engineering College was elevated to VIT University in 2001. He went on to become VIT’s first Pro-Chancellor and he enjoys the distinction of being the youngest Pro-Chancellor of a University in the world, which has been recognized by the Limca Book of Records, 2005.

As an industrious person, and a farsighted educationalist, Mr. G.V. Selvam possesses an innate ability to spot and nurture talent–be it with the faculty, staff or students. He guides Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and their members in their education initiatives as Co-Chairman, CII SR Education, Skills & Job Creation Sub Committee.  He has emphasized on the need for diversification of instructional strategies to match the different learning needs and strengths of students. Through his influence, he has made the faculty more conscious of this and conceptualized various flexible and pragmatic academic solutions not only for toppers but also for the underachievers.

He is also a strong proponent of sustainable development and he spearheaded the development of the VIT Chennai campus in accordance with the standards of the Green LEED certification. He is passionate about transforming Vellore into a clean, green and nature-rich city. The Green Vellore Project which has added green cover to the rocky and barren landscape of Vellore, and the Clean Palar Project, which aims at to restoring the Palar river bed to its original texture are his brainchildren. The lush green, self-sustaining, VIT campuses in Vellore and Chennai are testimonies of his efforts to adorn the spaces with natural beauty and his love for nature.

He introduced the inter-university sports & cultural extravaganza, “Riviera”, which has blossomed into an acclaimed international event. He played a significant role in establishing the VIT Technology Business Incubator (VITTBI), which has received national acclaim for its service to budding entrepreneurs. He is also the brain behind the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development and Research Studies [CSRD&RS] which strives to provide urban facilities in rural areas to not only enhance the livelihood but also develop the rural folk on par with the urban people in terms of education and employability.

This event is presented in collaboration with Study Melbourne.

Study Melbourne Victoria Australia