Leadership: UNSW Science represented at Australia-India Youth Dialogue

UNSW scientist, Dr Ravindra Rajarao, is a delegate at the dialogue
Friday, 25 January, 2013
Deborah Smith

Young leaders from India and Australia will gather next week for a three day conference aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries.

Delegates to the Second Australia-India Youth Dialogue will discuss issues including sustainability, education, social innovation, cultural representation, international security, and foreign investment, assisted by panels of experts in these areas.

Almost two thirds of India’s population is under 30 years of age, and India is the second-largest source of international students in Australia.

One of the Indian delegates to the conference, Dr Ravindra Rajarao, has recently joined UNSW as a research associate in the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology.

The centre’s director, Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, will also address a session at the conference titled, The Challenge of Sustainability.

Dr Rajarao, 27, obtained his PhD last year at the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, in Mangalore, India, while also collaborating as a research fellow for India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation.

He worked on environmentally friendly and economical ways to synthesise carbon nanostructures and how to apply them to hydrogen storage and catalysis.

At UNSW he is developing novel processes for the conversion of e-waste into sustainable materials.

Dr Rajarao said the conference, to be held in Sydney and Melbourne, was a good way to develop collaborations.

“Mutual interaction is always of benefit for the community in terms of research and exchange of ideas,” he said.

Professor Sahajwalla said international engagement was necessary to fast track progress in sustainability. “We want young people in both countries to learn from each other,” she said.

Speakers include the former head of India’s Defence Intelligence Agency, Lt Gen Kamal Davar, and the former Director General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Paul O’Sullivan.

Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta, a lecturer in international security at UNSW, is a member of the steering committee of the dialogue.

She said: “Greater engagement with India’s youth gives Australia an excellent opportunity to shape the attitudes of its emerging leaders and allow them to develop a greater appreciation of Australia’s political, economic, strategic and social concerns.”

Media contact: Deborah Smith. 9385 7307, 0478 492 060,