Launched in 2015, DFAT’s Women in Leadership Strategy tackles barriers to women’s career progression in the department, and seeks to enable all staff to reach their full potential. The Strategy applies to all staff, both Australian and locally engaged at one of our many overseas posts, and aims to ensure that all staff feel included, valued and inspired to do their best.

Each year more than 1,000 Australians donate their time and skills to volunteer in developing countries through the Government’s flagship Australian Volunteers program, helping to make our region more stable, secure and prosperous. On this International Volunteer Day I thank all Australian Volunteers – past and present – for their selfless contribution to regional growth and prosperity.

“I miss being able to control my emotions around my family – sometimes I can’t stop laughing and sometimes I can’t stop crying.” This man’s contribution is greeted with nods and an understanding chuckle around the circle.

It is mid June 2017, and I am sitting with a group of men and women who have recently had brain injuries and strokes, along with two local physiotherapists, who are facilitating our first ever group therapy session at the Dong Nai General Hospital.

As part of Australia’s commitment to greater recognition of human rights, our embassies in the Mekong are working with governments and civil society to promote rights for LGBTI people.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, highlights how Australia Awards are changing the lives of women in Vietnam.