Aussie Diplomat Set to Study Public Policy at Harvard

Arjun Bisen (left), with Assoc Prof Bronwen Dalton of UTS Business School and 2015 Fulbright scholar Dean Jarrett

UTS Business School alumnus Arjun Bisen (above-left), now an Australian diplomat based in Cambodia, will study public policy at Harvard after last week being awarded the prestigious Fulbright Anne Wexler Scholarship.

Bisen plans to research China’s relationship with “weak states”, its impact on security in the Indo-Pacific region, and possible responses by Australian and US governments while undertaking a Master’s in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

He also wants to explore the opportunities presented by emerging technologies and advances in behavioural sciences to improve the implementation of Australia’s foreign policy and deliver development outcomes.

The Fulbright Anne Wexler Scholarship in Public Policy enables an Australian postgraduate student with strong academic credentials and leadership potential to undertake a two-year Master’s degree in the United States. The scholarship package is valued at up to $140,000.

Associate Professor Bronwen Dalton, who was Bisen’s Honours supervisor at UTS Business School and who attended the Fulbright awards ceremony last night, describes Bisen as “a sincere and compassionate person, motivated by a deep commitment to social justice”.

“There’s no doubt Arjun has the potential to make an outstanding contribution to the development of smarter foreign policy, and aid and development policy and practice, and significantly contribute to Australia’s future.”

Bisen’s Honours thesis looked at best practice in the microfinance sector in the Asia-Pacific.  Microfinance is an economic development tool, with small loans being provided to people without access to traditional forms of finance. They might use the loan to purchase seed for a crop or other small business inputs, for example.

Associate Professor Dalton says Bisen applied his knowledge of microfinance by starting a project that helped Nepalese villagers pay their school fees by synchronizing loan repayment schedules with seasonal crop returns. “These changes resulted in a dramatic increase in enrolments in some schools,” she says.

In his Cambodia posting, Bisen has been involved in engagement in areas such as human rights, trade, disability aid programs and private sector development.

By Lesley Parker, UTS Business School
Originally published on the UTS Newsroom