University Education Partnership


Australian Catholic University (ACU) has partnered with Marist Asia Foundation since 2009 and is committed to providing Higher Education Opportunities for Burmese Migrants for the next 5 years.

Australian Catholic University has entered into a new partnership with Marist Asia Foundation to support Burmese Migrants gaining a University Education for the next 5 years.

ACU’s Thai Burma Border Programme, supporting Burmese Refugees and Migrants has been running for the past 10 years, but has partnered with Marist Asia Foundation since 2009.

This partnership has changed the lives of many young adult men and women who would otherwise never get a Higher Education in the Refugee camps or Migrant Worker communities.

Students in Ranong study online and with visiting lecturers  to complete their Arts and Liberal Studies Diploma. Courses include Academic English, International Development Studies, Youth Development, Introduction to Management, Global Health Challenges, Human Rights, Global Change and Development, Education for a Sustainable Future.

Fr Kevin Medilo, Director of Marist Asia Foundation, met recently with ACU staff in Sydney and shared how significant the University Online Diploma Programme is for the Migrant Community in Ranong on the Thailand Burma Border.

26 young leaders have graduated and become Teachers, Health Workers, Community Leaders. We have 12 current students and another 20 waiting to apply for the 2017 year.

The ACU Partnership is changing the education goals of the migrant community.

Young students are staying in school. Graduates are getting good jobs. Bright young confident Burmese Migrants are conscious of human rights and they are understanding the complex development needs of their home country in Myanmar.

Our University students are emerging as great role models and leaders for their community.


Students study Monday – Friday 1.30-4.00pm with their tutor Fr Frank Bird to complete their Diploma in a 20 month course aimed at developing Leaders and Teachers for the Burmese Migrant Community

Discussions also took place to plan together for the future, including investigation of a Teacher Training Diploma that can give the many young migrant teachers an opportunity to get recognised qualifications as teachers.

This is such a vital need on the Thailand Burma Border with hundreds of thousands of migrant and refugee children struggling to get an education and their teachers struggling to get recognition of their learning and teacher experience.

Marist Asia Foundation is delighted to deepen its education and funding partnership commitment with ACU and would like to express its great thanks to Professor Tania Aspland (Executive Dean), Professor Geraldine (Deputy Dean, Faculty of Education and Arts) and Kirk Doyle (International Partnerships) for the work on developing this Education Partnership.

Special thanks also to Teacher Maya, Co-ordinator of the Thai Burma Border Programme, whose great passion and encouragement toward our Migrant and Refugee students has encouraged so many to ‘aim higher’ for a brighter future with education.