Bond University alumna, Marryum Kahloon, has been announced as one of the 2017 Australian-American Fulbright Scholars.
Currently working in Paris as a trainee with Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer’s international arbitration team, Marryum will use her scholarship to study a Master of Laws at one of the USA’s leading universities.
“I’m hoping to attend Columbia University in New York,” said Marryum, who completed a double degree in Law (First Class Honours) and International Relations at Bond in 2015.
“Columbia is well renowned as an Ivy League school but, beyond reputation, it has an incredible faculty that has been doing a lot of work in my two areas of interest – public international law and human rights law.”
During her time at Bond, Marryum helped to establish the Bond Law Clinic as a pro bono public legal service and was chosen as Australia’s representative at the 2015 G(irls) 20 Summit in Istanbul. She also received an elite Australian Government scholarship under the New Colombo Plan to complete a semester of study at Fudan University in China and an internship with Plan China in Beijing.
After graduating, she was appointed Associate to President Margaret McMurdo AC in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Queensland, and also volunteered at the Salvos Legal Asylum Seeker Clinic.
Having migrated as a child from Pakistan to South Africa and eventually Australia, Marryum developed a strong interest in immigration issues and has garnered attention for her personal and thought-provoking opinion pieces published in the Courier Mail, Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post and Mamamia.
“As part of my Fulbright Scholarship studies, I want to research and work towards developing a blueprint for a regional framework governing refugees and forced migrants in the Asia Pacific,” she said.
“At the moment, there is bipartisan support in Australia for offshore detention; mainly because the only alternative is seen to be the unbridled entry of economic migrants posting as asylum seekers.
“This is a false dichotomy.
“I believe there is an urgent need for policy makers and legislators to create a durable framework, based on transnational cooperation and burden sharing, that is both lawful and pragmatic.
“Australia could be a leader in the Asia Pacific but we are choosing not to step into that role. I hope that by contributing to the international framework governing refugee processing, I can help to change that.”
The Fulbright Program is the USA’s flagship foreign exchange program and the largest in the world, operating in more than 160 countries. Since the Australian-American Fulbright Commission was established 68 years ago, some 5000 Australians have completed scholarships.
The 2017 Australian-American Fulbright Scholarships will be officially awarded at a gala presentation dinner at Parliament House, Canberra on March 8. A total of 48 recipients will be honoured in 2017 – 31 Australians who will undertake their research in the USA and 17 Americans who will come to Australia.
“It is a real honour to be awarded this scholarship and I feel very privileged – particularly because most of my fellow scholars are already completing their PhDs,” said Marryum.
“I hope to reward the faith that the Fulbright Commission has placed in me by not only educating myself, but by using that knowledge to make a contribution back to Australia by helping others.”