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Shaun Star

Founder and executive director of the Centre for India Australia Studies, Jindal Global University

Shaun Star moved to Bangalore to study Indian law for a year. Seven years later, he’s still in India. Now based in New Delhi, the lawyer and academic is a passionate advocate for strengthening ties between Australia and India and has set up organisations designed to do just that.

How did you start? What made you choose this career path?

Even before starting University, I completed a year-long youth exchange programme in Germany. While studying at Macquarie University in Sydney, I also had numerous opportunities to travel abroad for conferences and events. I was awarded the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award which funded my move to India after the completion of my studies. This Award allowed me to study Indian law and work in an Indian sports law firm in Bangalore. I initially came to India 'for one year' … seven years later, India has become my home. I have had a number of fantastic opportunities to work in top-tier law firms, established an advisory firm which assists Australian companies on their entry into India, worked as Senior Operations Manager for the Indian Premier League, and been appointed as Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean in an Indian law school.I have also founded organisations such as the Centre for India Australia Studies and the Australia India Youth Dialogue, which hope to strengthen the Australia-India relationship. 

"Growing up in multicultural Australia undoubtedly shaped my world view" – Shaun Star

How did your Australian experience contribute to your success, or your approach to your work?

Growing up in multicultural Australia undoubtedly shaped my world view. While the rest of the world seemed physically far away, I was surrounded by different cultures, cuisines and languages. Being educated in the public school system in Sydney, I was surrounded by classmates from a variety of backgrounds. I would listen to their stories about their visits to meet relatives in India, China and other parts of the world, I would be invited to dinners with their families and friends where I would experience home-cooked cuisine from different parts of the world – in hindsight, I learnt a lot about other countries and cultures from my school friends. 

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Is there something particular about the Australian character/culture that drives people to search out international experiences?

I suspect that being exposed to different cultures in Australia, coupled with a curiosity about the rest of the world often drives Australians to seek out international opportunities. The Australian expats that I have met during my time in India have a sense of adventure and are open to new challenges and unique experiences.

What’s one of your most favourite things about living and working in India?

Things move quickly in India. There is always something going on and it is very difficult to get bored. It is an exciting place to live and work.

"I am proud of the way young Australians are increasingly engaging with other countries and cultures..." – Shaun Star

Have you been inspired by the achievements of any particular expat Australians living and working overseas?

Jennifer Star – my wife – is a continual source of inspiration. She founded an organisation, Tara.Ed (www.taraed.org), which has worked in India for the last 10 years. Tara.Ed has since impacted the lives of 17,500 students by focusing on improving the quality of education in rural and remote parts of the country. I am regularly inspired when I travel with Jennifer to a these rural schools and witness the direct impact that the organisation has had on teachers and students across the country.

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What makes you proud to be Australian? 

Every year on 26 January, India and Australia share their national day (India's is called Republic Day). At this time of year, I typically host up to 50 undergraduate students from Australian universities for an India Immersion Programme. On our shared national day, it is a special moment to raise both the Indian and Australian flags before an audience of Indians and Australians, two countries that are very close to my heart. I am proud of the way young Australians are increasingly engaging with other countries and cultures and I hope that this trend continues to grow.

 

More about Shaun Star: Star has been working in India since 2010. Founder and Executive Director of the Centre for India Australia Studies at O.P. Jindal Global University, he is currently Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean of Jindal Global Law School. Star also runs an advisory practice, Australia India Advisory, that assists Australian organisations – from start-ups to listed companies – with entry and expansion into India. He was recently named as 30 people to watch in the business of law in Asia. He has published a book entitled “Australia and India: A Comparative Overview of the Law and Legal Practice”, and is co-founder of the Australia India Youth Dialogue.

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