Last Friday, hundred of people gathered on the steps of Melbourne’s Parliament House to hold a vigil for murdered 21-year-old international student Aiia Maasarwe.

Aiia was an Arab-Israeli exchange student was studying at La Trobe University in Melbourne as part of a study abroad program.

She was attacked and murdered on the night of 15 January as she was walking home to her student accommodation after attending a comedy gig.

Ms Maasarwe’s father attended the vigil, and thanked the community for their support. He said:

When I see people here like this, huge people support us, gives us a good feeling about Australia and about the community here in Australia.

Vice-chancellor of La Trobe University, John Dewar,  said that security for international students would be increased.

I am absolutely determined that the La Trobe community will do everything in our power to ensure that this never happens again. Women must be able to feel safe, to walk in this city after dark and we will do everything we can to ensure that that happens, that is my promise to you.

Education agents could help prevent future attacks

The chief executive of the private sector International Education Association thinks education agents have a role to play in preventing future attacks:

Phil Honeywood

We need to ensure that effective and comprehensive pre-departure information is provided to international students, particularly from education agents who are responsible for sending 85 per cent of the international students who come to Australia each year.

Phil Honeywood CEO - International Education Association

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