AfREC has been cited as an example of ‘best practice’ in fostering relationships between Australia and African-Australian diaspora communities in an important new report by the Melbourne-based African Think Tank (ATT). ATT is a “culturally diverse leadership body for enhancing African Australian relationships through capacity building and support and policy advice.”
The ATT report, based on a major conference convened in Melbourne on 12-13 November 2018 by ATT and the University of Melbourne and supported by the Victorian Government, was launched in Melbourne on 16 April 2019 by the Hon. Josh Bull, Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Professor Mark Considine, Provost, University of Melbourne.
The conference, themed African-Australian Settlement & Integration 2030: Opportunities and Challenges, featured speakers including Hon. Robin Scott, Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs; Hon. Ted Baillieu, former Premier of Victoria; Hon. Lindsay Tanner, former Federal Minister for Finance; Adam Bandt MP, Federal Member for Melbourne; Commander Stuart Bateson, Victoria Police; Helen Kapalos, Chairperson Victorian Multicultural Commission; Chin Tan, Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner; and a range of leaders from African communities, academia and other civil society organisations. Dr David Mickler, AfREC Director, presented the AfREC model at the conference. ATT Chairperson, Mr Haileluel Gebre-selassie OAM, also serves as the Convenor of the Victorian Police African-Australian Community Taskforce, is an AfREC Advisory Board Member.
The report cites as ‘best practice’ (p. 37): “The Africa Research & Engagement Centre is the first of its kind in Australia. The Centre has been focusing on enhancing relationships between Australia and Africa and also on engaging with Western Australia based African communities. Further, it supports African students in their studies and promotes African studies to local students. The Centre is able to draw upon the knowledge, ideas, and experiences of the growing number of communities and people in Australia of African origin, which includes the employment of African Australians at the Centre. The Centre is increasingly engaging with Government entities and is also planning to facilitate a conference that will focus on exploring African diaspora topics.”
The report makes 25 recommendations, which are reprinted below. ATT will present the report and recommendations at an upcoming national African-Australian diaspora engagement conference to be convened by AfREC in August 2019.