On 7 September 2019, at the Australia-Kenya 2019 Business Exhibition & Conference convened in Perth as part of the national Australia Africa Week, AfREC Director Dr David Mickler announced that from 2020, AfREC would be naming its Africa Day lecture the “Annual AfREC Samuel M. Makinda Africa Day Public Lecture”.
The Australia-Kenya 2019 Expo, designed to promote trade, investment, knowledge and networking between the two countries, featured a range of prominent speakers including Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia, H.E. Isaiya Kabira, Australia’s High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Alison Chartres, visiting Kenyan government officials, Austrade representatives, the presidents of both the Kenyan Community in WA and the Organisation of African Communities in WA, and leaders from business, academia and other sectors, including Prof. Makinda.
Following the formation in 2015 of AfREC’s precursor, the UWA Africa Research Cluster, an annual public lecture or panel discussion has been held at UWA to mark the historic significance of 25 May as Africa Day and to provide a platform for public discussion of an important theme relevant to the African continent or Australia-Africa relations.
In that time, the following topics have been presented and discussed:
Climate change and Africa, Prof. Petra Tschakert (2015)
The origins and future of African unity, Prof. Samuel M. Makinda (2016)
African women and leadership, panel discussion (2017)
Africa and sustainable development agendas, panel discussion (2018)
Growing up African in Australia, book launch and panel discussion (2019)
Because of the importance of Africa Day, AfREC decided to name the event in honour of a prominent Western Australian-African who has connections to UWA, to the education sector more broadly and to African-Australian communities, in line with AfREC’s objectives of building Australia-Africa literacy through research and engagement. In consultation with the Organisation of African Communities in WA, AfREC decided that the most worthy recipient of the honour of the named AfREC annual lecture is Professor Samuel M. Makinda, whose summarised biography is presented below. In turn, we are honoured that Prof. Makinda has accepted the offer for the named lecture and we were delighted that on the same evening, Prof. Makinda was also named as a Community Pillar and WA African of the Year at the 2019 WA African Community Awards (WAACA) convened by OACWA.
AfREC is now seeking additional sponsorship in order to be able to bring a prominent speaker from the African continent to Perth each year to deliver the annual lecture on a relevant theme. The 2020 Makinda Lecture will be on the evening of Friday 22 May. Further details will be provided by AfREC in due course.
Samuel M. Makinda is the Professor of International Relations and Security Studies in the College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences at Murdoch University. He is an inaugural member of AfREC’s Advisory Board. For over four decades, he has worked in academia, the media and public service. As an academic, he has worked at UWA, the University of Nairobi, the Australian National University and Flinders University. His research interests have included the African Union, Africa’s political leadership as well as security and counter-terrorism matters. He has been a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC; a Research Associate at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies; a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford; and a Visiting Fellow in the Global Security Programme at Cambridge University. In 2001, he was appointed the Distinguished Lecturer for the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, based in Accra, Ghana. He has also lectured at various senior military colleges, including the Australian Defence College, Kenya’s National Defence College in Nairobi, and Oman’s National Defence College in Muscat.
Professor Makinda has also played roles in public policy in Australia and Africa. For example, in 2018, he participated in high-level discussions on counter-terrorism with government officials in Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Kenya. Prior to this, he was a member of the Australian Foreign Minister’s National Consultative Committee for International Security Issues from 2001 to 2008. Earlier in the 1980s, he served as a Foreign Affairs Specialist in the Parliamentary Research Service at the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra, where he provided advice to Members of the House of Representatives, Senators, Parliamentary Committees and, occasionally, Ministers. In 2007 and 2009, the Kenyan Government invited Professor Makinda to serve as a resource person at the Biennial Conferences of Ambassadors and High Commissioners. He also helped establish the Foreign Service Institute at the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007.
Professor Makinda was a columnist for the Nairobi-based Business Daily from 2007 to 2012. He had previously served as a senior journalist for The Weekly Review and Daily Nation in Nairobi.
For his “distinguished service rendered to the nation”, former Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, awarded him the medal of Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS), which is one of Kenya’s highest civilian honours. Similarly, for his consistent and extraordinary service to the African-Australian community in Western Australia extending over two decades, the Organisation of African Communities (WA) bestowed on him the honour of “Community Pillar”, which is equivalent to WA African Australian of the Year in 2019. Half a dozen years earlier, the Celebration of African Australians Inc had named Professor Makinda one of the top 100 most influential African Australians in 2012.
Presentation to Australia-Kenya 2019 Australia-Kenya Business Exhibition & Conference