On 6 September 2019, AfREC hosted its annual roundtable consultation meeting with senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Africa Branch and Australian Heads of Mission currently serving in Africa. The lunch meeting, supported by the UWA Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education, was held at the UWA University Club during national Africa Australia Week 2019 in Perth.
In attendance was, from DFAT, Ms HK Yu, First Assistant Secretary, Middle East & Africa Division; Mr Andrew Collins, Assistant Secretary, Africa Branch; H.E. Peter Doyle, Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union; H.E. Alison Chartres, High Commissioner to Kenya; H.E. Gita Kamath, High Commissioner to South Africa; H.E. Jenny Dee, High Commissioner to Mauritius; H.E. Andrew Barnes, High Commissioner to Ghana; and Ms Claire Maizonnier, Third Secretary, Australian High Commission, Ghana.
From UWA, the meeting was chaired by Dr Brenda McGivern, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education (representing the PVC & Executive Dean, Prof. Matthew Tonts); Dr David Mickler, AfREC Director; A/Prof. Richard Vokes, AfREC Associate Director Research; Dr Dominic Dagbanja, AfREC Community Coordinator; Ms Tinashe Jakwa, AfREC Postgraduate Coordinator; Mr Muhammad Dan Suleiman, AfREC Editor of AfricaNarratives; Ms Terry Nduta, AfREC Executive Officer; and Prof. Stephen Smith, AfREC Member and former Australian Foreign and Defence Minister.
The meeting provided an opportunity to present an update on AfREC’s work, discuss key issues characterising Australia-Africa relationships, and to identify ways in which DFAT and AfREC can further collaborate following a number of productive engagements over the last 12 months via meetings with Heads of Mission both when in Perth and when AfREC researchers are in countries of accreditation on the African continent. DFAT has also provided funding towards a number of AfREC research projects as well as support to the Australia Africa Universities network (AAUN).
Following the consultation meeting, AfREC convened a panel discussion between the visiting Heads of Mission and WA university students. AfREC would like to thank DFAT for the productive and collegial meeting and we look forward to working with the Department and other government agencies over the next twelve months and beyond.