AfREC Co-Convenes Ambassador Panel and ASIWA Launch Forum to Engage WA University Students with Afri

On 6 September 2019, AfREC hosted and co-convened a panel discussion between visiting Australian Heads of Mission based in Africa and students from the five Western Australian universities on the theme of “Engaging WA University Students with Africa”. The event, which took place during the annual national Australia Africa Week in Perth, also served as the Launch Forum for the African Students in WA (ASIWA) University Working Group, an initiative of the Organisation of African Communities in WA (OACWA) in partnership with the WA universities (UWA, Murdoch, Curtin, ECU and Notre Dame).

The speakers on the panel, themed “Australian Diplomacy in Africa: Insights from Australian Heads of Mission”, included 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. Each speaker was asked to identify the most important issue currently facing them in their post in Africa as well as to reveal one interesting insight about being an Australian diplomat based in Africa. Students were then invited to engage in Q&A with the Heads of Mission.

Launch Forum for ASIWA University Working Group

Following the panel discussion, the African Students in Western Australia (ASIWA) University Working Group Launch Forum was held. ASIWA had earlier been inaugurated on 9 August 2019 (see below) as a new Department of OACWA. ASIWA is an initiative of OACWA in partnership with the five WA universities to identify and address challenges facing African students in WA. Providing his welcome, UWA African Students Union (ASU) President Mr Adeniyi ‘Ade’ Adegboye highlighted the importance of the ASIWA University Working Group (WG) to African students in WA.

Ms Sarah Kiden Simon, the Coordinator of ASIWA, outlined that the WG is tasked with: (1) investigating, identifying, reporting and providing recommendations on key issues and challenges facing African students; (2) identifying the opportunities available to enhance outcomes for African university students, and (3) exploring how universities, government departments and relevant agencies can better support African students.