On 25th May African communities worldwide, including over 300,000 people of African backgrounds in Australia, will celebrate ‘Africa Day’ to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was transformed into the African Union (AU) in 2002.
The University of Melbourne is working with a new network linking Universities across Australia and Africa to support greater engagement and build deeper links on teaching and research. The network will also boost University links with government, business and local African communities.
A recent workshop delivered by the University of Melbourne and the Africa Australia Association, ‘Building Sustainable Peace in Africa: Engaging Australians’, hosted senior African and Australian leaders including special guests AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Dr Aisha Abdullahi, and Coordinator of the AU’s African Governance Architecture and Platform, Dr George Mukundi.
The meeting highlighted Australia’s active investment in Africa as well as the benefits for Australia from Africa’s growing global importance. ‘In recent years an African natural resources boom has attracted $50 billion investment by Australian-listed resources companies across the African continent,’ convenor, Dr David Mickler described, ‘Australia has also benefited by the growing influence of African globally as demonstrated by Australia’s recent campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council – built on the votes of almost all African states.’
Closer to home, the Centre for Cultural Partnerships at the Victorian College of Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music is working with Debney Primary School Community to explore ideas of identity with families from Somali and other national backgrounds. ‘Through story-telling and film-making we’re building shared learning and personal knowledge,’ Project leader Shahin Shafaei describes. Shahin and school principal Helen Otway will co-present their early experiences at the ICTEV Conference in Melbourne on Africa Day.
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