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Australia-Africa relations the focus of Curtin’s new engagement centre

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Curtin University has launched the Centre for Australia-Africa Relations, a new research and engagement hub that seeks to fill a “critical gap” in Australia’s national academic and policy infrastructure.

The new Centre was formally launched by Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne at the Australia Africa Universities Network Africa Forum, held at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

During the South African visit, Curtin also signed a new strategic partnership with the University of Pretoria, which will facilitate academic exchanges and collaboration across areas including business, law, health, science, engineering, and the humanities.

Professor Hayne said the Centre for Australia-Africa Relations represented Curtin’s commitment to building impactful and sustainable research and education partnerships between Australia and the African continent.

“The Centre will be a coordinating platform to empower the multi-disciplinary Africa expertise and multi-country African connections of Curtin’s staff and students across all of our faculties and campuses, including our African campus, Curtin Mauritius,” Professor Hayne said.

“It will also be a unique engagement platform to facilitate and promote collaboration with our external university partners through the Australia Africa Universities Network, as well as with Australian and African governments, a variety of industry partners across sectors, and importantly with African academics, students and African diaspora communities in Australia.”

Curtin’s Dean Global, Africa Associate Professor David Mickler said the new Centre would serve as an important national hub for the advancement of Australia-Africa relations across sectors.

“The new Centre will fill a critical gap in Australia’s national academic and policy infrastructure at a time when the African continent is rising in global strategic significance and the African diaspora is growing rapidly in Australia,” Associate Professor Mickler said.

“In the context of the Albanese Government’s welcome commitment to reinvigorate Australia-Africa ties, the Centre will provide a national institutional platform to help shape, deepen and sustain Australia-Africa relationships over time.”

The Centre will play a leading role in developing greater “Australia-Africa literacy” – mutual, respectful and informed understanding of each other – by convening public events, research and training programs to raise awareness of Australia-Africa relations and to counter often-negative stereotypes found in some media and political discourse.

It will also advance “Australia-Africa science diplomacy” – linking our innovative research more directly to policymaking and international cooperation through providing targeted, evidence-based policy advice – to support the crucial contributions of Australia and African universities, researchers and students in addressing major societal and global challenges.

The announcements were made during Africa Week 2023: Open Africa, Open Science, a biennial science leadership event hosted by the University of Pretoria that progresses the idea of science as a global public good through the lenses of the global science movement.

Curtin is the only Australian university with a campus in Africa with Curtin Mauritius, which was officially opened in 2018, building on the University’s 14-year partnership with the Charles Telfair Institute, located at Moka, south-east of the capital Port Louis.

For more information about Curtin’s Africa engagement, visit here.

For more information about Curtin Mauritius, visit here.

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