The obituary of former ANU Vice-Chancellor Anthony Low was published on this weblog of 28/11/2015:
‘Anthony’s illustrious academic career began in 1951 as a Lecturer at Makerere College, University of East Africa. While undertaking archival research in Zanzibar he met Isobel Smail who was nursing in the Protectorate and was proficient in Swahili. They were married in Zanzibar Cathedral in 1952, celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2012.’
Belle Low was one of the last connections with the generation of Africanists that flourished in Canberra post-War.
Her funeral service will be at St John’s, Constitution Avenue, Reid, ACT, at 10.30, Friday 4th December’
The service will be livestreamed and the the link is: https://funeralstre.am/isobel-low
Arguing that the institution of the university has been broadly complicit with colonialism, the call to “decolonize” universities and academic practices has been heard across the world, from Cape Town to Oxford to Canberra. But what exactly does it mean to “decolonize” the university or to “decolonize” science or the humanities? This webinar will present a range of views on decolonization and the university by scholars from across the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities, focusing on local and global challenges to prevailing academic practices.
Conversations Across the Creek is an initiative of the Humanities Research Centre and the Research School of Chemistry. These events provide a space for continuing dialogue among scientists, social scientists, and humanities scholars, with the aim of stimulating and unearthing collaborations across the university and between the university and the community.
The major innovation is the creation of the ACT Africa Expert Directory which currently lists 71 experts on Africa from institutions around the ACT, primarily the ANU. We will continue to expand and refine this list in the coming months and years, offering a key resource for media, government and non-government organizations seeking expert facts and opinions on Africa.
Another notable addition is the expanded directory of PhD theseson Africa produced in the territory’s universities, a solid measure of the vitality of the study of Africa in the city of Canberra.
Reviewing both directories, it is revealing to note that the vast majority of research on Africa is produced by disciplinary experts (environmental scientists, economists, demographers, etc.) rather than area studies experts. This means that the study of Africa is woven into the fabric of the research culture of the ANU and the ACT’s other universities in ways that are not necessarily apparent.
AFSAAP Secretary Margaret O’Callaghan, has been sent this lecture recording by Nick Cheeseman this from the University of Manchester and comments, ‘it’s an hour long but well worth listening to with many country specific examples.’ In his co-authored book, How to Rig an Election, he argues “[c]ontrary to what is commonly believed, authoritarian leaders who agree to hold elections are generally able to remain in power longer than autocrats who refuse to allow the populace to vote.”
The Town Hall Meeting on the ‘Introduction to the Regional Plan for Africa & the Middle East’ was held on May 28th, 2020 (See the post on this weblog dated 26 May). This was part of of the ANU’s Regional Plans Consultation process. See https://www.anu.edu.au/events/anu-regional-plans-consultation
Questions on Zoom were answered by Associate Professor Jo Ford, Associate Dean (International), ANU College of Law, Daniel Brown, Manager, International Partnership Development, International Strategy & Partnerships, and Professor Sally Wheeler, Pro Vice Chancellor, International Strategy. Most questions, asked by academic staff and one PhD student, concerned Africa.
REMINDER. On Friday, 12 June 2020 4:04 PM you may have received a message from Intl Strategy Regional Plans <Regional.Plans@anu.edu.au> signed by Anne Kelly, Executive Officer, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy).
This email encouraged written feedback on the regional plan discussion papers through the Regional Plan SharePoint Site which is https://anu365.sharepoint.com/sites/ISPTest-RegionalPlans
It also encouraged recipients to forward this link to any ANU staff member who may have an interest in participating in this consultation process. (It might be easier to forward the email). Feedback can be submitted up to 30 June 2020, that is until Close of Business, Tuesday.
Professor Wheeler has advised that anyone in the ANU community can comment on the plans by either emailing the ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ address or by emailing the panel chair, Jo Ford, or herself.
If you are from ANU, UC, or any other ACT institution or organisation and wish to share your research please send details to email@example.com
Here is a piece from Ernest Akuamoah (School of Politics and International Relations, ANU)
“Across the continent, millions of people will be going to the polls to exercise their democratic rights this year. In theory, elections will provide avenues for citizens to hold their leaders accountable through either endorsing their legitimacy or replacing them if they have performed abysmally. In this regard, you would expect citizens to be enthusiastic and excited for the opportunity to vote, but this is not always the case. For the most part, election periods in many African countries are characterized by fear and panic because electoral contests are considered a ‘do-or-die’ affair . Even when incumbents are defeated, it is uncertain whether they will leave office. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic presents manifold challenges to democracy in Africa. This paper highlights some of these challenges and identify countries at high risk of contentious elections.”
Available at 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3596662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3596662
This report is from Mrs Maureen Hickman, President of the Royal Commonwealth Society (ACT Branch) who took over from Colin Milner (History, RSSS ANU) earlier this year. Maureen is also the Editor of the RCS Newsletter from which this piece is reproduced.
“By 2050, Africa will have 2.4 billion people, a middle class of one billion, and every fourth person on earthwill be in Africa, figures that might ‘excite or frighten— but cannot be ignored’, according to H.E. Isayia Kabira, High Commissioner for Kenya. Speaking at the Commonwealth Dinner in March, Mr Kabira added, ‘if you are thinking about the future, you should be thinking about Africa.’ ‘Our challenges today are the opportunities of tomorrow.’
Describing Africa as ‘the continent of the future’ whatever you read or hear about it, Mr Kabira said That many people have asked him where he gets ‘all this optimism about the Dark Continent’. But what he sees is opportunity to find alternate ways to deal with problems such as providing clean renewable energy where there is no electricity, and, at a local level, where there are no credit cards, teaching people how to use their mobile phones to transfer money.
Having achieved ‘the political kingdom’ of freedom, with the majority of African nations under democratic rule ‘with a smooth handover of power and a zero tolerance of military coups’ what Africa is now seeking is ‘the economic kingdom’. He continued, ‘Africa today is home to 30 per cent of the world’s natural resources; Australia has invested over $40 billion in 700 projects in the extractives sector, and, to further consolidate our economic gains, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is now in its operational phase, making it much easier to trade with ourselves and with the world.’ Mr Kabira acknowledged that in 30 years time, a population of 2.4 billion people would need to be fed. But this, he sees as yet another opportunity to satisfy that need and ‘get more money into the pockets of farmers’, encouraged by the Kiswahili saying: Mfuata nyuki hakosi asali—one who follows the bees will never fail to get honey (never mind the occasional sting).”