(Updated August 2020)
In addition to its universities, diplomatic missions and government departments, the Australian Capital Territory is home to a number of organizations pertinent to the study of Africa. Similarly, ACT-based researchers may benefit from engaging with national organisations committed to the study and promotion of Africa and Australia-Africa relations.
Since 1982, ACIAR has supported research projects in four regions—eastern and southern Africa, East Asia, South and West Asia and the Pacific. Our research projects focus on crops, agribusiness, horticulture, forestry, livestock, fisheries, water and climate, social sciences, and soil and land management. They deliver specific development outcomes. Our support to Eastern and Southern Africa fills a niche not addressed by many donor organisations; agricultural research-for-development. The focus is aimed at reducing poverty and increasing food security through an agriculture-led integrated framework of development.
Established in 2009, ANUASA, is a place for the African diaspora at the Australian National University and non-Africans to celebrate the African continent through a variety of social, academic and cultural events. ANUASA is an affiliate of the Australian National University Students Association (ANUSA). ANUASA Facebook. Email.
The National Archives’ collection contains records about key events and decisions that have shaped Australian history. Relevant to the study of Africa, the archives include documents pertinent to Australia’s military and diplomatic engagements with Africa, and Australia’s immigration program. Relatedly, the Australian War Memorial includes records of Australian military involvement in Africa, from the South African War to Rwandan peacekeeping operations.
The Royal Commonwealth Society, established in London in 1868, is the oldest civil society organisation in the world. The RCS (ACT) Branch was founded in 1958. Overall, the Royal Commonwealth Societies are committed to the principles and values underpinning the modern Commonwealth of Nations.
In their day-to-day work, however, the RCS branches are involved in activities encouraging friendship and understanding in and between peoples of the Commonwealth, particularly among the young. Many members of the ACT Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society have lived and worked overseas, often in other Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. This experience and knowledge of other cultures and languages has brought a dimension to their contributions to the work of our Branch, to the multi-ethnic activities of the capital, and to our interactions with the Commonwealth diplomatic missions in Canberra with whom we have established relationships.
The RCS (ACT) organises a multifaith multi-cultural event to mark Commonwealth Day in March, and oversees the Phyllis Montgomerie Commonwealth Award, offering up to $5000 to help with expenses, including travel, associated with a research or education project to be conducted in a Commonwealth country. Past winners include ANU PhD student Georgia Troupe, researching human-elephant conflict in Kenya.
African Professionals of Australia (APA) is a diverse organization of professionals whose aim is to create a vibrant community of professionals who excel personally and collectively and positively impact the community. Our main purpose is to empower professionals especially those of African-origin to reach their fully potential in their elected professions. This includes providing a platform to pursue and achieve professional relevance and impact to the Australian community at large.
The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) is a national network of academics, students, consultants, activists, diplomats, artists, community leaders, and others who share a mutual interest in the promotion of African Studies in Australasia and the Pacific region.
AFSAAP produces an irregular newsletter called Habari kwa ufupi (“News in brief” for those of us whose Swahili is a little rusty) and a biannual journal, the Australasian Review of African Studies, available online on an open access basis, publishing original research and scholarly book reviews from Australian and around the world. AFSAAP also hosts an annual conference. In 2020, the 43rd annual conference is hosted by the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, on the theme “Youthful Optimism for Africa.”
AFSAAP also facilitates the annual Cherry Gertzel Bursary Award to assist female post-graduate students to complete study or research in African Studies. Previous recipients include Kirsty Wissing (ANU, 2017) and Christina Kenny (ANU, 2013).
The Australia Africa Business Council was first established in 1983. The organisation describes its task as “work[ing] towards sustainable and mutually beneficial commercial and cultural exchanges between Africa and Australia, without the need to engage with large-scale extractive industries … [and] to encourage Australians to see through the superficial media images and reporting about Africa.” To this end, their website declares: “There’s More to Africa Than 54 UN votes”.
The Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) is a group of leading universities in Australia and Africa, connecting researchers and academics through institutional partnerships in order to address challenges facing both continents. The network’s vision is “[h]igh impact, strategic educational and research partnerships providing sustainable solutions to challenges jointly facing Australia and Africa.” The network’s mission is “[t]o enhance targeted Africa-Australia partnerships through a network of collaborative research and education initiatives. AAUN improves the capacity and connectivity of academic talent across the two continents. Through working with research institutions, business and government, AAUN delivers sustainable solutions to our joint challenges.” Alas, the ACT can only count UNSW Canberra among member institutions.