The Africa Research & Engagement Centre (AfREC) was just established in Perth by the University of Western Australia. Its purpose is to drive ethical and innovative collaborations throughout the African continent.
The Centre develops, produces and promotes research, teaching, training and other academic collaborations with university partners in Africa, Australia and globally to address mutual sustainable development challenges and responsibilities while strengthening wider Australia-Africa relations.
Through ongoing engagement and consultation with key stakeholders in government, industry, the not-for-profit sector and African communities in Australia, AfREC ensures its work has appropriate impact on society and policy.
Dr David Mickler from the School of Social Sciences is the interim director of the centre and said the establishment of AfREC recognises UWA’s strengths in engagement with the enormously important and diverse continent of Africa and its peoples.
“It enables the University to play a leading role in further developing Australia-Africa research and education partnerships, building a wider constituency to support the deepening of Australia-Africa relations across sectors and draws upon the knowledge and expertise of our growing African-Australian communities,” Dr Mickler said.
The Centre formalises the foundational work done by the UWA Africa Research Cluster over several years and builds upon UWA’s Africa-related teaching, research and developmental strengths and projects.
AfREC will function across the University utilising a number of disciplines including; agriculture, mining, geology, law, political science and international relations, international development, environmental science, engineering, archaeology and heritage, population health, anthropology and sociology, biological science, history, as well as various multi-disciplinary projects.
"Based in Perth, Australia’s gateway with Africa and the Indian Ocean region, the Centre underpins the UWA Africa Engagement Strategy and supports the Africa-related work of the University’s flagship Institutes of Agriculture, Oceans and Public Policy, as well as other research centres”, said Professor Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community & Engagement).
AfREC also enhances UWA’s active role in, and supports, key international networks including the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN), the Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group (WUN GAG), the Matariki Network and the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP).
AfREC and its website will be launched on 27 August 2018 at the AAUN Forum & AGM, hosted by UWA as part of the annual Australia-Africa Week in Perth.