Emerging Leaders in Australia-Africa Diplomacy (ELAAD) Program

ELAAD is a new Fellowship program convened by Curtin University for the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN). The program: 

(i) creates a diverse cohort and ongoing network of emerging leaders in Australia-Africa diplomatic relations from among postgraduate university students and junior diplomats across Australia and the African continent; 

(ii) provides an opportunity for this cohort to develop expert knowledge and professional skills in Australia-Africa relations through a customised and facilitated annual online program engaging with leading scholars and experts, journalists, senior diplomats and other policy practitioners; and 

(iii) draws on the collective knowledge, expertise and ideas of this cohort to generate innovative policy ideas and meaninfgul socio-cultural exchanges for enhancing international relations between the African continent and Australia, including to develop collaborative solutions to global challenges.

Hon Tim Watts MP Address to ELAAD Fellows 14.2.23.mp4

Hon. Tim Watts MP 

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia

Video address to Inaugural ELAAD Fellows

14 February 2023

ELAAD Expert Guest Speakers

H.E. Ms Dorcas Makgato, High Commissioner for Botswana in AustraliaH.E. Ms Berenice Owen-Jones, High Commissioner for Australia in GhanaH.E. Mr Luke Williams, High Commissioner for Australia in KenyaH.E. Prof. Anil Sooklal, Ambassador-at-Large for Asia and BRICS, South AfricaH.E. Mr Anderson N. Madubike, High Commissioner for Nigeria in AustraliaH.E. Ms Julia Niblett, Ambassador for Australia to Ethiopia and the African UnionH.E. Ms Keara Shaw, Australian Chargé d'affaires, MauritiusH.E. Ms Tegan Brink, High Commissioner of Australia in South AfricaMr Matthew Neuhaus, Former Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria and Ambassador to ZimbabweMr Adam Illman, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, EthiopiaMs Angelica Ojinnaka, Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations 2022Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Pretoria, South AfricaProfessor Farida Fozdar, Curtin University, AustraliaProfessor Samuel M. Makinda, Murdoch University, AustraliaProfessor Christopher Isike, University of Pretoria, South AfricaProfessor Shamit Saggar, University of Western Australia, AustraliaProfessor Joseph Siracusa, Curtin University, AustraliaProfessor Maano Ramutsindela, University of Cape Town, South AfricaProfessor Peta Ashworth, Curtin University, AustraliaProfessor Joseph Awange, Curtin University, AustraliaProfessor Petra Tschakert, Curtin University, AustraliaA/Prof. Alexey Muraviev, Curtin University, AustraliaDr Kate O'Shaughnessy, Research Director, Perth USAsia Centre; former Australian High Commissioner to MauritiusDr Janet Dzator, Director, Centre for African Research, Engagement & Partnerships, University of Newcastle, AustraliaDr Seth Appiah-Mensah, Chief Joint Operations Centre/Integrated Information Hub, United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)Ms Nkechika Ibe, President, Women in Peace, Security and Diplomacy (WISPAD) Network, Nigeria

Inaugural ELAAD Fellows 2022-23

ELAAD Program Ambassadors

Inaugural ELAAD Fellows 2022-23

o   Temitayo Adedeji ADEDOYIN, Nigeria

o   Anuoluwapo Temitope ADEYEMI, Nigeria

o   Urvashi APPIAH, Mauritius

o   Clinton ASANTE, Ghana

o   Marikia BUTOYI, Congo

o   Matlida Triumph Joshua CHUNGA, Malawi

o   Abdurahman Imo EDAO, Ethiopia

o   Levina GOVENDER, South Africa

o   Riley GREEN, Australia

o   Merhawit Baraki HADISH, Ethiopia

o   Luyando Nag'andu HAMUSONDE, Zambia

o   Emmanuel HOL-ODURO, Ghana

o   Abubakar Isah IBRAHIM, Nigeria

o   Tanaka Last JERE, Zimbabwe

o   Tholwana Boikhutso KEREEDITSE, Botswana

o   Edward Mugaywa KITOKEZI, Tanzania

o   David KUEL, Australia

o   Rania Atef Fouad MAKARIOUS, Egypt

o   Annelise Geraldine MARIE, Mauritius

o   Fiston Emidy MASICHWE, Tanzania

o   Hajj MAZENGERA, Malawi

o   Anet MCCLINTOCK, Australia

o   Lachlan MILLER, Australia

o   Syabonga Sizwe MSWELI, South Africa

o   Grace MUSOLO, Kenya

o   Lelise Sori NEME, Ethiopia

o   Biola NGANG, Australia

o   Shadrack OSERO, Kenya

o   Emily PAYNE, Australia

o   Lehlogonolo PHAAHLA, South Africa

o   Fatima Zahra RAHMOUNI, Morocco

 Oumaima RAMDANI, Morocco

 o   Mpiriirwe RINAH, Uganda

o   Isheanopa RUFU, Zimbabwe

o   Geraint SCHMIDT, Australia

o   Khumoetsile SETHIBE, Botswana

Meet the ELAAD Fellows

Abubakar Isah Ibrahim

My name is Abubakar Isah Ibrahim born in Borno State, North-East Nigeria, I joined the Nigeria Foreign Service in 2017, and worked for two years in the Office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry as a personal assistant/protocol to the Permanent Secretary. Later, I was deployed to the Foreign Service Academy for a one-year training program in Badagry Lagos from 2019 to 2020. On completion of the training I was re-deployed to the same aforementioned office before I got posted to Australia for one year attachment training, arrived in Australia in April, 2022 and was deployed to the Consular Desk. In Nigeria’s system, officers on training are expected to work in all departments of the Mission they are posted to. As it is one-year training programme, officers are to move from one department to another at least after three months to learn and develop their skills. From the Consular Department I moved to Economic, Trade and Investment, political and Education, Tourism and Culture Departments. I hope to learn enough in the field of foreign relations, especially the basic link between the pacific region and Africa and Australia in particular. and therefore, how to be an exemplary leader in all fields. This is my ultimate ambition as a member of the ELAAD Program.

Tholwana Kereeditse

Tholwana Kereeditse graduated from the University of Botswana (UB) in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts Social Sciences (Political Science and Public Administration). Since graduation, I served as a Teaching Assistant at UB in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies. I am currently completing my Master of Arts Politics and International Relations at UB. On the 1st of February 2023 I started my six months internship at the AFREXIMBANK, Egypt. As a student of International Relations, I seek to become an expert in security of African countries and uncover the many complex ways in which regionalism affects security of African countries. I found the ELAAD Program essential to my career as it would guide me in accumulating knowledge on coming up with pioneering security policies intended to enrich the relations between the African continent and Australia. I found it important for me as a young African (and Motswana) to learn and provide effective policies and solution to Africa and most importantly Botswana to benefit and contribute towards the Australia-Africa relations. This opportunity makes it possible to be part of an African cluster that emanates ideas and solutions intended to attain SDG and Africa’s agendas.

Mpiriirwe Rinah

I am a teaching assistant in the Department of International Business and Trade, Faculty of Marketing and International Business at Makerere University Business School (MUBS), Uganda. I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) at Makerere University Business School. The ELAAD program provides an opportunity to understand international diplomacy and relations deeper. Being a holder of a Bachelors in International Business, this program will provide a wider knowledge base that can be used in facilitating some of the course units offered in my department for example Multilateral Trading Systems, International Business Negotiations, Business in Emerging Markets, International Business Environment, to mention but a few. This will help me to share the appropriate knowledge with my students who are international Business scholars. This program is also an opportunity for African countries and Australia to strengthen their relations through continuous transfer of knowledge that will develop the young leaders and ensure that the future of the 2 continents diplomacy is maintained, as there is so much potential in terms of trade, technological transfer among others that can be explored through this program.  Additionally, it is an opportunity to network and benchmark on the best practices of other countries which will offer a platform for continuous development in terms of leadership especially for us the low developing countries.

Lehlogonolo Phaahla

I am working as a Professional Officer at the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. I am responsible for managing funding programmes for postgraduate students in South African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Lehlogonolo has a wealth of experience and knowledge in interdisciplinary fields such as Science Diplomacy, Public Administration, Policy Development and Analysis, Research and Support, Capacity Building, Programme and Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation. Lehlogonolo completed (2022) Master of Public Administration (MPA) with the University of Pretoria and holds different qualifications including Bachelor of Arts Honours, International Politics (2020) and Bachelor of Arts, International Relations and Diplomacy (2019) from the University of South Africa, as well as Bachelor of Science Honours, Aquaculture (2012) and Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Life Sciences (2011) from the University of Limpopo. I believe that the ELAAD Program will provide me with essential skills and competencies required, in terms of addressing global, continental and regional challenges.

Fiston Masichwe

Fiston Emidy Masichwe is a MAdmin (Public Management and Policy) student at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He holds a BAdmin Honours in Public Administration (2020) and a Bachelor of Arts in Government, Administration, and Development (2021), both from the University of South Africa. Fiston is the recipient of the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Programme 2022 cohort. He was also awarded the Erasmus + Credit Mobility Scholarship by the School of Public Management and Administration (SPMA) to spend time at the University of Minho, Portugal, where he is currently pursuing his mobility. Fiston is from Tanzania, and his main aspiration is to become a university professor with the ability and expertise to advance knowledge among the next generation of African leaders. Hence, his choice to participate in the ELAAD programme, where experts' knowledge is shared by highly qualified professionals who engage in meaningful discussions to derive solutions to the challenges facing Africa within the framework of Africa Australia Diplomacy. 

Rania Makarious

Rania Makarious was selected to be part of the diverse cohort network of Emerging Leaders in Australia-Africa Diplomacy fellowship program led by Curtin University in Australia. She is currently a diplomat at the Embassy of Egypt in Canberra, Australia. Rania has an accumulative 10 years of work experience in the field of diplomacy. In addition, she has a multidisciplinary educational background which is well suited to the program’s interdisciplinary approach and methodology. She attained a Graduate Certificate in International Studies from the University of Queensland, Australia. Rania is also a holder of a Master Degree in Law (LL.M) from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, in Canada. She aspires to impact people’s lives through the fields of poverty alleviation and educational empowerment. Aside from work and academics, Rania loves travelling, and enjoys sports, she is also a certified Pilates Instructor.

Hamish Sneyd

I am working as a Research Team Member for an Aboriginal-owned consultancy firm, conducting policy research and program evaluations for state and federal government. My work has taken me to regional and remote communities throughout Australia where I have conducted research on First Nations treaty-making, health and social programs, and other community initiatives. Based in Perth, Western Australia, I am also completing my Master’s degree in International Relations and National Security at Curtin University. As an ELAAD Program Fellow, I am hoping to enhance my understanding of Australia-Africa relations, as well as identify opportunities for increased and long-lasting ties, through existing and emerging avenues such as culture and sport. I am also looking forward to establishing positive working relationships and connections with other ELAAD Fellows. Through collaborative engagement with Fellows and guest speakers, I hope to contribute to an extensive network of young Australian and African leaders.

Edward Kitokezi

I am currently completing my Master’s degree in International Relations at Monash University. Specializing in political violence and counter-terrorism has not been the most cheerful of topics; however, I am motivated to better understand the nature and dynamics of conflicts in order to develop effective countermeasures and solutions. To achieve my goals in this area, I have experience negotiating and communicating complex ideas to diverse audiences, and I am currently working in policy and compliance at an international aid agency. Through the ELAAD program, I hope to gain the opportunity to share and learn from the insights of other fellows. In addition, I am keen to be exposed to experts in a variety of fields that work to promote international cooperation and understanding between Africa and Australia. I believe this can help promote new areas of cooperation beneficial to both parties towards a positive global impact.

Khumoetsile Sethibe

My name is Khumoetsile Sethibe, I am a Botswana Diplomat serving in Australia, Canberra as a Second Secretary. I have a Degree in Public Administration and Political Science, and I have four years serving as a Foreign Affairs Officer, and this is my first posting. The Emerging Leaders in Australia-Africa Diplomacy (ELAAD) Program is relevant to my work portfolio, and I am looking forward to attaining more knowledge and skills from it. The program offers an opportunity for me to gather knowledge, expertise on foreign policy issues, and ideas on meaningful socio-cultural exchanges for enhancing international relations between the African continent and Australia. The Program also gives us a platform as the youth, to think and act as future leaders and develop innovative ideas, in the field of diplomacy for the benefit of our countries. The Program further has a capacity to give us direction as Diplomats on how we can re-engage as continents, Australia and Africa, on key cooperation issues to promote research and development, as well as innovation in areas such as education, agriculture, health, transport and energy. 

Levina Govender

My name is Levina Govender and I currently work in the Training and Research Section at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa. I completed my Masters Degree in International Relations in 2021 from the University of Leicester, which focused on conflict management on the African continent. I also served as the First Secretary Political at the South African Embassy in Senegal. I joined the ELAAD programme to learn more about Australia’s revitalised relations with Africa. There is a lot of focus on Africa’s partnerships with other countries and regions, but I believe that Australia and Africa have a lot to offer each other across different sectors. My hope is that the ELAAD programme will provide young people from Australia and Africa the opportunity to break through barriers and stereotypes to form a genuine understanding of each other, and contribute to a better world. 

Matilda Chunga

My name is Matilda Triumph Chunga Joshua, I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malawi as a Protocol Officer in 2013 and went on to study international relations at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, from 2015 to 2017. Presently, I am serving as First Secretary at the Malawi Embassy in Tokyo, which is also accredited to Australia on non-resident basis.  In my line of work I am expected to keep abreast of the developments in Australia and the Pacific in order to meaningfully contribute to the shaping of Foreign Policy and strengthening of development cooperation. I am therefore delighted to be part of the inaugural ELAAD programme as it is essential to polishing my skills in the field of diplomacy. I hope to enhance my knowledge and skills, as well as network and exchange views with experts and fellow participants on how best to enhance Australia-Africa relations.

Isheanopa Fanuel Rufu

I am currently on my tour of duty serving as a Counsellor at the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Malaysia. I studied Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe and attained a Postgraduate Certificate in Climate Change from the University of Edinburgh. My studies and my career increased my interest in international relations and global developments.  I hope to gain knowledge on various issues through learning, sharing and discussing ideas with colleagues as well as resource persons. The diverse backgrounds and experiences of both participants and resource persons provide a variety of views to enrich discussions. I hope to explore further the opportunities between African countries and Australia as well as challenges and possible sustainable solutions to promote mutually beneficial relations. The network gained through engagements will be valuable as we interact virtually during and beyond the Program.

Grace Musolo

Grace Musolo is an Executive Assistant/Communication Officer at the Global Centre for Policy and Strategy (GLOCEPS) where she provides communication support to the Research and Administrative Unit. Before joining GLOCEPS, Grace was part of the EU Election Observation Mission in the Kenya 2017 Elections where she worked as the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Assistant/Interpreter. She has previously worked with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in mapping conflict in the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Her research interests include diplomacy, gender, democracy, governance, peace, security, and international development.  Grace holds an MA and BA in International Relations from US International University-Africa (USIU-A). In the Covid-19 era, the role of strategic communication was re-defined, hence the realization to strengthen relations across nations to achieve economic prosperity and knowledge sharing. I believe the ELAAD program will provide me with a balanced and informed foreign policy analysis, especially regarding Australia and Africa Relations. The program will also offer me an opportunity to interact with renowned scholars and well-seasoned practitioners drawn from diverse fields which will broaden my knowledge and discourse in the areas of communication, foreign relations, and analytical research.

Tanaka Last Jere

Tanaka graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Sociology and Political Studies from the University of Namibia and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Sociology at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. Has written and published some book chapters and newspaper articles on various matters including decolonization, the fourth industrial revolution, as well as the conflict between human rights and African cultural values. Tanaka also performed volunteer work for the Youth Decide Zimbabwe Organization, whose mission is to transform and empower the youths in Zimbabwe. Tanaka has a sincere interest in social issues and the underprivileged, especially among young people and women from rural areas. I reckon that the ELAAD program has the potential to expand knowledge that can build a multifaceted network, gain innovative ideas and policies that are significant to sociocultural interactions for the improvement of international affairs. I also believe that this program will assist in coming up with collaborative solutions to global problems which in most cases repress the underprivileged.

Fatima Rahmouni

My name is Fatima Zahra Rahmouni, I’m a Moroccan Counsellor at the Directorate of Asian Affairs and Oceania, Ministry of foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates. I have a Master’s degree in International Relations.  The Emerging Leaders in Australia-Africa Diplomacy (ELAAD) is a worthwhile program that offers junior diplomats opportunities to grasp more knowledge and expertise in Australia-Africa Relations. It is a program that gives insightful understanding of global issues that impact significantly the politics and the economy of the African continent. Moreover, ELAAD program gives us the opportunity to exchange ideas on different areas and issues with experts and senior diplomats. So, I’m hoping by the end of this program to get more knowledge in Australia-Africa relations and to be able to analyse and develop suggestions to global challenges.

Marikia Butoyi


My name is Marikia Sadika, and I currently work for the Department of Justice as part of the Human Resource team for the Security and Intelligence Division here in Melbourne Victoria Australia. Since I have started working for the department in 2021, I have had opportunities to go on secondments which have helped me build on my skills, confidence, and more knowledge regarding the Public Sector. I am also completing my Master’s in International Relations at Monash University. As an individual who comes from a minority group in Central Africa DRC Congo (Banyamulenge) who continues to face persecution this has become the driving source for my passion for my current study field. Therefore, advocating for people’s human rights is something that I have developed from a young age becoming the reason why I want to peruse a career in diplomacy and understand the international affairs in large. And through the ELAAD program I hope to learn and gain more confidence as well as expertise that I requires to be in a diplomatic career. I believe that the ELAAD program has so much to offer for so many young individuals across the globe who thrive on building their career in the international diplomacy and international affairs. 

Merhawit Hadish

My name is Merhawit Hadish Baraki, and I am a diplomat from Ethiopia. I am currently serving as the Public Diplomacy and Communication Affairs Officer at the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Pretoria, South Africa. I began my diplomatic career in 2016 as a trainee diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. I gained valuable experience working in various departments, including the Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the AU and UNECA; I also served at the Embassy of Ethiopia in Canberra. My experience during my first post in Australia opened my eyes to the significant potential for partnership between Africa and Australia and I believe the ELAAD program will deepen my understanding of both continents and explore ways in which we can engage and collaborate to find sustainable solutions to the challenges we face. I am excited about the opportunity to learn, engage with participants, and contribute to these efforts, ultimately making a positive impact.

Oumaima Ramdani

I am Oumaima Ramdani, Moroccan, born in 1999, holder of a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in public law with an interest in international humanitarian law and diplomacy in the promotion of human rights and the resolution of armed conflicts. I am currently preparing a doctoral thesis at the Mohammed 5 University in Rabat, Morocco. My research focuses on the legitimacy of private military companies under international humanitarian law. In parallel, I am a member of the Moroccan Public Diplomacy Center. Within this think tank, I am the coordinator of the research group on humanitarian diplomacy. In addition to certain activities related to the rights of children to know the values of the world, international humanitarian law remains my favorite subject. Through my academic career, I have learned how international relations and cooperation are at the heart of the economic and social development of States. As for the ELAAD program, it allowed me to project myself into very interesting perspectives for me, such as the deepening of the perception of Africa's international relations with the English-speaking world, Australia being a good example. And as Africa is today targeted by several powers (USA, China, France...), I am very interested in studies on the role of these powers on the development of the African continent.

Riley Green

Riley Green is a post-graduate student completing a double Master's degree at Monash University; the Master of International Relations and the Master of Journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from the Australian National University, Canberra. Riley recently returned to Australia after completing an internship at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia & Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand. Riley supported economic development policy formation as a member of the Macroeconomic & Financing for Development Division. Looking to the future, Riley envisions significant growth in the Australia-Africa relationship in the 21st century. With a keen interest in the cultural, social, economic and geopolitical realities of contemporary Africa, Riley is eager to forge collaborative partnerships with his colleagues on the continent and beyond, in the hope of achieving a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of the issues impacting the Australia-Africa relationship today.  

Anu Adeyemi

Anu Adeyemi is a Nigerian lawyer and legal scholar, who utilizes his honed problem-solving skills to solve problems in society. Anu holds an LLB from University of Abuja and is admitted to the Nigerian Supreme Court as a barrister and solicitor. In 2020 Anu received the ANU Chancellor’s scholarship, to further his study at Australia’s prestigious institution, the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, an institution that shares a name with him. Anu is currently completing his master’s in international law and diplomacy at ANU. As a legal scholar, Anu is dedicated to utilizing his knowledge of international law and diplomacy, to foster development in Africa and other developing regions of the world.  Anu’s research focuses on the creation of international economic law treaties through negotiation processes and how these processes can become more equitable and inclusive for countries in the Global South, and further foster their development. My ELAAD experience has been quite enriching as it has featured a rich engagement of sterling academics and diplomatic practitioners from around the world. It has also featured a dynamic array of ELAAD fellows all of whom have backgrounds that bring about a remarkable professional experience. I therefore highly recommend the ELAAD program to young professionals interested in Australia Africa diplomacy.

Abdurahman Edao

My name is Abdurahman Edao Imo. I was born in Oromia region, Ethiopia. I graduated from Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Political Science and International Relations in July 2018 and currently I am finalizing my Master of Arts (MA) thesis on Ethiopia's Foreign Policy since the demise of the military regime in 1991. Meanwhile, I am officer at the Ethiopian Customs Commission. I saw the ELAAD program as an input to my forthcoming career in diplomacy. Moreover, the program is widely significant in policy making, and communication. Hope that I will immensely contribute on the economic and political cooperation between one of the oldest African states, Ethiopia, and Australia.

Shadrack Osero

Shadrack Osero is a highly accomplished and dedicated individual with a passion for addressing global environmental challenges through interdisciplinary approaches. He completed his undergraduate studies at Kenyatta University, earning a bachelor's degree in environmental studies, and pursued a master's degree in International Affairs with a dual focus on energy policy and international public policy at Penn State University Park. Shadrack is currently pursuing a second master's degree in Business Analytics, also from Penn State.

Driven by an ardent desire to make a tangible difference in the world, Shadrack Osero aspires to work at the intersection of environmental sustainability, international relations, and business analytics. He aims to leverage his diverse skill set and interdisciplinary knowledge to drive forward evidence-based policies, foster sustainable economic practices, and promote global cooperation toward a more resilient and equitable future.

Clinton Asante

Clinton is a researcher with a specialization in social, healthcare, and academic research. He holds a Masters's in International Affairs from the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy, University of Ghana, and has previously investigated conflicts and peacebuilding, agriculture, education, migration, policy design, and implementation across Africa.  

He has worked with the Ghana Statistical Service as a Regional Trainer and District field Supervisor, particularly for the 2021 Population and Housing Census.  He has trained enumerators and supervisors in the collection of national population data. In terms of healthcare research, Clinton has worked with the Koachie Health System, a tech-savvy health informatics research firm based in Accra Ghana, and coordinated data collection for several health research projects. 

He has been a lead researcher in other private research firms such as Fantein West Africa, the Kwaaba Foundation, Buabeng Communication, Reseni Research, Social Entrepreneurs International, and the University of Ghana.

Geraldine Marie

I am Geraldine Marie, Second Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of the Republic of Mauritius, specializing in international human rights law.  I have a cumulative 10 years of experience in the diplomatic service and my previous post was at the High Commission of Mauritius in the Republic of South Africa.  I feel privileged and grateful for having been selected for this inaugural program focusing in depth on the strengthening of Australia-Africa diplomacy, which is a vast field yet to be explored.

I believe in the power of innovative platforms similar to the one created by the Australia-Africa Universities Network to generate think-tanks with a view to addressing contemporary challenges and possibly derive promising solutions through tailor-made policies, based on experiences and insights across different geographical and political contexts in view of providing sustainable and workable solutions, through applying the fundamentals of bilateral diplomacy at continental level. This would constitute a first ever strategic approach to strengthen synergies in a systematic manner across continents based on diplomatic practices which have showed results at bilateral level.

 I pay respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of our community, including elders past and present, by acknowledging the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which I live and work.