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Addis Ababa University becomes AAUN member

AAUN

The Addis Ababa University joined Australia-Africa Universities Network (AAUN) members.

On Friday 17 November 2017 Dr David Mickler (University of Western Australia, UWA) and Australian Ambassador to Ethiopia H.E. Mark Sawers met with the senior leadership of Addis Ababa University (AAU) at their main campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss AAU’s incoming membership of the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN). The warm and collegial meeting was with Academic Vice President, Dr Jeilu Oumer, and Director of the Office of External Relations, Partnerships and Communications, Dr Demeke Achiso.

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L to R: Dr Demeke Achiso, Dr Jeilu Oumer, Dr David Mickler, and Ambassador Mark Sawers
Dr Mickler welcomed AAU’s membership of AAUN, explained the background and aims of the AAUN, its membership and governance structures, its priority research themes, its annual for and other workshops, and the annual PRDF seed funding process.

He noted that membership of AAUN brings a wide range of research collaboration opportunities as well as other benefits, such as enhanced opportunities for negotiating bilateral exchanges and mobility between member universities, while a post-doctoral scheme was being piloted between selected AAUN members. He indicated that AAUN was currently developing its Strategic Plan 2018-20.
Ambassador Sawers, who had earlier facilitated the signing by AAU of an Expression of Interest to join AAUN (attached), explained the strong support provided to AAUN by the Australian Government, including by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other departments, agencies and centers, and reiterated the clear opportunities presented by enhanced collaboration with the Australian education sector, including via AAUN.

He indicated that a delegation by AAUN member Curtin University (Perth), which has a leading School of Mines, would also be visiting Addis in the coming weeks. He explained the increasing concentration of resources, people and attention during Australia’s annual “Africa Week” in Perth and invited Dr Jeilu and an AAU delegation to attend in late August 2018.
Dr Jeilu indicated his appreciation for the visit and efforts to engage with AAU and his
enthusiasm about joining AAUN. He outlined a number of areas in which AAU had research strengths and interests in collaborating through international partnerships, including networks like AAUN. These areas include education capacity building, agriculture and food security, environmental change, public health, natural resources, and the social sciences.

He also indicated the desire of AAU to take advantage of potential opportunities for reciprocal exchanges of staff and students among members of the network, including for professional development and research training.
Dr Mickler indicated a number of specific upcoming opportunities for engagement, including the AAUN Africa Forum in Cape Town (3 Dec 2017), the joint AAUN-ACIAR-DFAT Food Security Forum in Nairobi (20-22 March 2018), the AAUN Australia Forum in Perth (27-28 Aug, 2018) as well as the opening of the next PRDF seeding funding round in January 2018. Dr Mickler discussed the University of Western Australia’s own areas of research strength and collaboration with African universities through the UWA Africa Research Cluster and AAUN.

Dr Jeilu indicated that he would try to attend or send a delegate to the upcoming events, and was looking forward to the opportunity for AAUN researchers to participate in discussions on potential PRDF projects with relevant network members. He would ensure that awareness of AAUN and particularly the upcoming PRDF funding announcement and guidelines would be distributed and promoted through the university’s departments.