A celebratory atmosphere marked the reception function hosted by HE Mr Matthew Neuhaus, Australian High Commissioner, in honour of the 2014 cohort of Australia Awards Alumni ambassadors in Africa. About 120 Lusaka-based Alumni and dignitaries attended the function held on 24 June at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka to celebrate their nomination.
Building on the success of the initiative launched in 2013, 12 Alumni ambassadors across 12 nations on the African continent were nominated in 2014 to support Australia’s Scholarship program and advance its objective of promoting development through education and training in Africa.
Opening the event, High Commissioner Neuhaus congratulated incoming Alumni ambassadors for their nomination and spoke about the key role they play in the Australia-Africa partnership.
“You were chosen to build bridges of understanding between Australia and Africa. […]. Australia’s commitment to Africa is strong and you can help make it stronger,” said High Commissioner Neuhaus.
Speaking at the ceremony, Jamie Isbister, Minister Counsellor for Development Cooperation in Africa at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), delivered a similar message.
“Australia Awards is not only about opportunities for individuals, but also about building the legacy, the networks and the long-term relationship between Australia and Africa. Alumni ambassadors are a central part of maintaining the long-term legacy of this relationship,” said Minister Counsellor Isbister.
Also present at this reception was Alumnus Rodger Chongwe, a living testimony of the long-standing relationship between Australia and Africa. Mr Chongwe was one of the first Zambians who benefited from an Australian Government-funded Scholarship back in the early 1960s. He spoke about his experience in Australia, as well as his inspirational personal story.
“I am grateful to see that so many Africans have benefited from the generosity of Australia […]. I believe we can achieve so much from interacting with other people. We can see here today a demonstration of the interaction between Australia and Africa,” he reflected.
Representing the Government of Zambia, Mr Alfonso Banda, Director of Human Resources Development in the Public Service Management Division, expressed gratitude for the Australian Government’s support to capacity development in Zambia and congratulated Alumni ambassadors for taking on this role. He also emphasised his Office’s commitment to working with Timothy Moono, Alumni ambassador for Zambia, in order to achieve the shared goal of promoting development through education and training.
In his remarks at the event, Timothy enthusiastically spoke about areas of focus for his tenure and stressed his confidence in the success of the Alumni Ambassadors initiative.
“I believe that this initiative can and will indeed enhance the attainment of Australia Awards’ goal of supporting African development, and I am committed to contributing to it in my role as Alumni ambassador for Zambia,” added Timothy.
The Ambassadors – Ndibo Joyce Monyatsi (Botswana), Hamere Tadege Tadesse (Ethiopia), Ismael Nii Adjei Browne (Ghana), Angela Nyambura Gichaga (Kenya), Désiré Alphonse Rakotondravaly (Madagascar), Samson Ngutwa (Malawi), Deeptee Korlapu Bungaree (Mauritius), Ana Charles (Mozambique), Chikezie Isiguzo (Nigeria), Nompumelelo Radebe (South Africa), Patrick Barugahare (Uganda) and Timothy Moono (Zambia) – were nominated by Australian Ambassadors and High Commissioners based in Africa. They have been appointed for a one-year term, with the possibility of extension.
The Alumni Ambassadors initiative is one in a suite of activities offered by Australia Awards as part of its commitment to remain engaged and provide further professional development opportunities to its Alumni.