Celebrating the Cultures and Successes of Africa Australians and the New Africa
“Serving all Victorians”
Each year, Africa Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the peoples and governments of Africa. In 2013, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the African Union was celebrated around the world. Being the second year for Africa Day Melbourne celebrations, the weeklong events are now a permanent part of Melbourne’s social calendar. Africa Day in Australia is an opportunity to celebrate African cultural diversity and unity as well as the economic, spiritual, moral, social and cultural contributions and successes of Australians from African descent. Africa Day events highlight the benefits African/Australians bring to Australia and the importance of Africa to Australia and the world.
A central aim of the Africa Day organising committee is the fostering of cooperation and partnerships between diverse Australian African communities, NGOs, the broader Australian community and the international community. The networking focused on peace building, collaboration and development within the social, cultural and economic arena. An additional aim promotes fulfilment of the human potential by fostering individual empowerment, loving families and the public good.
The week long celebrations covered several activities that began with the Emerge Street Festival on the 18 May; in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria, showcasing local African performing arts talent.
Hon Kevin Rudd MP
The Inaugural Africa Day, Australian-African Dialogue lecture was given by the Honourable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia on the 21st of May. This lecture was made possible through a partnership between La Trobe University’s Centre for Dialogue, the Africa Day Steering Committee and the Africa Think Tank. Mr Rudd spoke on the topic of ‘Africa – Australia Relations: Challenges and prospects’. As both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr Rudd’s extensive experience and knowledge on this topic was evident. Australia is a good friend of Africa; diplomatically and economically. This support paid off with Australia gaining a seat at the UN Security Council through Africa’s backing, Mr Rudd said. He also made the case for Africa’s emerging economy and the opportunities this affords Australia. Mr Rudd conveyed, “Part of the mission of this dialogue is to convey this basic economic message to Australia’s businesses: that Africa is open for business and that African governments have progressively achieved improved governance standards ever the past decade. Therefore, the key basis of the ‘New Africa’ as part of the global dynamics and changes means that Africa is a diverse continent of increasing importance to the world. In geopolitical terms, African countries have increasing influence on international organisations. In resources terms, Africa has vast reserves. In trading terms, the African population represents a huge potential market; and in agricultural terms, Africa’s under-utilised arable lands represent great opportunities to feed the world. Africa also continues to face significant challenges, particularly in health, governance and economic development.” Following a visit to Africa in 2009, the President of the World Bank, Mr Robert Zoellick, called for the 21st century to be ‘the century of Africa’. Many other advanced countries are turning their attention towards Africa. It is imperative; therefore, that Australia understands these developments and responds accordingly Mr Rudd said.