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Archived News and Media
June 2012 - Special Envoy Timothy Fischer's Visit to South Sudan
Special Envoy to the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Tim Fischer, visited South Sudan from 15 to 16 June 2012 where he held high-level meetings with the President of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Deputy Minister of International Cooperation Hon Prof Nyanlel Wakoson and Elizabeth James Bol the Deputy Minister for Petroleum and Mining.
During a press briefing, Mr. Fischer reiterated Australia’s continued support for the mining, agriculture and health sectors through $29 million to be administered this year. He also announced the provision of short courses for the capacity building of government officials as well as a strategic mineral advisor to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Mr Fischer said that South Sudan’s legislation on mining signals the country’s commitment towards responsible mining and as such, Australia would be supporting South Sudan’s bid to join the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Mining for Development Initiative.
Special Envoy Tim Fischer and the President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit
May 2012 - Special Envoy Bob McMullan's Visit to Kenya
Special Envoy to the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Bob McMullan, visited Kenya from 23 to 25 May 2012 where he held high-level meetings with senior government officials including the Prime Minister of Kenya, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga and Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Kenneth Marende. Mr McMullan also signed the Kenya-Australia Air Services Agreement at the Ministry of Transport offices, and launched the Message Stick exhibition at the National Museum.
Speaking during a media roundtable, Mr McMullan reiterated Australia’s support for Kenya’s new mining legislation and welcomed the growing number of Australian companies looking to engage in the industry.
Special Envoy Bob McMullan and Kenya Minister for Transport, Hon. Amos Kimunya at the Ministry of Transport offices for the signing of the Australia-Kenya Air Services Agreement
Special Envoy Bob McMullan signs the Air Services Agreement
Special Envoy Bob McMullan hands Hon. Amos Kimunya an Australian gift
May and June 2012 - Australia supports United Nations Peacekeeping Courses in Rwanda
Australia, in line with its commitment to supporting peacekeeping efforts around the world and in the region, hosted two UN peacekeeping courses in Rwanda.
The United Nations Senior Mission Leaders’ Course was held in Kigali from 21 May 2012 to 1 June 2012. The opening ceremony was launched by the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Rt Hon. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, and the Australian High Commissioner to Rwanda, H.E. Geoff Tooth. The Rwandan Minister for Defence, the Hon. Gen. James Kabarere; and the Chief of Defence Staff of the Rwandan Defence Force, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga also attended the opening.
During the launch High Commissioner Tooth thanked the Rwandan government for hosting the course. “Rwanda and Australia are major contributors to world peacekeeping missions, both in the number of peacekeepers we contribute and in the range of operations that we support”, he said.
The Rwandan Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Louise Mushikiwabo, attended the closing ceremony as the guest of honour together with the Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff.
The course was co-sponsored by the Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC) and the Rwanda Peace Academy, which brought together 25 participants from 17 countries. The course was aimed at preparing participants for senior appointments within multi-dimensional UN peacekeeping missions.
The International Military Observers Course was held at the Rwanda Peace Academy from 21 May 2012 to 8 June 2012. It brought together 36 military observers from Australia, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda, and was supported by the Australian government through the Australian Defence Force Peace Operations Training Centre (POTC). Speaking during the opening ceremony, High Commissioner Tooth said that it is vital that countries share their experience in security and stability operations, as peacekeeping is becoming more complex.
For more information on this story, please click on the below links.
May 2012 - Launch of the Indigenous Art Exhibition Message Stick at the Nairobi National Museum
The indigenous art exhibition, Message Stick: Indigenous Identity in Urban Australia, was launched in Nairobi on 24 May 2012 at the National Museum. The exhibition was officially opened by the Special Envoy of the Australian Prime Minister Bob McMullan, together with the High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Geoff Tooth.
Mr McMullan highlighted Australia’s diverse and culturally rich society as well as the history of Indigenous Australia. He stressed that the artworks highlighted the struggle Indigenous Australians had faced since Australia was colonised and continue to face today.
Mr McMullan also highlighted the achievements that have been made by Aborigines, through their traditional and contemporary art which has been recognised internationally and has become a major feature of Australian culture.
Australian indigenous musician, Mr Chris Williams gave a performance of the didgeridoo, a traditional instrument that depicts the various sounds heard in the Australian outback.
To view photos of the art exhibition launch at the National Museum, please click here.
December 2011 - Australian High Commissioner H.E. Geoff Tooth speaks on Australia's contribution to food security in Kenya
H.E. Geoff Tooth recently spoke to Australian journalists who were in Kenya researching and documenting on efforts to support food security in Africa and Australia's financial contribution and expertise to these efforts. He highlighted the dire situation of the worst-hit areas of the famine, adding that the various capacity building projects funded by Australia will have long-term effects on food security in the country and the region at large.
August 2011 - High Commissioner and Australian volunteers take public HIV tests in Kenya
The Australian High Commissioner to Kenya, AusAID staff and Australian Volunteers for International Development working in Kenya took public HIV tests at a celebrity testing event in Nairobi on Friday, 5th August 2011.
The Australian High Commissioner to Kenya H.E. Geoff Tooth took a public HIV test together with his wife Joanne at Liverpool VCT Care and Treatment (LVCT), an indigenous Kenyan non-governmental and non-for-profit organisation.
“Joanne and I are delighted to help promote HIV prevention by being publicly tested and hope it encourages other couples from all walks of Kenyan life to do the same,” said High Commissioner Tooth. “HIV testing is vital for the public health of all nations whether it be my homeland of Australia or my new home in Kenya”.
LVCT’s celebrity HIV testing project profiles leaders taking the test to encourage more people to know their HIV status. They’ll join other celebrities tested, such as US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama who were tested by LVCT in Kisumu in 2006.
LVCT’s Communications Officer and Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) Stephanie Raison helped organise the event.
“Before I came to Kenya I thought that taking a HIV test was only necessary if I’d been exposed to some sort of risk, however I now know the importance of knowing my status and also the status of my sexual partners. I’d encourage everyone, regardless of their age or where they come from to take a HIV test,” she said.
LVCT’s Executive Director Dr Nduku Kilonzo said they were honoured that the Australian High Commissioner is supporting their work as leaders in HIV testing and counseling. “HIV testing and counseling is the biggest revolution in HIV prevention. But we also know the biggest challenge in HIV prevention today is couples…so please go to get tested and know your HIV status together with your partner,” she said.
Supporting the push for more couples testing together was Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) Mieke Bourne who took the test together with her partner Julio Zacatzi. “Having the test as a couple is very important for openness and for the trust in a relationship and it’s a really important stage in being really clear with one another,” she said.
The Australian Celebrity Testing Event coincided with the AYAD Program’s first year in Kenya. Some 13 Australian Volunteers for International Development working in Kenya also took public HIV tests. They join the some 2.5 million people that have already been directly tested by LVCT.
“I got a little bit nervous even though I get tested regularly but I suppose every time is a bit nerve wracking…but the counselor was really nice and the atmosphere is relaxing in there so by the time I got my result I was fine,” said newly arrived AYAD Holly Ireland.
The Australian High Commissioner to Kenya Mr. Geoff Tooth taking a HIV test together with his wife Joanne. They're being tested by Lucy Njuki, LVCT Home Based Testing and Counseling Coordinator.
Ms Joanne Stirling, the High Commissioner's wife, being tested
(L-R) Jane Thiomi, LVCT Manager Nairobi Region; Lisa Staruszkiewicz AusAID First Secretary, Community Partnerships and Scholarships East and Horn of Africa; Patricia Oluoch Technical Advisor and LVCT Activity Manager, CDC Kenya; Joanne Stirling; H.E Mr. Geoff Tooth, The Australian High Commissioner to Kenya; Dr Nduku Kilonzo, LVCT Executive Director; Dr Lilian Otiso LVCT Director HIV Services; Joshua Olang' LVCT Director of Operations.