20 September 2012

Academics in UQ’s School of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS), and its Asia- Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, have been helping to improve the diplomacy and conflict resolution skills of our neighbours in Africa.

UQ's main commercialisation company, UniQuest Pty Limited, was awarded a contract for the delivery of Regional Diplomacy Training Programs through 2012 and 2013, following the success of the program in 2011.

POLSIS has now delivered to nearly 240 participants from across 43 African nations – including the world’s newest nation, South Sudan.

These courses are funded by the Australian Government through AusAID and sit under the programming of the Australia Africa Partnerships Facility.

The objective of the African Regional Diplomacy Training Program is to provide participants with the additional knowledge, skills and networks to contribute to the effectiveness of their respective Foreign Service Agencies.

General Manager of International Development at UniQuest, Mr Mel Dunn, believes this has been a significant and strategic program for UniQuest, POLSIS and UQ.

“As a whole, this program has led to expansion across Africa positioning UniQuest/UQ as the single largest course provider in support of AusAID programming,” he said.

Similar to other regional diplomacy programs delivered by UniQuest/UQ and their African delivery partners, these courses build upon the concept of the work plan on return – encouraging participants to reflect on how they will use the knowledge and skills gained during the course within their workplace.

The applied teaching program includes fundamental work skills required for leadership, communications, improved policy-making and delivery in the context of diplomatic work.

A key element in ensuring that course design, development and delivery of the Regional Diplomacy Training Program is relevant to the African context and contributes to the wider development agenda is UniQuest/UQ’s partnerships with key African institutions.

These include the University of Pretoria, South Africa, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana, and the Foreign Services Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.

To date courses have been delivered in Pretoria, Lagos, Accra, Nairobi and at UQ.

A course participant from the Ivory Coast said the improvement of his knowledge in negotiation would strengthen his professional ability as a diplomat anytime, anywhere, and in any specific issue.

“I really appreciated the welfare support, the lecture quality, the courses and the link which has been created between UniQuest/UQ and us, and overall, between Australia and our countries,” he said.

Media: Mr Mel Dunn (UniQuest), email m.dunn@uniquest.com.au, phone 3365 4037 or Helen Burdon (Marketing and Communications, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences), email h.burdon@uq.edu.au, phone 3346 9279.

September 17 to 21 is Research Week 2012 at UQ, one of Australia's premier learning and research institutions. For more information visit: www.uq.edu.au/research-week