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The Australian High Commission wil be closed on Friday 22 August 2014 as from 14.30 pm and will resume normally on Monday 25.
Death of Ms Sandra Lianne Vegting, Former Australian High Commissioner to Mauritius and Seychelles and former Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros
Friends and colleagues will be deeply saddened to learn that Ms Sandra Vegting, former High Commissioner to Mauritius, to the Seychelles and Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros, passed away on 17 August 2014 after a brief battle with cancer. She was only 51 years old.
Sandra joined the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1987 as a Graduate Trainee. She was posted to Athens (1989-92), Cairo (1995-98), Brussels (2003-06) and as the High Commissioner to Mauritius (2011-14). She also had many important appointments in Canberra including Adviser to the then Foreign Minister Downer (1999-2002).
Sandra loved her time as High Commissioner in Port Louis and the feeling was mutual – she was very popular with her staff and was well known and much-loved by local Ministers, officials and the Australian and local communities in Mauritius, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Comoros.
She especially enjoyed championing a diverse range of DAP projects, including a circus activity program for street children in Madagascar, English language training for an enterprising young female Vanilla grower in the Comoros - who now exports to Queensland, and setting up a vocational training bakery in the Mauritius women's prison. These programs will continue to touch lives in the region for years to come.
Sandra was a warm and genuine person. She was one of a kind who will be missed by many.
A Condolence Book will be placed at the reception of the High Commission of Australia in Port Louis for those wishing to record their thoughts. The Condolence Book will be opened from Wednesday 20 August to Friday 5 September from 0900 to 1500 hrs.
The High Commission will hold a special memorial service at the St James Cathedral in Port Louis at 3.00 pm on Friday 22 August 2014.
Australian High Commission, Port Louis
Visit of eleven volunteer from the Albion Park Anglican (Church in the Diocese of Sydney) to Mauritus
A group of Eleven Australian volunteers from the Albion Park Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney have spent two weeks in Mauritius undertaking volunteer community work with NGOs including SOS children's village at Beau Bassin, elder-care homes and kids clubs in local community churches. Pastor Eric Ma Fatt of St Pauls, Plaine Verte, was sponsored to study at Moore Theological College in Sydney by five Australian Churches in 2010, forging the link with Pastor Steve Roberts of Albion Park, a link which has grown and led to hosting the group's visit to Mauritius. The Australian High Commissioner hosted a morning tea for the group on July 9. Acknowledging the strong community and people-to-People links between Mauritius and Australia, the group shared some of the highlights of their visit including puppet shows given at the children's village.
High Commissioner Coles with her daughter and Australian volunteers from the Albion Park Anglican Church
Australia and Mauritius partner to address Gender Based Violence
The Australian High Commission and the Mauritian Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare partnered to support the visit of Senior Sergeant, Melinda Edwards, from Alice Springs Police Prosecutions Section of the Northern Territory Police earlier this month. The visit took place from 29 June to 5 July 2014.
During her visit, Senior Sergeant Edwards conducted a series of workshops and training sessions that were focussed on addressing issues of Gender Based Violence in Mauritius. Participants included local police officers, officers of the Ministries of Gender Equality and Health and representatives of the NGO sector. Edwards also had meetings with the Commissioner of Police, the Director of the Public Prosecutions Office, the State Law Office, the Law Reform Commission and members of the Women in Uniform network.
The High Commission also organised a panel discussion on Domestic Violence in collaboration with the Charles Telfair Institute. Panelists included Senior Sergeant Edwards, Ms Tina Westra, Australian Federal Agent Adviser for the UNODC’s Maritime Crime Programme - Indian Ocean Division, the US Ambassador to Mauritius – H.E. Ms Shari Villarosa, the Head of Family Welfare and Protection Unit of the Ministry of Gender Equality – Mrs J. Bhunjun, the former Francophone Director of Regional NGO, Gender Links – Mrs Loga Virahsawmy, Ms Annick Gebert of the Chrysalid Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence and Mr Adarsh Goburdhan from local NGO, Men Against Violence.
High Commissioner Coles with Senior Sergeant Edwards, First Secretary and Consul López de Herd and AFP Adviser Westra
Australia and the UNODC support regional training in Maritime Crime and Criminal Justice
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) delivered a specialised legal training course on Maritime Crime and Criminal Justice in Mauritius from 9 – 13 June which was funded by Australia. Participants included judges, prosecutors and legislative advisors from Mauritius, Seychelles, Kenya and Tanzania.
The five day training course brought together 23 participants from Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius and Tanzania who work in the justice sector with responsibilities involving maritime crime and justice. The course covered a range of topics from the fundamentals of international law and the law of the sea through to specific maritime crime issues such as piracy, drug trafficking at sea and human trafficking. This was the second time in 2014 that this course was delivered in Mauritius by the UNODC and funded by Australia.
The course was delivered by two Australian academics with substantial expertise in maritime law and security issues: Professor Stuart Kaye, Director of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong and Associate Professor David Letts, Co-Director of the Centre for Military and Security Law at ANU College of Law, together with Australian and New Zealand legal advisors from UNODC.
High Commissioner Coles with course participants, Australian trainers and UNODC Programme Officer
In Madagascar, Ambassador Coles visits a primary school supported with funds from the Embassy's Direct Aid Program
In Madagascar in early June during her visit to present her credentials, the Ambassador and the Political Economic Officer visited the Ambalavato Anpanataovana school supported with funds from the Embassy's Direct Aid Program (DAP). The Madagascar Development Fund built the school in conjunction with local volunteers which enables street children aged from four to fourteen to have their first experience of regular schooling.
Political Economic Officer Romeo with children from Anpanataovana school
Ambassador Coles also met with members of the Australian business community in Madagascar, including Perth-based junior mining company Toliara Sands, seen her at the recent Salon des Mines expo with new Malagasy President Hery Rajaonarimampianina.
Southern Queensland NGO Project Madagascar celebrates Ten years and Third Primary School Project
Also in early June, Ambassador Coles visited the third Community Learning Centre (CLC) at Itaosy, a suburb of Antananarivo. The CLCs have been funded primarily through grass-roots fund-raising in Toowoomba and the South-West Queensland region of Australia, but have also received support from the Australian Embassy's Direct Aid Program. The visit was hosted by local partners who lead the project, Pastor Hery, Pastor Hasinaand, Senior Supervising teacher Ben Andrianasoloniaina and Construction Coordinator Tovo Randrianantenaina. Pictured below are the visits hosts, Ambassador Coles, and teachers and students of the CLC-Iatosy kindergarten class. On his way to Madagascar to celebrate ten years of Project Madagascar's efforts to build primary schools and train leaders, staff and project managers, Chief Operating Officer for Project Madagascar Andreas Helwig visited the Embassy to give a presentation to staff on the project's achievements. "The leaders, staff and students are quite remarkable, and the educational program and materials are very professional, to international standards. It is a tribute to the Aussies who make a difference, and to the Malagasy communities involved."
Ambassador Coles also visited a second school funded by Australian NGO 'Project Madagascar"
Seychelles President recognises Australian Funded SIDS Community Adaptation Program in the Seychelles
The High Commissioner visited the Seychelles to join National Day celebrations on June 18, and whilst there visited the National Agricultural Fair held on Praslin Island from 13-14 June. This featured an Australian Government funded project using Australian equipment to monitor local salinity levels in coastal farming. This is an Australian funded SIDs Community Adaptation project administered through UNDP and GEF.
The Seychelles President visiting the Australian Government funded farm coop stall of the Baie St Anne Farmers.
Comoros Women's Economic Empowerment: An SME Success Story
Comoros entrepreneur and SME proprietor, Madame Siti Chihabiddine, founder of vanilla production company Vaniacom Sarl, had contracts and business contacts in countries already enjoying strong links to the tiny francophone nation of the Comoros, but was seeking opportunities in new markets, including anglophone countries such as Australia. With the assistance of an Australia Award for a short course in English language, she succeeded negotiating a contract in Queensland shortly after completion of her studies. Her vanilla product is of the highest standard and has received organic certification in France, Switzerland and the US. During her credentials visit, Ambassador Coles attended a village ceremony to hand over equipment supported by a Direct Aid Program grant to a vanilla growers cooperative, established by Madame Siti. In establishing this cooperative, to pool market knowledge, equipment and expertise, this successful woman entrepreneur has been able to share her success with others in her community.
Madame Siti Chihabiddine and Ambassador Coles visiting the Vaniacom production facility near Moroni, on the island of Grand Comores
Members of Madame Siti's village share her success
Ambassador Coles presents her credentials to the President of the Republic of Madagascar
On 4 June 2014, Ambassador Susan Coles presented her letters of credence to the President of the Republic of Madagascar, H.E. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, accrediting her as Australia's new Ambassador to Madagascar.
Ambassador Coles presenting her credentials to President Rajaonarimampianina
Ambassador Coles presents her credentials to the President of the Union of Comoros
On 6 May 2014, Ambassador, Susan Coles, presented her letters of credence to the President of the Comoros, H.E Dr Ikililou Dhoinine, accrediting her as Australia's new Ambassador to the Union of Comoros.
Ambassador Coles presenting her credentials to President Dhoinine
On 7 March 2014, High Commissioner, Susan Coles, presented her letters of credence to the President of Mauritius H.E Mr Rajkeswur Purryag GCSK,GOSK, accrediting her as Australia's new High Commissioner to Mauritius.
High Commissioner Coles presenting her credentials to President Purryag
Australia supports counter-piracy and maritime security efforts in the Indian Ocean
On 18 March 2014, the High Commissioner, Susan Coles, signed a funding agreement with the Co-Director of the Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS3), Gary Crone. The funding agreement, which is worth AUD40,000 and supports capacity building and learning and development initiatives related to REFLECS3 activities in combatting maritime piracy, was signed at the REFLECS3 headquarters in Seychelles.
Last year Australia signed a detainee transfer arrangement with the Seychelles for the transfer of suspected pirates and their property to the Seychelles.
Two Australians are currently on secondment to REFLECS3 as Learning and Development Officer and Programme Officer (Counter Piracy) under the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Maritime Crime Program.
Earlier this year, Australia funded two courses in Maritime Crime and Law Enforcement and Maritime Crime and Correctional Administration through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for police and prison officers from Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles and Mauritius. The courses were conducted at the University of Seychelles. Academics from a number of universities in Australian states (New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia) provided valuable support in the development of the subject content.
High Commissioner Coles signs funding agreement with Co-Director of REFLECS3, Gary Crone
High Commissioner Coles with Colonel Barbe from the Seychelles Protection Vessel Team
High Commissioner Coles presents her credentials to the Seychelles President
On 18 March 2014, High Commissioner, Susan Coles, presented her letters of credence to the President of the Republic of Seychelles, HE James A Michel, accrediting her as Australia's new High Commissioner to Seychelles.
High Commissioner Coles, presenting her credentials to President Michel.
Australia supports the establishment of a Women in Uniform network in Mauritius
The Australian High Commissioner, Ms Susan Coles, celebrated International Women's Day in Mauritius by hosting a lunch at her residence on 13 March 2014 where she launched a project for the establishment of a network of "Women in Uniform". During her introductory speech, Ms Coles highlighted Australia's engagement in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. A copy of a new publication by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs - "Improving Economic Outcomes for Women" was presented to the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, the Hon Mireille Martin, who was the High Commission's Guest of Honour for the event.
Australian High Commission Notices:
FOR SALE BY TENDER
Vehicle offered for sale “as is” by invitation of sealed bid in excess of Rs350,000 at the Australian High Commission, Port Louis.
Model: CRV DOHC 16 Valves
Colour: Blueish Silver
Transmission: Automatic, 5 speed
Mileage: 81958 kms
Features: 4-stroke DOHC, 16-valve in-line 4-cylinder; Fully Executive, cloth interior; Integrated CD player Mp3 & tuner. Power steering; Air-conditioning; Power mirrors; Remote central door locking; Front and rear electric windows; Agency serviced (by EAL Man Hin).
Tender forms may be collected at the reception of the Australian High Commission, 2nd Floor, Rogers House, President John Kennedy Street, Port Louis on weekdays, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm or can be downloaded here.
• Completed bid forms must be sealed in an envelope marked “Honda CRV”
• Bids should reach the Australian High Commission in Port Louis no later than 15:00 hrs on 30 August 2014
• Conditional bids will be automatically rejected
Australian High Commission's Direct Aid Program: Call for project Proposals
The Australian High Commission applications for project funding, under its Direct Aid Program, for Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros and Madagascar is now open. The Australian High Commission encourages local NGOs to send project proposals for consideration by 31 July 2014.
All applications are to be sent to the following addresses: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (please note that emails exceeding 4mb will not be received).
For any additional information, kindly contact: Yasmina Hosanoo, Political/ Public Affairs Officer at the Australian High Commission on (230) 202 0167 or by email: email@example.com
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust was established at the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia to celebrate the Queen's 60 years of contribution to the Commonwealth. The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust will raise funds to eradicate avoidable blindness in commonwealth countries and assist the development of young leaders. Please click on the following link to read the message from the Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia - plut/Jubilee1.html
More information on the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is available on www.jubileetrust.org.au
Call for participation: African Women in Leadership Group Network
The African Women in Leadership Network is an exciting opportunity for you to join other Alumnae across Africa to increase opportunities and provide support for women Awardees from your country. This group will also offer a chance for successful women like you to engage in discussions on issues affecting women and to share your valuable insights for the advancement of African women.
Membership is open to all Australia Awards/Australian Development Scholarships (ADS) African Alumnae and registration is open all year round.
Further information on this new initiative is available on http://www.australiaawardsafrica.org/stay-connected/alumni/
Australian High Commission, Mauritius
Become A-FAN of our alumni network!
Have you studied in Australia?
Would you like to meet other islanders of the Indian Ocean who studied in Australia?
Would you like to maintain your contact with Australia through establishing a link with the Australian High Commission in Port Louis?
Would you like to attend events and seminars organised by the Australian High Commission about Australia and the opportunities it offers?
THEN SIGN UP TO JOIN THE "AUSTRALIA-INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS ALUMNI NETWORK" (A-FAN) AND BECOME A FAN OF AUSTRALIA!
The Australian High Commission to Mauritius and Seychelles and Australian Embassy to Madagascar and Comoros is creating a network of students from Indian Ocean Islands who have studied at an Australian university or tertiary institution at undergraduate or postgraduate level. If you have followed a course in Australia or an exchange program between Mauritius/Seychelles/Madagascar/ Comoros and Australia, please click here to send us your name, the course/ program you were enrolled in, the institution/s where you studied and the date/s, your current occupation and residential address, and confirm that you would like to be on our mailing list.
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