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Jana Frey | 01.05.2020 | 528 Aufrufe | Reportagen |
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Impulse for the Humanities and Social Sciences in francophone Africa

Inauguration of the "Pilot African Postgraduate Academy" in Bamako

Strengthening research in the humanities and social sciences for the sake of academic research itself – this is the goal of the Pilot African Postgraduate Academy (PAPA) located at the Centre Point Sud in Bamako, Mali. This academy – conceptualized by Professor Elísio Macamo (Basel University) and Professor Mamadou Diawara (Frankfurt University) and funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation – was inaugurated on 2 March 2020 by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Republic of Mali, Professor Mamadou Famanta as well as the German ambassador in Mali, Dr. Dr. Dietrich Fritz Reinhold Pohl. The ceremonial address about „La question de l'Universel et les Etudes Postcoloniales“ was held by Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne, professor at Columbia University in New York.

The new training program in Mali will enable early career scholars from francophone Africa to engage with fundamental epistemological issues. As such, the academy is a reaction to the strong emphasis on applied science present on the African continent. The focus on development policy hinders the conceptual as well as methodological advancement of the humanities and social sciences. As a result, Africa is in the process of continually falling behind within the scope of global knowledge production.

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"About the Pilot African Postgraduate Academy" (PAPA)

Since 2019 the Gerda Henkel Foundation has been supporting the postgraduate academy at the “Point Sud” centre in Bamako, Mali (Pilot African Postgraduate Academy (PAPA)).

The academy is intended to strengthen basic research in the humanities and social sciences in Africa and represent it in a self-confident manner vis-à-vis other research environments. In so doing, the academy counters the prevailing trend to neglect genuine historical research in favour of an education focussing on applied/direct political and economic benefit. The academy’s goal is therefore to place a greater focus on Africa’s important role in the further development of the humanities and social sciences in consideration of its special historical circumstances and the epistemological questions posed by knowledge production in Africa.

The academy addresses up-and-coming African researchers from Francophone countries who have recently obtained their PhD. The programme envisages two workshops per year for fifteen aspiring researchers and for four established scholars. In addition to a mentoring programme at the participants’ home universities it is above all networking among the various scholars both within Africa and in the African diaspora that constitutes an important aim of the Pilot African Postgraduate Academy.

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