Dear Invited Guest:
The Association of African Universities (AAU), in collaboration with the African Union, the Government of Ghana (GoG), the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI) and the Pan African Heritage World is inviting all educational and non-educational stakeholders to the 2nd Annual AAU-Academic Diaspora Homecoming.
The overall objective of the Homecoming is to strengthen collaborations and partnerships among research and institutions of higher learning in Africa and the African Diaspora to advance quality of education and general wellbeing of all persons of African descent. This event is intended to be a major gathering of academics, policy makers, professional associations, research institutions, regional diplomatic missions and student associations from Africa and the diaspora.
Brief Background of AAU Academic Diaspora Homecoming
The AAU Academic Diaspora Homecoming was influenced by various summits, discourses and policy documents which emphasized the need for a major platform for Africa and its Academic Diaspora to engage on issues that promote the well-being of all persons of African descent. Key among such policy documents are the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25), Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024), The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), The Higher Education Summit (Dakar 2015), The Carnegie Continental Forum on Role of Diaspora in Education, Research and Innovation (Addis 2019), The Global African Diaspora Summit (Sandton, Johannesburg, 2012), AAU General Conference and Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities (COREVIP) 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Africa’s academia including the Academic diaspora are key players and instrument to facilitate achieving the African Union’s vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” It recognizes her critical role in developing and promoting knowledge societies fueled by skilled human capital. In the fast-evolving global arena, our higher education systems need to keep pace with needs relating to global research, industry needs as well as unleash synergies from strengthening the bonds among the global African family. It is in this vein that we chose as the main theme for this year’s African Academic Diaspora Homecoming, “Managing African Academic Diasporan Relations in a Fast-Evolving World”.
ST1: Strengthening Higher Education Management in Africa
The higher education sector in Africa enrols about 7% of the age cohort. Enrolment is more skewed towards the humanities as opposed to STEM education which supports rapidly evolving areas such as research and innovation needed to ensure (sustainable growth and socio-economic development. Private providers of higher education currently enrol 25% of students. The sector is also characterized by weak linkages with the productive sector and local communities which should greatly influence curriculum reforms to ensure academic programs are demand-driven (CESA 16-25).
Discussions under this sub-theme will consider areas of management which need to be strengthened to ensure our HE systems operate more efficiently and effectively. Notable areas for strengthening include management and governance, financial sustainability, regulation, accreditation, and quality assurance. The sessions will also consider expert advice on expanding and strengthening higher education infrastructure and facilities. Other areas include developing education networks among African universities and with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and predominantly black universities in the diaspora.
There will be expert discussions on strengthening academic programs. This will consider among others issues on assessing and addressing labour market needs, strengthening quality and relevance of curricula as well as modes of improving teaching methods. The session will also consider how to strengthen HEIs outreach and engagement with their local communities and other actors like civil society and governments.
ST2: Positioning African Academic & Research Institutions to Manage Global Challenges
The nineth object of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa emphasizes the need to revitalize and expand tertiary education, research, and innovation to address continental challenges and promote global competitiveness. Recent global challenges like pandemics and issues of climate change have exposed the fallibility of our academic and research institutions. It has also demonstrated the vulnerability, persons of African descent were exposed to in the face of major catastrophies. The Ebola outbreak and the very recent COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the urgency we need to attach to building the capacity of our research institutions to contain major global issues. Currently, Africa contributes about 1% of the world research output, making us a net consumer of other continents research output. Scaling up our research to address our local needs will help reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence on the research output of other countries.
There will be expert discussions on strengthening the research agenda setting process, as well as improving collaboration among universities and research institutions to improve national and international innovation ecosystems. Other areas of interest include strengthening technology development and commercialization, as well as expanding upon capacity for policy analysis.
ST3: Rollout of the African Continental Free Trade Area: Implications for Academia-Private Sector-Diasporan Collaborations
The African Continental Free Trade Area was founded in 2018 with trade commencing on 1st January, 2021. The Agreement established various protocols on Trade in Goods, Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights, Competition Policy, Rules and Procedures on the Settlements of Disputes. The AfCFTA Treaty established the biggest single market of about 1.3 billion and GDP of $3 trillion. The objects of the AfCFTA include the creation of a single and liberalized market for goods and services, facilitate movements of capital and persons.
It is not an understatement, that the skills of the Academic diaspora should be leveraged to offer vital capacity-building and training around policy issues for the AfCFTA. This is particularly relevant because of the current insufficient capacity on the continent to provide training necessary for full comprehension and analysis of various aspects of the trade agreement. African academics across the diaspora straddle various disciplines and possess diverse competencies that African countries, in turn, can leverage to gain knowledge crucial to ensuring the smooth implementation of the Free Trade Agreement. This is particularly relevant because of the current insufficient capacity on the continent to provide training necessary for full comprehension and analysis of various aspects of the trade agreement. African academics across the diaspora straddle various disciplines and possess diverse competencies that African countries, in turn, can leverage to gain knowledge crucial to ensuring the smooth implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
This session will discuss and analyse how collaborations among academia-private sector-diaspora will help achieve the objects of the free-trade area. There will be expert discussions on various aspects of the rollout of the agreement and on key areas such as trade and production integration, macro-economic and infrastructural integration as well as the free movement of people. There will also be deliberations on how African industries can be effective competitive players in the era of the 4th and 5th Industrial Revolutions. The session will deliberate on the application of ongoing automation of traditional and industrial practices using modern technology to improve our industries.
ST4: Arts, Culture, and our Heritage – Levers for Building the Africa We Want
The Africa We Want emphasizes, “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” Reference to Africa includes the 6th Region and the above theme considers among others cooperation among all persons of African descent because of our common heritage.
Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063 envisions ‘An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics’. This calls for an African cultural renaissance which is pre-eminent and that inculcates the spirit of Pan Africanism. Pan Africanism promotes political, economic, and social cooperation among all persons of African descent.
Political cooperation encourages inter-governmental cooperation among AU countries and entities in regions where African diasporan populations are part of. It also promotes the establishment of platforms for closer interaction, solidarity and effective collaboration among governments and civic groups in Africa and the diaspora.
Economic cooperation encourages developing effective regional integration mechanisms that would enhance closer interaction between the African Union and the Diaspora. It involves taking concrete measures to promote and sustain linkages between AU and the Diaspora in the priority areas of trade and investment, science and technology, travel and tourism, communication and transportation infrastructure, energy, information and communication technology and cultural industries.
The area of social cooperation considers issues relating to knowledge and education, arts and culture, media and image building, immigration, human and people rights, as well as social and cultural issues. Social cooperation encourages the establishment of African-centered institutions and programs and increased collaboration efforts between academic and research institutions in Africa and the Diaspora regions. It also considers issues relating to the coordination of cultural exchange programs between Africa and the Diaspora. It also coordinates efforts of existing media and promote new media to re-brand Africa and to counter stereotypes about Africans and people of African descent.
The session will feature expert discussions on our common heritage and the urgency for cooperation among all persons of African descent to achieve the Africa We Want.
F. Language (s)
All presentations will be in English with simultaneous interpretation in French, Arabic and Portuguese.
Kindly register at: https://tinyurl.com/rjcpf463
H. Homecoming Events
- Plenary Sessions
Plenary Sessions will feature keynote addresses and reports from parallel sessions.
- Parallel Sessions
These sessions will feature keynote speakers and panel discussions. They also provide for feedback sessions with the audience.
I. Programme Outline
Date: 27 – 29 Sep 2021
Time: 12:00 (GMT), 8:00 EST, 7:00 CST. Kindly convert the time to your local time.
Venue: Virtual, Association of African Universities’ E-Forum
J. Contact Details
Tel/Whatsapp +12246662706: +233 243 298 464/+233 208 152 735/+233 502 699 914/+233 246 425 147
Tel/Whatsapp +12246662706: +233 243 298 464/+233 208 152 735/+233 502 699 914/+233 246 425 147