Pilot African Postgraduate Academy (PAPA) at Point Sud, Bamako, Mali

Gerda Henkel Foundation accords 973.000 Euro to Goethe University to build up an academy of postdocs coming from seven francophone African countries

Prof. Mamadou Diawara from Goethe University and Prof. Elisio Macamo from the University of Basel jointly received funding from Gerda Henkel Foundation for the creation of a Pilot African Postgraduate Academy (PAPA) based at the independent research centre “Point Sud” in Bamako, Mali. The proposed PAPA targets early career scholars who have recently accomplished their doctoral theses and who are based at Universities in Africa. The goal is to foster among them a commitment to the value of scholarship for its own sake, cultivate their interest in conceptual understanding and promote an orientation towards the use of knowledge acquired in Africa to contribute to the further development of science in general. In order to achieve this, the proposed PAPA will set up a training programme to encourage laureates to engage with fundamental epistemological issues in a critical dialogue with their disciplines, Area Studies and their identity as scholars. With the intense training and mentoring of carefully selected young scholars these scholars will make a difference in their home institutions by teaching and publishing on a new level after the completion of the three-year PAPA cycle.

The project will consist of the following elements:

  • Two workshops of two weeks each per year bringing together fifteen selected scholars and up to four established researchers in Bamako;
  • A mentorship programme bringing together senior researchers and laureates at their home institutions;
  • A strong network amongst the scholars and amongst lecturers from francophone African countries living inside and outside of Africa

The project has fa ocus on early career scholars from francophone African countries, which in spite of remarkable strides over recent years continues to play a minor role in global knowledge production. The independent and established research institution in Mali, Point Sud, is put at centre stage in this project, by building on its long-standing expertise and vast networks comprising partners all over Africa. The programme is supported by selected mentors coming from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR of Congo, Gabon, Mali, Niger and Senegal, who engage in supporting the fellow and the idea of the Academy in their scientific environment. With the newly founded Institute for Advances Studies in Accra, MIASA, and the established relationships with the long-standing IAS in Stellenbosch and Nantes and the new Cluster of Excellency at Bayreuth University, there is a whole network of institutions at hand which are explicitly interested in taking the career development of the fellows to a new level after the end of the project cycle.

The project will be based at Goethe University and will be coordinated jointly by Dr. Stefan Schmid from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (ZIAF) at Goethe-University and a new project coordinator at Point Sud in Bamako. It will run from July 2019 to July 2022.

Contact: s.schmid@em.uni-frankfurt.de , 069 798-32097