MIASA Holds Inaugural Conference

Group picture of Officials after the event

The Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA) has held its inaugural conference at the University of Ghana. The conference which was held under the theme, “Africa’s Institutions for Sustainable Governance” spanned between Thursday, 27th and Friday, 28th of September, 2018

MIASA is a research institute under the College of Humanities of this University. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the University of Ghana. MIASA has a secondary site located at Centre de Recherches sur les Politiques Sociales (CREPOS) in Dakar, Senegal. The Institute is the outcome of a successful collaboration between a consortium of German universities and research institutions comprising; University of Freiburg, Zentrum fur interdisziplinare Afrikaforschung Frankfurt (ZIAF) at the Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt, German Institute of Global and Area Studies Hamburg (GIGA), Universitat Konstanz and Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris (DHL Paris).

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu in his welcome address expressed his appreciation to the German Consortium for bringing the Institute to the University of Ghana. According to him, the Institute’s mandate falls in line with the University’s vision of becoming a research intensive University as well as the theme for its 70th Anniversary Celebrations. Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu also said, the presence of MIASA in the University will improve collaboration with other universities in Africa, create a conducive environment for the exchange of knowledge globally and places a responsibility on the University to continue to uphold high research standards. He assured that, the University is ready to help the Institute to achieve its objectives.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu

Prof. Andreas Mehler, the President of the Executive Council of MIASA in his address outlined the purpose of the conference which would explore three sub-themes; Sustainable Peace and Conflict Management, Sustainable Democracy and Sustainable Environmental Governance and Rural Transformation in Africa.

Prof. Andreas Mehler, the President of the Executive Council of MIASA

Prof. Abena D. Oduro, Co-Director of MIASA for Ghana said the Institute was a pleasant birthday gift to the University on its 70th anniversary and commended the contributions of the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research Innovation and development, Prof. Francis Dodoo and Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata of the Institute of African Studies. She hinted that, the institute will be a research hub for scholars and create strong networks with other universities. She noted that findings from these researches would be applicable to our everyday life.

Prof. Abena D. Oduro, Co-Director of MIASA

The Co-Director of MIASA for Germany, Prof. Gordon Crawford said the Institute is interdisciplinary under humanities however, there were plans for linkages to natural sciences and engineering in the near future.  He further noted that the Institute will bridge the gap between the Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone divide.

The representative of the University of Freiburg, Prof. Bernd Kortmann said the University of Freiburg will continue to build a strong link with the University of Ghana and Africa at large as they plan to set up a Centre for African Studies..

Dr. Annette Steinich from the German Ministry of Education and Research indicated that cooperation with other countries was the best way to reduce global problems such as refugees and gender issues as it allows a wider approach in solving these issues. She commended the work of African partners to MIASA and said it was the beginning of an international exchange in research

The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, in his address mentioned that the Institute will help improve Africa’s weakness in the field of research as it will provide data that will aid in solving problems such as poverty and war which has bedeviled the continent. The Honourable Minister reiterated the need for the Institute to serve as a major intellectual backbone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and reduce the disconnect between policy and research. He added that the government is poised in improving research by providing the necessary support.

Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah

Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh, Professor Emerita of African Studies asserted that MIASA will bridge the knowledge gap in Africa and allow the acceptability of local knowledge by the globe.

The conference was attended by over 300 scholars from universities in Germany and across Africa. Participants were enlightened on topics in the areas of Gender, Democracy, Sustainable Energy, Agriculture, Elections and Peace during keynote addresses and plenary sessions.


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