Pius Adebola Adesanmi

The Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, in partnership with the African Union and the Carnegie Corporation of New York would convene a continental forum on the role of the diaspora in higher education, research, and innovation in Africa.

The programme is put together in honour of the late Nigerian critic, scholar and newspaper columnist, Pius Adesanmi, He was a former Director of the Institute of African Studies (IAS) at Carleton University.

A statement by the organisers of the conference said the conference will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between November 13 and 14, 2019.

Until his last moments in 2019, Adesanmi worked tirelessly to build bridges between African and North American scholarship. He was particularly devoted to helping young African academics cultivate their research capacities and career prospects through his astute mentorship.

In 2018, in recognition of these impressive contributions in creating meaningful partnerships between IAS and a variety of African universities, the Carnegie Corporation of New York asked Adesanmi to organize a forum on the roles of Africans in the diaspora in the revitalization of higher education in Africa.

“Although tragically, Professor Adesanmi was unable to see this undertaking through himself, his peers and friends whom he inspired so much have banded together to fulfil Adesanmi’s goal of organizing this important international event,” the statement said.

“Research from all over the world has been conducted in advance of the gathering, and the outcomes of this academic inquiry will be discussed in depth at the Continental Forum on Higher Education in Africa with critical stakeholders including focal point officers, donors and civil society organizations.”

The Continental Forum on Diaspora in Higher Education, Research, and Innovation will consolidate the multiple goals set forth within the Continental Education Strategy for Africa as they relate to the role of the diaspora in higher education, scientific research, and innovation.

Other objectives include the need to evaluate past and current African diaspora intervention models and frameworks in the higher education sector in Africa; identify member states with existing diaspora intervention institutions, frameworks, and mechanisms to engage them to develop a higher education component where absent; identify the constraints to maximizing the potential of African diaspora contribution to higher education; and draw comparative experiences from the contributions of the diaspora to higher education from other continents;

The forum will also seek to develop strategies to increase the involvement of the African diaspora in higher education in Africa and develop a blueprint for facilitating more local and international support for higher education through diaspora participation.

The statement said the Principal Investigator for this project is Dr. L. Pauline Rankin, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University.

“Through the Continental Forum on Higher Education in Africa, Dean Rankin and the Institute of African Studies will further cement the enduring legacy of Professor Pius Adesanmi who was so selflessly dedicated to advancing and producing African knowledge to share with the wider world,” the statement said.

Born February 27, 1972, the late Adesanmi was a frontline writer, literary critic and columnist. Among his numerous publications is the popular book, Naija No Dey Carry Last, a 2015 collection of satirical essays.

Adesanmi was a Fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa from 1993 to 1997, and later the French Institute of South Africa between 1998 and 2000. From 2002 to 2005, he was Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University, United States. In 2006, he joined Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, as a professor of Literature and African Studies.

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