Issue 15 - Article 18

African Universities Establish Graduate Programmes in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies

June 5, 2003
Prof Matos, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities

A workshop hosted by the Association of African Universities (AAU) was held in Accra, Ghana in June 1999. It brought together seven African universities in the process of establishing, or planning to establish, graduate programmes in the humanitarian and refugee field. Other participants included representatives of UN agencies and UK and US humanitarian researchers/academics.

It is hoped that this initiative will result in the provision of encouragement and support to these universities as they develop courses in this field. One of the points that emerged from the workshop was the need for the universities to establish good links with humanitarian agencies. In addition, the fact that the different universities had developed different fields of specialisation and strengths suggested that the initiative should encourage the development of a network of the universities (perhaps along the lines of the EU NOHA programme) where students undertake a common core curriculum and move to other universities to take their specialist courses.

The seven universities in the process of establishing or planning to establish the graduate courses and the contact persons in each case are:

Ibadan, Nigeria: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Department of Political Science. Focus: conflict-violence; conflict-peacemaking; refugees-migration; military-peacekeeping-peace enforcement. Status: planned for 2000. Contact: Prof Bayo Adekanye. University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Lagos, Nigeria: Faculty of Law. Focus: law and refugees. Status: planned. Contact: Prof E O Akanki. University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria.

Makerere, Uganda: Faculty of Law. A masters degree in Forced Migration Studies has just commenced (autumn 1999). Contact: Dr Joe Oloka-Onyango and Dr James Katalikawe. PO Box 7062, Makerere, Kampala, Uganda.

Witwatersrand, South Africa: Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Focus: forced migration. Status: planned for 2000. Contact: Ms Zonke Majodina and Dr Sally Perbedy. Private Bag X3, Wits 2050, South Africa.

UNISA, Pretoria: Socio-Economic and Human Rights Research Centre (SOCHRREC). Focus: human rights. Status: planned for 2000. Contact Prof Z N Jobodwana and Prof Louis Molamu PO Box 392, Pretoria, South Africa.

University of Ghana, Accra: Department of Political Science. Focus: conflict studies-resolution; refugees-ethnic studies; human rights. Status: planned for 2000. Contact Prof Mike Oquaye, PO Box 64, Legon, Ghana.

Egerton, Kenya: Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Focus: disasters awareness and management; society and international humanitarian law; conflict management and resolution; refugee rights and resettlement studies. Status: some of the courses already running, with others required to bring it to the level of a masters programme to be added, hopefully during 2000. Contact: Dr Michael Thuo Kuria. PO box 536, Njoro, Kenya.

For further information on the AAU initiative contact:
Prof Matos
Secretary General of the Association of African Universities

or his assistant:
Agnes Apedoe
PO Box 5744


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