Social & Human Sciences

© Seya Ndiaye, DPC - Promoting social inclusion is a UNESCO top priority.

The Social and Human Sciences Sector at UNESCO Dakar works to developing knowledge, standards and intellectual cooperation in order to facilitate social transformations based on the universal values of justice, freedom and human dignity.

The main activities of the Office focus on five main areas:

Research on social inclusion

The Office launched two studies in 2011 in collaboration with the UN Women and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA):

  • An analysis of the social movement of women in West Africa to determine their ability to claim and enjoy their political rights in the Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia;
  • An analysis of gender-based violence in West Africa through case studies in the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

Research Programme on social transformation in Africa

UNESCO Dakar has initiated a series of national seminars in various West-African countries within the framework of its MOST Programme (Management of Social Transformations).

These seminars multidisciplinary by nature allow researchers, academics, government and civil society to reflect on the theme "Nation-states and the challenges of regional integration".

The programme resulted in the establishment of the Institute for West Africa in 2008, with headquarters in Cape Verde. The Institute is devoted to multidisciplinary research, advocacy on regional integration and follow up to regional protocols. 

UNESCO Dakar has also co-published two studies on the role of women in international migration dynamics:  

  • International Migration and Gender Issues in Senegal: Synthesis document  2010  (In French only)
  • The Role and Place of Senegalese Women in International Migration 2010   (In French only)


Ethics of science and technology

UNESCO Dakar develops ethics teaching programmes and creates committees dealing with ethic-related issues. In September 2011, the Office supported, for example, the establishment of a French-speaking group of experts devoted to ethics related to environmental issues.

Documents related to the September 2011 meeting (all documents in French): 

Philosophical dialogue between Africa and the Americas

UNESCO is promoting the philosophical dialogue between Africa and the Americas.

In the context of the World Philosophy Day 2011, a three day international conference was organized on the theme of Africa and its Diapspora.

The meeting brought together over 150 philosophers, researchers and students committed to contribute to the creation of networks of philosophers on both continents and strengthening links/dialogue between them.

UNESCO Dakar coordinated the participation of African participants.

Reflections on cultural rights

UNESCO Dakar is instrumental in putting the issue of cultural rights on the agenda. Reflections with relevant stakeholders are currently taking place in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia. The aim is ensure a participatory process that includes all social layers. This is a joint activity with the Culture Sector at UNESCO Dakar.

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