» Global Africa: major innovation of the Volume IX of the General History of Africa
29.02.2016 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Global Africa: major innovation of the Volume IX of the General History of Africa

© Bruce Clarke

At the invitation of the Angolan Government, the International Scientific Committee of Volume IX of the General History Africa met from 15 to 19 February 2016 in Luanda, Angola, to review and validate the first series of contributions received. This meeting, the first organized on the African continent, will be critical for the rest of the writing process of Volume IX which is expected to be finalized in 2017. The Committee presented the key concept of Volume IX: "Global Africa". This conceptual innovation which aims to re-read and re-write in an articulated manner the history of Africa and its Diasporas around the world, will be the substantial novelty of this volume.

In his response to expectations expressed by the Angolan decision makers in their interventions, Edouard Matoko, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Africa, stressed the urgent need to renew history teaching in African countries using the project of Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa, which will be finalized during  2016, and the various outputs of Volume IX. Recalling the famous quote from Nelson Mandela that "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.", he added that "The General History of Africa is certainly the first cartridge that, we as Africans, need to put in the peaceful weapon of change which is education."

Providing continuous support to the project since 2009, the Angolan government has attached great importance to this meeting and provided excellent working conditions for the Committee. The Vice President of the Republic, the Minister of Education, the Minister and the Secretary of State for Science and Technology attended the opening session and confirmed the high significance of the General History of Africa to an audience of Angolan faculty deans, professors, researchers and students.

At the closing of the meeting, Maria Cândida Pereira Teixeira, Minister of Science and Technology of Angola, said that UNESCO's action contributed on the one hand to building a culture of peace that the country strongly supports through the project "Biennial of the culture of peace", and to strengthen links between Africans living on the continent and people of African descent worldwide.

At this meeting, the Committee established the methodology for validation of contributions and reviewed around fifty texts. The meeting also resulted in an exchange session between the Scientific Committee and Angolan researchers on intellectual and political issues concerning the writing of this last volume, including the updating of the General History of Africa collection in light of the latest scientific discoveries and the new challenges facing Africa and its Diasporas at the turn of the third millennium.

In addition to its work sessions, the Committee visited the Museum of Anthropology of Luanda, the Mausoleum dedicated to Agostinho Neto and the Museum of the Armed Forces. This provided an opportunity to appreciate the Government's efforts to build a collective memory and narrative of the struggle for the emancipation of the Angolan people.

The meeting benefited from the contribution in kind of the airline Royal Air Maroc.

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