18.05.2012 - Africa Department

Joseph Ki-Zerbo: The humanist, the historian, the intellectual from Burkina Faso

© Fondation Ki-Zerbo

The first conference on Joseph Ki-Zerbo will take place on May 24th at UNESCO Headquarters, as part of Africa Week (21-25 May). The conference will focus on the life and commitment of Professor Joseph Ki-Zerbo, humanist, historian, committed intellectual and politician from Burkina Faso.

Its aims is to contribute to spread the thought, ideals and work of Professor Joseph Ki-Zerbo (1922-2006), which are points of reference for the African youth and diaspora, in their commitment for the development of the continent, and quest for shared values. It will be also  the opportunity to revisit the thought of the Burkinabe Professor, especially his views on culture, education, endogenous development, Pan Africanism and youth, and to underscore their topicality.

An excerpt from the Dani Kouyate movie “Joseph Ki-Zerbo: identities, identity for Africa” will be screened during the Conference.

Born in 1922 in Toma (Upper-Volta) and deceased in 2006 in Ouagadougou at 84 years old, Joseph Ki-Zerbo was a lifelong humanist, ceaselessly fighting for the respect of human and universal values. Committed intellectual, he did throughout his life the promotion of Pan Africanism, endogenous development, social justice, and peace in Africa. The Professor also dedicated his life to education by serving as Director of National Education, and Secretary-General of the African and Malgache Council for Higher Education (CAMES).

Joseph Ki-Zerbo contributed to the writing of the “General History of Africa”.

A prominent figure of UNESCO, the Professor Joseph Ki-Zerbo served on the Executive Boardl of the Organization. He was the leader of several political parties in Burkina Faso, and the author of numerous books.

The Conference is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Group at UNESCO, the Ki-Zerbo Foundation, in cooperation with the “Présence Africaine” publishing house, and the Cultural African Community, a non-governmental organization with a consultative status at UNESCO.

It  will also feature speeches from several personalities, including: Mrs. Lala Aïcha Ben Barka, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Africa; M. Joseph Pare, Ambassador of Burkina Faso, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO; Mrs. Elizabeth Paula Napeyok, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Uganda to France, Permanent Delegate and President of the African Group at UNESCO.

A message from M. Abou Diouf, Secretary General of the Francophonie, will be read on this occasion.

Accounts will be expected from personalities including: Mrs. Jacqueline Ki-Zerbo, wife of Professor Ki-Zerbo and head of the Ki-Zerbo Foundation; Mrs. Christiane Yandé Diop, Secretary-General of the African Cultural Community and Director of the “Présence Africaine” publishing house; M. Cheik Amidou Kane,  former Minister of Senegal and writer.


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