BusinessDay

Scholars task academia on African-entered knowledge to tackle continent challenges

Olufemi Vaughn, an academia, has challenged a new generation of African scholars to reflect more intentionally on how African-centered knowledge might complement academic training in conventional academic disciplines to enable them to deal with challenges facing the continent.

Vaughn, who is a professor, stated this while delivering his keynote address, at the Ife Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) sixth Summer Institute which was held from 24th July – August 6th.

His address was titled ‘African-centered Episteme and the study of African Societies: Endeavors in Research, Scholarship, and Public Policy.’

The scholar noted that there was a need to excavate new knowledge by carefully reflecting on African experiences in the study of African societies.

He stressed that “as we continue to engage in the study of African societies, African scholars should be more intentional in how they merge research and scholarship derived from conventional academic disciplines including in the arts, humanities, stem field and social sciences with concrete objectives of actionable public policy that can have positive transformative consequences in African societies.”

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He added that this approach takes for granted the analytical tools, methods, theories and concepts derived from academic disciplines and focuses more intentionally on the challenges and potentialities of African experiences in our research and scholarly endeavours.

In his opening remarks, the convener, Jacob Olupona of Harvard University, United States, noted that the IIAS was committed to ensuring that Fellows flourish and thrive both inside and outside the academy.

He noted that this year’s institute was focused on ensuring that fellows gain the necessary skills required to translate their degrees into meaningful and gainful employment.

“The IAS therefore, organised sessions on effective CV writing, transitioning beyond the academy to corporate spaces, developing long term ideas that are workable in multiple contexts, becoming a public intellectual and many others,” Olupona said.

The theme of the Summer Institute Programme was ‘The Future of the Academy: Skills for Transformative Pedagogy, Theory and Practice.’

The Programme was aimed at encouraging the participation of both senior and junior scholars in building new competencies and acquiring new proficiencies that will empower them to flourish both in the academy and beyond it.

This year’s Summer Institute opening ceremony was well attended by important dignitaries from across the country including the Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Adebayo Simeon Bamire and the former Vice-Chancellor (OAU), Eyitope Ogunbodede, professors and facilitators, past and current fellows.

The participants were drawn from the Humanities, Social Sciences and the Sciences and represented globally renowned universities such as Boston University, Harvard University, University College London, Princeton, Emory, Cornell, Wake Forest University and others.