At the first "German-African Campus", teaching staff, researchers, talented young scientists and policy-makers came together to exchange ideas about German-African university plans and projects, and to develop these further together. Those attending the event included the students Katharina Pätz and Lambert Sehoubo. They documented their experiences at the event live in a multimedia context.
"Researching Together, Learning from Each Other – Establishing Partnerships!" was the motto of the first ever "German-African Campus". During the two-day event, about 150 participants from Austria, Benin, Cameroon, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Austria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe discussed innovative new projects in the context of German-African university plans and intentions.
"The "German African Campus" gave us an opportunity to have exchanges about innovative and realistic ideas especially for models in the university sector and to develop these further together. As part of the process, the participants were able to network among each other and become informed about the current status of German-African university cooperative efforts. This concept is unique in the German university community," said the organiser of the "German African Campus" Anna Groß, a senior member of staff at the Partnership with Africa Foundation e.V.
Pictures: Benjamin Pritzkuleit
Anna Groß noted the outstanding results achieved at the "German-African Campus": During the numerous workshops, panel discussions, various interactive formats and at a German-African university senate session, the participants further developed a concept for fostering German-African university startups, a plan for promoting and conveying German-African university partnerships and ideas for a German-African MOOC.
Mapping African Universities
"One result especially of the "German African Campus" could become a highly important element in German-African university cooperations," Groß went on to say: "During our university symposia last year, several German-African experts expressed strong interest in having an overview of, or mapping the current African university sector. Because although there has been an increase in the networking between German and African universities over the last few years, these international cooperations have been based on just a handful of institutions." The issue here however is that German universities, and especially small and mid-sized ones, have problems finding suitable partners for cooperative activities. There is a lack of detailed information about the capacities and structures of the African universities. And the intention is to now attempt to close this gap by means of the university mapping project developed at the "German African Campus".
"German African Campus" Declaration
One group of participants prepared a declaration at their own initiative, when was then officially approved and signed later on by all of those present. The aim of the declaration was to declare their support for more German-African partnerships at universities – and that especially under the umbrella of the COMENGA Programme from the Partnership with Africa Foundation e.V.:
Berlin, June 2014
⦁ Strengthen high quality infrastructure for excellent research and post-graduate education
⦁ Bridge academia, civil society and entrepreneuship for innovation for sustainable development (post MDG phase: SDGs)
⦁ Welcoming culture and mentoring that support partnerships at African and German universities
⦁ Create synergy between existing German-African activities
⦁ EU, national German and African politics for brain gain in Africa
⦁ Integration of Diaspora (scientist,s experts, association, etc.) as actors of the German African scientific and technologic cooperation