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Africa launch of the Nairobi Report - BIEA, Nairobi

April 11, 2010

It is now a year since the Nairobi Report was first published, and over three years since the initial discussion and consultation process which gave rise to it began. Following a launch in London last year, the Report was launched on 18 March in Nairobi at the British Institute in Eastern Africa.

At the event, and during the panel sessions preceding the launch, there was a real sense of progress. There are a number of initiatives underway, some large, some small. Some of these have grown out of the discussions that led to the Nairobi Report, while some are simply aligned to similar goals and share its aims. All seek to improve the ability of individual researchers, independently or in collaboration with others, to undertake and publish new research.

What is clear is that the Report has helped to launch, and importantly to sustain, a significant and timely conversation about the future of the humanities and social sciences in African universities, and to ensure that these vital disciplines are not forgotten in the drive to scale up and strengthen science, engineering and medical training and research.

We thought that, as participants in the original consultation, or the working meeting in Nairobi which followed this, you would be interested to hear an update on progress. The text of the launch address given by Professor Graham Furniss, Chair of the British Academy’s Africa Panel, together with further information about the Report is available on the British Academy’s website https://www.britac.ac.uk/policy/nairobi/index.cfm

We are also keen to learn of any initiatives which you may be aware of nationally and regionally, which have either arisen directly from this, or seek to tackle some of the issues the Report identified – be they a new seminar series in your department, a new training initiative, or a much larger research programme, and we welcome any responses sent to this email address.

A direct contribution from the British Academy and the African Studies Association of the UK has been the establishment of the Africa Desk, a new website designed to encourage and facilitate collaboration between African and UK scholars, and to serve as a central source of information on the UK African studies community. In particular the site hosts a series of directories of individual scholars and research centres, libraries and journals. We would invite you to submit your own profile to the respective directory by visiting www.africadesk.ac.uk and selecting the African Scholars or UK Africanists link as appropriate from the menus to the top right of the page.

Finally, we would like to thank you for your contributions to this important debate, and hope you will continue to remain involved as the process develops further.

Yours sincerely,

The Nairobi Report Committee