A new institute to promote intensive research work to enhance Africa' development has been established at the University of Ghana under the College of Humanities.
The Merian Institute for Advanced Studies on Africa (MIASA) will bring together scholars and researchers from top-tier African, German and European universities to jointly conduct research and exchange ideas on cutting-edge issues such as sustainable governance, sustainable peace and conflict management, as well as rural transformation in Africa.
It is the culmination of a collaboration among the UG, a group of German universities and research institutions and a Senegalese university.
At an inaugural conference of MIASA in Accra yesterday, the Director of the institute, Professor Abena D. Oduro, said: “As a research-focused institute, MIASA will promote inter-disciplinary research work among African and global scholars.
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“We benefit when scholars from different disciplines come together to interrogate and conduct researches, as well as discuss issues of relevance, such as sustainable governance, sustainable democracy, sustainable peace and conflict management and sustainable transformation.”
The two-day event, on the theme: “Africa’s institutions for sustainable governance”, has brought together scholars from Africa and the global north who are experts in governance, democracy and conflict management to brainstorm and share ideas required to develop the institute.
Prof. Oduro said there were a few advanced institutes in Africa that were research-focused and expressed optimism that the setting up of MIASA would bring recognition to the University of Ghana in the area of intensive top-notch research.
“MIASA will attract international scholars from around the globe and these scholars will be coming to the University of Ghana to spend three to five months, do their research, interact and exchange ideas on innovative research.
“We are bringing people into an environment to conduct their research, raise research issues, develop a theoretical framework to help push forward the frontier of knowledge where the participation of African scholars is direct,” she added.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, for his part, said the UG had made tremendous progress in attracting large research grants that allowed it to broaden the scope and quantum of its research output.
It was his view that the establishment of MIASA at the UG would build on its foundation and contribute towards the advancement of research activities and the profile of the university.
Sharing a commonality
Prof. Francis Nyamnjoy of the Department of Social Anthropology of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in his remarks, said as a new institution, MIASA must strive to take in new global experiences where African scholars and their foreign counterparts would share common experiences as a way to “edify MIASA”.
He noted that past encounters between African scholars and their foreign counterparts had often been unequal encounters, for which reason MIASA offered a golden opportunity for Africa to set the record to excel in the world of scholarly collaboration.