The Character of the Nordic Africa Institute
The Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala was founded in 1962. It is financed jointly by the Nordic countries. It is a Swedish authority where the overall responsibility for its management and work rests with the Director and a Programme and Research Council consisting of representatives from both the governments and the research communities of the five Nordic countries. According to its statutes, the Nordic Africa Institute "...is charged, within the Nordic countries, with
- furthering and carrying out scientific research on Africa;
- furthering co-operation and contacts between Nordic and African researchers;
- serving as a documentation centre for research and studies on Africa;
- informing about research on Africa and current African issues."
- The Nordic Africa Institute shall be a leading centre for research, documentation and information on contemporary Africa in the Nordic countries, building on its exclusive focus on Africa, its Nordic dimension and its unique combination of activities and services.
- The African dimension. The raison d'être of the Institute lies in its work on and with Africa. The basis of this work is to produce and deepen knowledge, and thereby understanding, of Africa and to disseminate this knowledge. It shall also strengthen social science research on Africa in Africa and make African researchers more visible.
- The Nordic dimension. The Institute is today the largest institution of its kind in the field of African studies in the Nordic countries. It differs from other Nordic centres in its recruitment of Nordic staff and its combination of activities and services. This contribution is to be exploited in such a way that the Institute constitutes an important resource centre for national institutions and other target groups. The Institute shall draw upon and stimulate activities both in the Nordic countries and in Africa. It shall be a focal point for networks, a meeting place for Nordic Africanists and researchers, an important source of information, in particular through its library, and a publisher of research on contemporary Africa. The Institute shall also encourage Nordic support for the building of research capacity in Africa.
- Multi-purpose institute. The Institute shall be a multi-purpose institute combining several different but interrelated activities of equal status, through which synergy effects are created at the interface of research, policy-related activities and dissemination of information.
- Target groups. In the Nordic countries the Institute's main target groups are the research and education communities, decision-makers and development administrators, representatives of the media and non-governmental organisations. The target groups in Africa are the research and policy making communities.
- Core activities. The core activities of the Institute shall be research and research support, policy-related activities, dissemination of information, provision of library services and production of publications.
- Networking. The Institute shall promote co-operation and contacts between African and Nordic researchers and other partners by facilitating their interaction and by providing support to networks for collaboration in the Nordic countries and in Africa.
The Activities of the Nordic Africa Institute
- Research. All research at the Institute - both projects as well as programmes - shall be multi-disciplinary with an emphasis on the social sciences. It shall be based on co-operation between Nordic and African researchers with the aims of moving the frontiers of knowledge forward and enhancing the understanding of issues central to contemporary Africa. It shall emphasise the applicability of the research for policy makers and involve interdisciplinary network-building. It shall aim at stimulating both academic and public debate on Africa.
- To achieve these broad objectives, the Institute shall pursue long-term thematic research programmes, special research projects, and research projects carried out by the Institute's Nordic researchers as well as research by African and Nordic guest researchers.
- The research activities shall conform to internationally recognised standards of social science research. The relevance of research programmes shall be ensured by inviting new proposals and ideas from a broad spectrum of research environments in both Africa and the Nordic countries. Final decisions on priority-setting and on new research programmes and special research projects will be taken by the Programme and Research Council.
- The Institute's Nordic researchers (one from each Nordic country) shall pursue their own research, be active in networking, carry out research related administrative tasks and organise workshops and seminars. They shall also assume a special responsibility for the contacts between the Institute and the research environments in their home countries.
- Research support activities. The Institute shall stimulate and strengthen social science research on Africa in the Nordic countries and in Africa by providing research facilities, space for reflection and intellectual exchange for advanced graduate students and researchers from Africa, and for students, researchers and journalists from the Nordic countries. The Institute shall furnish opportunities for field research in Africa, thereby creating channels to African research communities for Nordic researchers. It shall also support collaboration and intellectual exchange between Nordic and African researchers, along with the development of joint African-Nordic research networks.
- Library services. The Institute shall make available literature and other relevant material for research, studies and information on contemporary Africa, through both the printed media and electronic information technology. The library shall provide lending, reference and information services as an active member of the Nordic and international information community.
- Publications activities. The Institute shall disseminate information on Africa and African issues by publishing high quality manuscripts, primarily the results of the research carried out at the Institute. The publications shall be distributed internationally, with selected institutions in Africa receiving complementary copies.
- Information activities. As an integral part of its activities the Institute shall disseminate information on its own work, research on Africa and current African issues. The Institute's researchers shall participate in these information activities by ensuring that the results of their research and their knowledge of Africa actually reach the target groups.
- Policy-related activities. The policy-related activities shall be based on the accumulated knowledge of the Institute. Their aim is to provide background information and analysis based on research results and special studies to facilitate policy decisions on current African issues. In addition conferences are held which are aimed at policy makers, NGOs and the media both in Africa and in the Nordic countries.
Management and Personnel PolicyThe Institute shall offer an equal opportunity environment where the contributions and individual development of all members of the staff are valued.