Countdown to ECAS 4 starts now!

After a very long period of planning and preparation, NAI, together with AEGIS, are now ready to welcome the participants to the 4th European Conference on African Studies. The conference opens its doors on 15 June. I believe we will experience many fascinating and topical discussions and debates during this four-day event.

In 2007, NAI was informed that our application to host the conference had been successful. Since then, we have been organising the event step by step: setting up an academic committee, mobilising external funds, putting out calls for panels and papers and drawing up the programme for the conference.

The academic committee was given the task of finding a theme for the conference. NAI's research director Fantu Cheru was very much involved in the process. The theme we chose, “African Engagements: On Whose Terms?” is aimed at inspiring participants to think critically about how Africans can define their own priorities and partnerships, and with which voice (s)? Who are, and can be Africa’s real partners in the quest for mutually beneficial (re)-engagements and on whose terms?

As Fantu Cheru puts it in the conference announcement: “Despite the political and economic changes within the continent and the world, the study of Africa remains a contested terrain. Questions as to how to understand the current changes in the continent, and how the world can engage a changing Africa on an equitable basis is far from being settled.”

It is very encouraging to see how well established the conference has become over the years. I believe this is reflected in the great interest African researchers have shown in participating. This is the fourth time the conference is being held, and it has come to be regarded as the conference for African studies in Europe.

As ECAS has grown, so has the demand for activities outside the official panel programme. NAI and Uppsala will be offering a number of side events, ranging from book launches, film programmes and photographic exhibitions to live music and research centres and publishers' receptions. We hope that this will allow our participants to truly enjoy and appreciate their stay in Uppsala, but also to socialise and network, and to establish new contacts with colleagues and fellow researchers.

Welcome to Uppsala!

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