Christopher C. Nshimbi Patrick Develtere Bacha Kebede Debela


African universities rely on teaching traditions and scientific theories based on Western epistemologies and ontologies. Interactions between European and African scholars too tend to focus on the deficits in African experiences, knowledge, research and teaching methodologies and the poor economic environments in which they operate that are characterized by inadequate infrastructure and budgets. This essay discusses an emerging opportunity in science diplomacy within African-European Union (EU) interactions in higher education and argues that a fundamental revision of the imbalances in African-European scholarly relationships is possible. The essay uses the case of the emerging Platform for African–European Studies, which involves 22 universities (including 14 in Africa and eight in Europe) and underscores the importance of science diplomacy, knowledge co-creation and co-production to correct hegemonic knowledge about Africa. It explores the origins of the programme, its attempt to follow a critical global and decolonized approach in addressing the revision of curricula both in Europe and in Africa and the co-design of research. It concludes by highlighting some of the obstacles to disrupting the status-quo.


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