Which more than a decade ago declared the diaspora to be its sixth region – plans to launch a ‘10/10’ initiative that will sponsor 1,000 scholars in the African diaspora a year for 10 years to continental universities and colleges for collaboration.
The Mobilise the Diaspora project is one of six proposals in the Draft Declaration and Action Plan of the 1st African Higher Education Summit on Revitalising Higher Education for Africa’s Future, that came out of the continental gathering held in Dakar, Senegal, last week.
The ‘10/10’ programme is to sponsor in total 10,000 diaspora academics across all disciplines “for collaboration in research, curriculum development, and graduate student teaching and mentoring”, according to the declaration.
The initiative flows out of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, which was launched two years ago in an effort to help turn Africa’s chronic ‘brain drain’ into ‘brain circulation’ through fellowships with African diaspora academics in North America.
A proposal to radically scale up the programme was submitted to the African Higher Education Summit. During one of the sessions the initiative’s brainchild and leader Dr Paul Zeleza, vice-president for academic affairs at America’s Quinnipiac University, said:
“The diaspora is a huge force. In the United States there are at least 25,000 African academics working at universities. And a lot of the diaspora is ready, willing and able to contribute to Africa’s engagement with regards to higher education institutions.”
The fellowship initiative, said Zeleza, was trying to engage the diaspora very actively with African higher education institutions in all areas.
“The point is that the diaspora is not waiting, but the diaspora needs to be engaged actively on the African side so that this is a mutually beneficial relationship and has impact on the revitalisation of African higher education institutions.”
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