- Taking New Steps Toward Africa October 18, 2023
Yonsei African Student Association Launch and Presidents from 11 African Universities Conference
Our university took significant steps toward fostering interpersonal exchanges and collaborations with the African continent, led by the Preparation Committee for the Institute of African Studies, from September to October.
Recognizing the geopolitical significance of the African continent in today's global South countries, our university has identified it as a key focal point for exchanges and collaborations. We have actively explored various channels for communication with Africa.
As part of these efforts, on September 26th and 27th, we launched the Yonsei African Student Association (YASA) on our campus. This initiative provided a platform for African students currently studying at our university to share their unique experiences and stories. To further celebrate African culture, we designated this week as 'African Week' and actively introduced African traditions and customs.
Furthermore, we extended invitations to ambassadors and officials from 11 African countries to engage in a 'Conversation with the Ambassadors.' During this event, we reaffirmed the increasing geopolitical significance of the growing Global South. Together with the invited ambassadors, we committed to strengthening interpersonal exchanges and collaborations between our university and Africa. Notably, IGEE Distinguished Professor Kyung-wha Kang, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed her optimism for this new initiative, highlighting the potential for enhanced networking and the proactive interest from domestic universities in Africa.
From October 10th to 12th, we had the privilege of hosting the 'Yonsei & African Universities Initiative,' where we welcomed more than 20 high-ranking officials, including presidents, vice-presidents, and key representatives from 11 universities across seven African countries.
The conference was specifically designed to foster academic and interpersonal exchanges between our university and prominent African universities. It aimed to facilitate discussions on various collaborative strategies and marked a departure from the conventional approach of understanding Africa through a Western-centric lens. Instead, it served as an opportunity to expand direct interactions with Africa, thus strengthening ties between the institutions.
During the conference, our university presented the advanced medical infrastructure and industry-academia collaboration capabilities to key figures from leading African universities. They had the opportunity to explore facilities such as K-NIBRT at the International Campus and the Proton Therapy Center at Severance Hospital. The attendees expressed great anticipation for various future collaboration possibilities with our university.
Furthermore, we had distinguished speakers at the event, including Professor Jong-Dae Park from the Department of International Relations (former Ambassador to South Africa and Uganda) and Kim Ki-yeon, former Managing Director of the Korea-Africa Foundation. They provided insights into the potential for cooperation between our university and African universities and emphasized our university's responsible role in this regard.
As a result of this event, our university is planning to launch the 'Institute of African Studies (IAS)' in October under the direct supervision of the university president. The IAS will focus on multidisciplinary research, fostering collaboration with African universities, institutions, and nations. It is expected to cultivate interdisciplinary researchers capable of addressing various aspects of African affairs, including politics, diplomacy, economics, religion, and history. Additionally, our university aims to establish itself as a globally engaged institution with the capacity to creatively contribute to addressing current challenges in Africa, all under the leadership of the Institute of African Studies.