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Publication Details

Reference
Muchie, Mammo  (2004) Interim report Workshop on Civil Society and African Integration .  : 1-2.

Summary
Interim report Workshop on Civil Society and African Integration held between February 20-21, 2004 in Windhoek, Namibia.


This workshop was organized by the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZU) and research NGOs such as the African Institute of South Africa (Pretoria), The Centre for Policy Studies (Johannesburg) and The Multidisciplinary Research Centre of Namibia University and the Pan-African Centre of Namibia (Pacon).

There were representatives from different countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and others.
There were also representatives from the Global Pan-African Congress and the Institute of Afrikology.

The workshop was a complete success. It accomplished the following:

I. Research

The draft paper presented by Dr. Chris Landsberg was thoroughly discussed and improvements to the paper were made by all the scholars attending the meeting. The opportunity to create a much more polished and peer-reviewed final paper for the final conference has been enhanced. The final paper will be circulated in advance and a few scholars from the region will be selected to present written interaction with the final output.

There was a strong effort to go over the opportunities, challenges and constraints related to creating a research project linking civil society to African integration and the vice versa. After a long and hard work the
Workshop identified key organizing principles that can serve as analytical bridges to construct a fully fledged research programme for the final conference. This included: a) identity) citizenship and c) self-sufficiency and d) autonomy.

2. Teaching

Different models of trans-state cooperation and collaboration for organizing teaching were explored. There was agreement that it was central to build a continental revolving post-graduate and PhD programme fully owned by a consortium of universities and knowledge producing research NGOs, including PhD seminars . A potent vision was articulated where a pan-African/continental university as part of the AU/NEPAD African project can be organized, very much like the UNUs are to the UN system, by building brick by brick from a consortium of universities and research NGOs. The idea of a Pan-African network of universities and research centers of excellence or workshops of excellence was presented.

There was full agreement on the process of trying out short-term, medium term and long-term tertiary education development where the tie amongst them can lead to a cumulative building and accomplishment of the long-term tasks and objectives.

3. From Namibia to the Final Conference in August

The most exciting aspect of the workshop was that all the representatives showed interest and commitment including willingness to search for viable funding. A committee comprising all the country representatives including Mozambique and research NGOs (AISA) was formed to facilitate the construction of institutional backing at the final conference in August, 2004. A communiqué has been issued and the Namibian press has fully covered the workshop and its outcomes. Namibia has given high profile to the workshop. The foreign minister who officiated the opening of the seminar explicitly requested to be informed of the outcome of the workshop. There was general recognition that all sectors of Namibian society: Civil society, universities and polytechnics and Government are keen to support the initiative.

All in all the achievements of this workshop in research, teaching and inviting support and commitment was beyond our expectations. A full report will follow soon.

Mammo Muchie
24.02.2004

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