The UWI, University of Lagos Set Up Institute of African and Diaspora Studies

Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Friday, May 19, 2017. The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in Nigeria have signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of an institute to advance the exchange of cultural, social ideas and research excellence for the development of Africa and the African Diaspora.

The UNILAG – UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies which will address areas and issues of development concerns and their relevance to the Caribbean, Nigeria, the Continent of Africa and the African Diaspora will be located at both the UWI and UNILAG. It will facilitate the development of joint academic programmes and research activities.

Starting in the 2017/2018 academic year with a Master’s Degree in African and Global Studies, the Institute will see the exchange of faculty and students and Caribbean, African and international publications as well as collaborative research in disciplines such as democracy in Africa and the African Diaspora, reparation for slavery, poverty, economic governance, culture and national development, language development, the philosophy behind national integration and the fostering of solidarity in global issues.

Speaking at the signing of the MOU to establish the UNILAG – UWI Institute at The UWI Regional Headquarters on Wednesday May 17, 2017, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles,  said, “the UNILAG – UWI Institute will shrink the Atlantic Ocean into a very small river as we bridge the gap between Africa and the African Diaspora.” He added, “UWI academics like the late Sir Arthur Lewis have been a critical part of the discourse about Africa, about issues relevant to economic development and how our countries could be transformed by industrial development. Those of us working in the humanities have a good comprehension of the Diaspora, but many have not had the opportunity to live in Africa to gain experience from that end. Equally, some of the academics in Africa have not spent enough time in the Diaspora to see what is happening there.”

Declaring “We have been working in silos,” Vice-Chancellor Beckles stated, “the UNILAG – UWI Institute will bring scholars from the African Diaspora to teach and research in collaboration with their African counterparts. We are shrinking the space between the two continents and providing an opportunity for a greater understanding of global Africa and the Diaspora.”

In his response, Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Professor Rahamon Bello said, “The UNILAG – UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies will bind our two zones together. The future of Africans in Africa and in the Diaspora requires our collaboration if we are to have a place in the global conversation and we have to have this Union to come up with the answers that are credible and deliverable. Our collaboration will be greatly influential in how our world moves, “Vice- Chancellor Bello declared.