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[Beijing Forum 2019] General History of Africa: How Peking University is promoting African Studies

NOV . 08 2019
Peking University, Nov. 8, 2019: Peking University has proven to be at the vanguard of promoting African studies in China and Asia. This is evident in the new volumes of General History of Africa (GHA) that was launched at Peking University during the just concluded special panel session of Beijing Forum.

At the launch of the new volumes (IX, X, XI), hosted by Peking University in partnership in UNESCO, scores of African scholars and top officials from Peking University were in attendance. The launching ceremony, which was held at Guanghua School of Management on PKU campus, was produced under the supervision of the International Scientific Committee.


At the launching ceremony

Speaking at the ceremony was Vice President of Peking University Wang Bo, who stated that Peking University has been playing a major role in promoting African Studies and it will continue to strengthen the Sino-African bond.

The Chairman of the International Scientific Committee, Professor Augustine Holl, noted that the project was implemented in the spate of 4 years and 250 writers were recruited across the world to contribute to the new volumes. He also stressed that the new volumes updated the previous 8 volumes of GHA.

The Coordinator of GHA project, Professor Ali Moussa Iye, urged Peking University to help ensure that the new volumes are translated into Chinese Language.

“These new volumes will be published in three languages: English, French and Portuguese. I hereby urged Peking University to help ensure that these new volumes are translated to Chinese language,” Iye said.

PKU and African Studies

There is no gainsaying that Peking University has been at the forefront of promoting African studies. This is deeply rooted in its efforts to promote Sino-African relations as well as South-South cooperation.

PKU Scholar represents China and Asia at the International Scientific Committee for GHA

Peking University is the only University in Asia that has a representative at the International Scientific Committee that supervised the implementation of the General History of Africa (GHA). This great feat was achieved by the contributions of PKU intellectual prowess in the study of Africa.

In a brief interview with the representative of Asia at the International Scientific Committee, a renowned scholar from Peking University, Professor Li Anshan, who also served as the Vice Chairman of the committee, stated that Peking University scholars worked hard to dig out materials and data about Africa. He also noted that research works by PKU scholars are important materials for the success of the project.

“Study of emerging nations like BRICS and African countries was also a major contribution of PKU to this project. As the only Chinese scholar in the scientific committee, I was able to present my views and exchange ideas with other scholars in the committee,” Li noted.

PKU is the first institution to establish African Studies in China

Another giant stride by Peking University was the establishment of African Studies discipline.

“Peking University is the first university in China that received African academics after 1949 when new China was founded. Peking University is also the first university that sent its historians to Africa for field work,” Professor Li Anshan added.

This depicts great efforts by Peking University to promote African studies and further strengthen the ties between China and Africa, specifically, through research and academic exchanges.

PKU’s commitment to hosting African events

In addition, Peking University has been at the vanguard of hosting African events and forums in China. These events served as platforms where Chinese and African scholars brainstorm on several issues concerning Sino-African relations. Beyond that, these events provide cutting-edge proposals that policy makers adopt in promoting and sustaining Sino-African relations.

A clear instance is the special panel on the cooperation between Chinese and African Universities in the transformation of scientific and technological innovations, which was co-hosted by Peking University. The panel was a platform for top leaders from African countries and Chinese universities to form a partnership that will aid technological development in Africa and China.

Also, the Center for African Studies of Peking University has been of great support to events organized by African students in China. The center is currently supporting the ongoing China-Africa video competition. The center also supported “Nyerere Day in China” event, which was a platform to strengthen China-Tanzania relations.

The author is a Nigerian scholar of Yenching Academy at Peking University.

Reported by: 
Lukmon Akintola
Edited by:
Huang Weijian