The official opening of Harvard University’s Centre for African Studies Africa office in Johannesburg will allow the university to deepen its collaborations, and more effectively partner with African academic, government and business institutions.
In addition, the new office will ensure the development of more programs and activities that will enable Harvard to share its expertise and knowledge while learning from local experts and leaders in Africa.
According to the Harvard University provost, Alan Garber, who officially opened the Harvard Centre for African Studies office: “The Harvard Centre for African Studies office will create a space for dialogue exchange and serve as a connective link for local universities, researchers and academics from across Africa to gain insights and create a synergy of shared ideas. It will serve as a hub for cross-cultural thought on the field of African Studies, facilitate research, engage with alumni, and connect with local and academic communities.”
The new office will form an essential component for Harvard’s identity on world-wide platform. Johannesburg is regarded as one of the most dynamic African city’s with communities from across the continent, and hence it is a fitting location to position the African office, which will serve as a hub for connecting with the world and gaining international reach to its audiences.
Harvard’s engagement with Africa began in the late nineteenth century when the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology was founded. Since then, the university has demonstrated its commitment to African Studies through establishments of numerous other Africa-related courses and programs at Harvard and on the continent.
“Harvard is committed to attracting the best students in the world regardless of financial need. That is why no student should be deterred from applying to Harvard because they are concerned that they will not be able to pay for their education – our financial aid programs are designed to make a Harvard education affordable for students anywhere in the world, ” says Provost Garber.
The institution’s long-standing relationship with South Africa has been through two programs, namely the Harvard South Africa Fellowship program which has been in existence since 1979, and the Inspire Pre-College Summer Program which seeks to find African potential and enable the possibility of attending university overseas. The University also offers one of the world’s largest African languages program comprising over 40 African language courses from Swahili to Zulu to Afrikaans and many more.
The Centre for African Studies will deepen its relationship with Africa, by creating initiatives and forming collaborations with institutions and government organisations through student and faculty exchange, research partners and programs for high-school students. It will focus on activities in furthering its commitment to knowledge-sharing in Africa.