The goal of the newly-founded “Merian International Centre for Advanced Studies in Africa“ (MICAS Africa) is to develop an intellectual program and research agenda that can make the significance of African knowledge production more visible in its effect.
The German Ministry of Education and Research is funding the centre with 1.7 million euros under the name “Maria Sibylla Merian Centre” during the initial phase until the end of 2020. The entire funding over the expected span of 12 years will be up to 18 million euros in total.
The University of Freiburg is primarily responsible for its structuring and coordination, together with the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute for Cultural Science Research (ABI).
The MICAS Africa will be headquartered at the University of Ghana in Accra with a second office location at the Centre de Recherches sur les Politiques Sociales in Dakar, Senegal. MICAS Africa is slated to open mid-2018.
The German partners include the German Historical Institute Paris as a member of the Max Weber Foundation, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, the University of Konstanz and the Centre for Interdisciplinary African Studies (ZIAF) at the University of Frankfurt.
The consortium under Freiburg’s leadership is placing its main emphasis on sustainable governance. In the beginning, issues such as migration, democratic consolidation and ecological restructuring will be the focus of interdisciplinary work conducted by excellent scientists in various fields.
One of the main objectives for MICAS Africa is to make a significant contribution to tearing down the global imbalance in knowledge. This should be achieved through the planned years-long cooperation amongst top researchers as well as young researchers from Africa and the entire world.
Through this project many African guest researchers will come to Freiburg. The University of Freiburg will develop a Centre for African Studies and greatly intensify its cooperation with the University of Basel regarding research in and with Africa – a further cornerstone being the European Campus (Eucor), the consortium of universities in the Upper Rhine. MICAS Africa is also significant in helping the University of Freiburg attain its goal of finding a partner university in Africa.
Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research and the Arts, Baden-Württemberg, on MICAS Africa: “I am thrilled two universities from Baden-Württemberg, both Freiburg and Konstanz, which are strong in research, will actively shape the academic exchange between Germany and Africa. Future issues such as migration, sustainable democracy or ecological restructuring in societies can only be explored through an exchange between North and South and across disciplines. The Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) is predestined to actively shape this dialogue. Relying on its extensive expertise, the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) will be able to add further to building an international research college.”
Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, Rector for the University of Freiburg%