The University’s educational links with Africa can be traced back to the 19th century, not only to the many missionaries who trained at New College and who went on to work in Africa but also to the University’s first recorded Black African graduate, James ‘Africanus’ Horton (1835-1883) of Sierra Leone.
Many were to follow James to Edinburgh, including the late Julius Nyerere, teacher, humanist, statesman and President of Tanzania where he is still revered as ‘Father of the Nation’.
Having accepted an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from his alma mater, and even as late as 1997, two years before his death, Dr Nyerere returned to teach and conduct seminars at the University’s Centre for African Studies.
Founded in 1963, the Centre of African Studies is the only such academic unit in Scotland dedicated to the study of Africa, bringing together expertise from across the University, Scotland and more widely. The Centre also seeks to relate African Studies to the wider community through links with NGOs and major educational and cultural organisations in Africa and Scotland.
The University as a whole today maintains numerous links with Africa at both a personal and institutional level and across a range of disciplines from medicine and health to history, politics, culture, arts and language.
The Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh is the hub for African Studies in Scotland.
Having developed strong links with the Scottish Parliament, NGOs and major educational and cultural organisations in Africa and Scotland, the Centre of African Studies has core activities including teaching and supervising, seminars, conferences and workshops, and scholarships.
This article was published on Dec 6, 2010