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Exchange with West Africa through scientific dialogue: The Federal Republic of Germany is funding a unique research centre in Ghana

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A “Maria Sibylla Merian Centre for Advanced Studies” is being established with German support in Accra, Ghana. The project partners signed a declaration on December 12 in the presence of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirming their intention to jointly establish this key institution.

Exchange with West Africa through scientific dialogue
Signing of the declaration of intent in the presence of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier© German Embassy Accra

A “Maria Sibylla Merian Centre for Advanced Studies” is being established with German support in Accra, Ghana. The project partners signed a declaration on December 12 in the presence of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirming their intention to jointly establish this key institution.

Merian Centres are research schools through which the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports long-term cooperation in the humanities and social sciences throughout the world. Following the establishment of centres in Asia and Latin America, a new centre will now be set up in Africa.

A consortium consisting of the eminent University of Ghana and German universities and research institutions will establish the institute and develop it to become a centre for the global exchange of scientific knowledge. Issues of democratic governance, successful conflict management and ecological transformation will be studied as main pillars of broader research in “Sustainable Governance”. Partners on the German side are the universities of Freiburg, Frankfurt am Main and Konstanz as well as the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and the Max Weber Foundation’s German Historical Institute Paris.

According to Professor Andreas Mehler, head of the consortium and Director of the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute: “The University of Ghana, as one of the leading universities south of the Sahara, is our main partner in this intellectually challenging project. Here we will be able to discuss new ideas in a stimulating environment, compare contrasting views and attempt to achieve synthesis and find joint solutions to urgent societal problems.”

The project is due to begin officially on 1 March 2018. Subject to a positive evaluation, a six-year main phase will begin in autumn 2020 involving an international fellowship programme and numerous activities including programmes for junior researchers. This main phase will be followed by a final phase which means that the research school can receive BMBF funding of up to 18 million euros over a total of twelve years.

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