Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation

The promotion of strong African voices is the focus of the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation. This Institute is envisioned as creating the platform for academics from across Africa to converge and bring to bear intellectual capabilities and contributions that have been marginalised on the global stage for too long.

The Institute will explore Sub-Saharan ethics and worldviews; seeks to advance African values in politics and to debate justifiable beliefs; present Sub-Saharan artistic values and investigates how Africa should relate to the East in the next major stage of the continent’s independence through a globalised world.

Head of Institute

Prof Adekeye Adebajo

Prof Adekeye Adebajo

Prof Adekeye Adebajo is the Institute’s Director. He previously directed the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) in Cape Town between 2003 and 2016. A former Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, he was the Director of the African Programme at the International Peace Institute in New York, and served on UN missions in South Africa, Western Sahara, and Iraq. He has written five books on African politics and multilateralism: Building Peace in West Africa(2002); Liberia’s Civil War (2002); The Curse of Berlin: Africa after the Cold War (2010); UN Peacekeeping in Africa (2010); and Thabo Mbeki: The Rise and Fall of Africa’s Philosopher-King(2016). He has also edited eight books on topics linked to international peace and security, ranging from managing global conflicts to the United Nations, the European Union, West African security, South Africa and Nigeria’s foreign policies, and Nobel peace laureates.

What If?

We share a common history, we share a common destiny

There is an ever-increasing and overwhelming desire of African people to have a formal expression of their oneness. What if we can create an ‘Afrika’ for Africans? An ‘Afrika’ where democracy of an African majority rules, and where the continent’s potential independently to provide for its one billion people is fulfilled?

We at the University of Johannesburg are reimagining the future of Africa and its scattered diaspora in the Caribbean, the Americas, and Europe. We are passionate about pan-Africanism. So passionate and committed, that we established the Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation (IPATC). IPATC is ideally positioned in Johannesburg – South Africa’s economic hub – a true Afropolitan megapolis, where knowledge and research will be produced, collaborating with key African thought-leaders.

The ultimate aim remains the total liberation of the African continent and its people in the wider diaspora. At UJ, we continue to question everything. We do not accept the status quo and we do not settle for mediocrity, but consistently aim for excellence. We collaborate with our fellow Africans, and together we map out our destiny by reimagining a brighter future of a continent and its diaspora of politically free citizens and economically industrialised states. We start by asking: “What if?”

What if the spirit of Pan-Africanism could be revived in all spheres: political, social, economic, and cultural? What if Africa could be united and Africans could promote regional integration and end conflicts on a troubled continent? What if advances in global education, health, and technology from Africa could empower Africans? What if we could address the tension between the economic and cultural independence of African people with solutions from within – by Africans, for Africans, across Africa and its diaspora?

By 2050, there are expected to be two billion people in Africa. A billion will be children, nearly half of the world’s youth population. Africa is a youthful continent, and issues of youth development and employment must be prioritised. What if Africa could lead the world with the youngest population, while many of the industrialised countries’ populations are aging? The most fundamental social and political transformations in the world are driven by young people, with 60% of Africa’s population being under 25. The current generation of youth is the most connected in the history of humanity. This group represents a catalytic change agent of the current reality. What if we could tap into the African fountain of youth, and develop the world’s next wave of young innovators?

What if we could break the continent’s structural constraints through promoting effective regional integration in Africa and increasing intra-regional trade beyond its current anaemic 12%? Why not utilise Africa’s size, diversity, and economies to build an African powerhouse? What if we could accelerate the wave of change that is happening right now in Africa? Changes that are being driven by growing levels of internet access. Access to internet-based services and technology through mobile phones is exploding on the African continent. Africa has more mobile phones than the US and Europe. What if we could tap into this explosion in order to open up more commercial opportunities, as well as access to information and services in areas such as education, health, and agriculture that could transform the lives of Africans on the continent and in its diaspora?

What if we could reimagine a future for Africa as an economic powerhouse that successfully achieved robust structural transformation that reduces our dependence on commodities and creates viable jobs for Africans?

What if we could ensure a future of African unity among its one billion people on the continent and 134 million citizens in its scattered diaspora? A future without conflicts and with shared political values? What if we could foster African unity and reinforce our economic, social, and cultural bonds with each other? Could we reinforce our ties and solidarity? What if African countries could be supportive of each other and learn from each other’s experiences?

Can we dream of an Africa and its diaspora in which the riches of the continent are used for the benefit, upliftment, development and enjoyment of African people and its diaspora citizens? Yes, we have a dream. We are the people of Africa.

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