ACT is an interdisciplinary association of research institutes and individual scientists. Its research focuses on pan-regional studies of relevance to Africa. The center will invite researchers from Africa to visit Freiburg so that they can study global issues such as migration or ecological transformation alongside academics here. “Jointly organized conferences, public lectures, and freely available publications on the results of research will also help to promote a global academic dialog and give a greater presence and therefore influence to African voices,” explains Prof. Dr. Andreas Mehler, Director of Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) and ideas generator for ACT.
The current pandemic has meant that he and his team have had to rethink the first steps for the new institution, “We would be very happy if the situation were to improve soon so that we could get going properly. Nonetheless we are considering what is possible remotely and with digital technology – things that we hadn’t previously considered – even after we have overcome this crisis. All the same I am hoping that we will still be able to resume the ‘Freiburger Afrikagespräche’ series of public lectures this year.”
The new University of Freiburg institution is part of the Baden-Württemberg initiative ‘Africa im Blick’. With its initiative the federal state government wants to raise the profile of existing cooperations with stakeholders in Africa and uncover potential for the expansion of in-depth cooperations. Within this framework ACT will also be a service center for scientific and social exchange with Africa in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg: for example, African students and researchers can learn about opportunities to study and work in Europe at the Freiburg center.