University of Ghana mulls centre for Asian studies

University of Ghana (UG) is considering creating a centre for the study of Asian culture, policies and best practices to support national growth, Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost of Colleges of Humanities said on Thursday.

He noted that, the shining example of Asia’s growing economic and political successes and the lifting of millions out of poverty called for a tighter relationship and platform to learn about each other.

Professor Agyei-Mensah said this at the ongoing Africa–Asia conference in Accra on the theme: “A New Axis of knowledge,” which had attracted several hundred of scholars from all over the world.

The conference marks the first time that Asian and African scholars are meeting in Africa to examine links, exchanges, practices, and experiences that have shaped and continue to shape the relations between the two continents.

Eight broad themes are being addressed in panels, workshops, round-tables and plenary sessions.

They include trans-continental relations, migration and diasporas, imagination and culture, aid and development, the role of Asia in Africa, African studies in Asia and Asian studies in Africa, political comparisons and interactions, ideas and religious practices.

Professor Agyei-Mensah said the information age placed a huge responsibility on scholars and nations to trade in ideas to create opportunities for the future.

He observed that elections in some Asian countries last about a month yet the outcome tends out peacefully but in Africa, polls which take a number of days are usually marred with disturbances.

He said given that many people tend to Asia for education and search jobs, meant that the two continents need to learn about each other closely and understand their cultural dynamics.

The rationale behind the conference, organizers say, is to intensify the interaction between the two continents – of capital investments, commerce, political alliances and cultural transfers of knowledge and urgently calls for systematic scholarly engagements with the past and present of Asian and African realities.

The initiative constitutes a first attempt to sustain a humanities-informed South-South knowledge platform with connections with other academic centers in Europe and North America. GNA

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