Opportunities: Call for Papers and Job Opportunities

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Call for Papers – Diversity in Higher Education Research Colloquium

‘Decolonizing’ Higher Education Transformation, 2-3 February 2017
Bloemfontein (University of the Free State), South Africa

Conveners

Nokuthula Sithole (University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa); Dionne van Reenen (University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa); Abel Valenzuela (University of California, Los Angeles, United States); Maurice Crul (Vrije University, Amsterdam, Netherlands); and André Keet (University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa).

Background

In a tri-partite collaboration between the three universities, we
colloquium in 2014 on Diversity and the Politics of Engaged Scholarship in Bloemfontein. The 2015 colloquium in Amsterdam was themed Silenced Voices: Diversity and Social Justice in Higher Education. Earlier this year, the University of California, Los Angeles, hosted the 2016- colloquium titled Implementing Diversity in Higher Education: Challenges, Successes and Lessons Learned.

The imperative driving these colloquia relates to the need to study the ‘diversification’ of university spaces and to explore dexterous and productive praxes that can contribute to socially-just higher education environments. Continue reading

Biafra Faith-Based Humanitarian Intervention: Basis in the World Council of Churches

Last week we posted the first of two reflections from our conference on Biafra/the Nigerian civil war. In this reflection, Mercy Oduyoye,  the director of the Institute of African Women in Religion and Culture at Trinity Theological Seminary in Ghana, discusses her personal experiences with the Biafra/Nigerian civil war and the involvement of the World of Churches in the conflict. Oduyoye leaves readers with a strong statement regarding the Christian base for humanitarian aid and the ecumenical diakonia service – a Christian witness to service that in turn challenges colonial paternalism and social structures that perpetuate poverty. 

by Prof. Mercy Oduyoye

Mercy Oduyoye IMG_2024_ce20I have offered to be on this panel in order to share a personal experience and call attention to the participation of the World Council of Churches-WCC in humanitarian interventions and the theories and theologies that inform its contribution.

In 1968, I married Modupe Oduyoye, a Nigerian, while working in Geneva with the WCC in its Youth Department. Because of our marriage, when I completed my three-year contract in 1970, I did not seek a renewal with the WCC but accepted another offer from the All Africa Conference of Churches-AACC, which made it possible for me to live with my husband and work from Ibadan.  Modupe had just moved from being the General Secretary of the Student Christian Movement-SCM of Nigeria, to the position of Literature Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria. At this time, the late lawyer/politician, Bola Ige, and the late medical doctor, Akanu Ibiam, formerly sir Francis Ibiam, were well known names in the Nigerian Student Christian Movement, the World Student Christian Federation and in the WCC. Continue reading

The Problem of How to Enact Diakonia: The World Council of Churches and the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970

We post this week two more reflections from our conference on Biafra/the Nigerian civil war. The first is by Hans von Ruette, the archivist of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, who explores the historical documentation of the WCC to argue that the Council found itself in an unresolvable predicament and experienced severe tensions between remaining apolitical and taking sides in the conflict. Von Ruette ends his post with an impassioned plea to consult archives whenever possible. The questions of what archives exist (written, oral, pictorial) and how to access and interpret them became a major theme of the conference.

By Hans von Rütte, Archivist of World Council of Churches, Geneva (Switzerland)

Abstract: The World Council of Churchesporträt hvr photo helga leibundgut 2015-12-25 ausschnitt 2 was one of the most active external actors in the Nigerian/Biafran war. But it faced an intractable dilemma, caught between enacting Christian ethics of providing relief, on one hand, and keeping a neutral position in order to broker peace, on the other. Different agendas, internal and external, interfered with the result that the WCC became largely unable to act. Ultimately, the dilemma between answering the humanitarian call and receiving and mediating political-diplomatic intelligence was unresolvable. My analysis uses WCC archives to make this argument. Continue reading

In the News: Who Owns Local Knowledge and Resources in Africa?

by Professor Chidi Oguamanam

19350363660For so long developing countries, including African countries, have been told that stronger protection of intellectual property rights is required for economic progress. This hypothesis is rooted into neo-liberal economic thinking driven by familiar institutions such as the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the World Trade Organization among others. United States and its allies have over decades linked stronger intellectual property to market access. The ability of African countries and others to fully participate in the international trade is now tied to the extent they are able to have robust intellectual property laws. However, this approach has failed to recognized the nature of knowledge production that goes on in indigenous and local communities that constitute the majority of African States. Because of their close relationship with nature and biological resources, most knowledge production in these communities is linked to the uses and dealings with biological and natural resources through traditional knowledge, including African religions. Yet the global standard of intellectual property articulated under the WTO framework through the international agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) does not recognize traditional knowledge. Continue reading

The Marrakesh Declaration: A Sermon by Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar

The Marrakesh Declaration, issued in January 2016, is a statement that reaffirms the protection of religious minorities as integral to Islamic principles and history, as reflected in the Sahifah al-Madina (the Charter or Constitution of Medina). Rashied Omar, Imam at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa and Visiting Scholar at the University of Notre Dame, discusses why the Declaration is important in the sermon delivered in South Bend, Indiana, which he agreed to allow us to post below.

marrakeshThe Marrakesh Declaration and Interfaith Harmony

by Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar

I would like in this khutbah to reflect on the historic an inspirational Marrakesh Declaration
(`Ilan Marrakesh) that was issued by over 300 Muslim scholars and interfaith leaders in Marrakesh, Morocco, on January 27, 2016.

The aim of the Marrakesh conference was to re-affirm the key principles of the 1400-year old Sahifah al-Madina (the Charter or Constitution of Medina) and to discuss ways of recovering its principles for our contemporary world. The conference was aptly titled “The Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Lands”.

It might be expedient to begin by briefly remind ourselves about the significance of Sahifah al-Madina. Continue reading