11-12 May 2022 Int’l Symposium on African Endogenous Governance

“Revisiting Theories and Practices of Endogenous Governance in Africa” Co-Convened by Afrospectives and Global Humanity for Peace Institute will take place on Zoom on 11-12 May 2022 at 14.00 – 18.00 UK (Summer) Time. Register HERE in advance for this event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Read about the Symposium below. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SYMPOSIUM FLYER.

Africa, the continent where humanity created its first communities, has always had rich philosophies, wisdom and praxis aimed at developing humanising systems of governance through regulating power, enriching social interactions, distributing resources fairly, and harmonising human’s relationships with nature and other non-human entities. Examples of this rich heritage include the political traditions of Ubuntu of the Bantu peoples, the Kurukan Fuga Charter of the Mandingos, the Xeer of Somalis, the Gacaca in Rwanda, the Gada of Oromos and the Madqa of the Afars, to name but a few. Africa is also home to incredibly diverse socio-political organisations ranging from multi-ethnic and multi-cultural empire structures to small homogeneous community formations. It is the continent par excellence where sophisticated methods of consensus-building, conflict transformation, and relational reconciliation have been elaborated.

More than 60 years after formal independence, the legacies of coloniality that have perpetuated the prejudices, toxic viewpoints and dehumanising behaviours inherited from colonial domination continue to shape the worldviews and imaginations of African decision-makers. In most African countries, political and institutional mimicry of the ruling classes has led to the emergence of fragile nation-states, unsustainable socio-political and economic structures and inappropriate governance policies, all based on Western paradigms. In this context, some countries such as Botswana, Rwanda and Somaliland, have initiated interesting experiments to revitalise indigenous and traditional values and practices in response to people’s needs. 

To explore these significant examples of endogenous (vs. exogenous) government systems within the African continent, we are proposing an international symposium, co-convened by the think-tank Afrospectives and the Global Humanity for Peace Institute. The Symposium will bring together high-level panellists who are African scholars, experts and practitioners, including:  

  • Scholars who have done research in the field of concrete systems of governance in Africa
  • Experts who have studied policies and practices of traditional governance in Africa at all levels
  • Thinkers who have been reflecting on the relevance of African endogenous humanist and political philosophies and their contribution to Africa and to humanity

The panelists and participants will be invited to:

  • Present the result of their field-research on endogenous systems of governance;
  • Identify and discuss specificities and  communalities and complementarities between different governance systems in Africa;
  • Present and analysis examples of revitalisation and modernisation of traditional systems of governance to respond to current needs;
  • Discuss the contribution that African endogenous visions and perspectives on governance could make to the current crisis;
  • Define some guidelines for African countries willing to revitalize their indigenous systems of governance.

Together, the panellists and the participants will identify inclusive forms of community decision-making aimed at consensus building, especially those demonstrating respect for diversity, mutual listening, dialogue, and understanding. Practices highlighted are those rooted in values that are more deeply human, more communitarian, and more in tune with the spiritual nature of human life. Thus the examples to be explored can help re-envision the contribution of traditional African governance practices to the emergence of contemporary Africa approaches to democracy.

Register HERE in advance for this event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Read HERE about the speakers, their bios and the abstracts of their presentations.

Panel Dialogue: “Owning Slavery, Pursuing Justice, Seeking Reconciliation: Lessons from Georgetown and the U.S. Jesuits”

This is a panel dialogue that took place online on April 29, 2021. The background is that in 1838, the Jesuits sold 272 enslaved people, including men, women and children. This was the largest single sale of enslaved people in human history. Some of the proceeds were used to support the development of Georgetown University.

In 2015, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia established a Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which led to dialogue with and apology to Descendants and key efforts to address the legacy of slavery and overcome racism at Georgetown, in Washington, and beyond. On March 15 of this year, U.S. Jesuits and descendant leaders announced the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, which will support the educational aspirations of Descendants of Jesuit slaveholding and racial healing efforts in the United States.

At a time of national reckoning on racism and dialogue on how to pursue justice, this Initiative Dialogue explored personal, religious, and institutional responsibilities for the legacy of slavery and the reality of structural racism. The dialogue around institutional responses to enslavement has raised important questions, offered new possibilities for collaboration, and new paths forward for our nation and the U.S. Catholic Church.

2nd Int’l Symposium: Collective Healing of Traumas: New Possibilities for Peace in Communities Sept 2019

Collective and community initiatives can empower those suffering from the wounds of a violent past to collaborate towards mutual healing, thus creating new possibilities for peace. To better understand the significance of these community-rooted collective healing endeavours, the GHFP and the UNESCO Slave Route Project hosted a one-day International Symposium, at the Royal Society for the Arts in London. The event brought together practitioners and scholars who have experiences and expertise in the field of communal and collective healing of mass traumas, for an intimate dialogue focused around three core questions:
  1. What are the typical psychological and social symptoms encountered in communities resulting from the experience and legacies of past atrocities?
  2. What might constitute collective healing in these situations? 
  3. How do community-based processes and practices contribute to collective healing? (And how would the community evaluate collective healing? What are the relevant indicators that some healing has taken place?)
Presentations included the Australia’s journey of healing through the Sorry Day marches, the Healing the Wounds of History programme in Lebanon, Foresee Research Group’s restorative healing approaches in Hungary, critical reflection on the structural conditions of healing from the perspectives of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation, the Initiatives of Change International’s Trustbuilding in the communities programme, and the Peace Charter of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.    Read here the Collective_Healing_of_Trauma_Concept_Note.  Please return soon for updates on the Symposium’s participants, their bios, and presentations, and conclusions.

Overcoming structural racism requires more of people, but also healing

Louis Menand writes in New Yorker February 4th 2019 issue:

“institutional racism” or “structural racism”—is much harder to address. It requires more of people than just striking down a law.

Read the full article entitled: “The Supreme Court Case That Enshrined White Supremacy in Law How Plessy v. Ferguson shaped the history of racial discrimination in America.”

UNGA: Commemorating the abolition of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade

General Assembly 73rd Session: 38th Plenary Meeting, 21 Nov 2018
Commemoration of the abolition of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Speakers Call for Greater Awareness‑Raising about Dangers of Racism, Prejudice, as General Assembly Reviews Education Programme on Transatlantic Slave Trade – Agenda Item 121.

http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/general-assembly-73rd-session-38th-plenary-meeting/5970052087001/?term=

UNESCO Healing the Wounds of Slavery Symposium: Questions discussed

On October 18th and 19th, twenty-eight renowned caring and inspirational experts from multi-disciplinary backgrounds met at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for days of deep sharing, exchange and dialogue around the topic of “Healing the Wounds of Slavery”. The symposium included four observers.

At the Opening Session, Prof Thomas Banchoff, Georgetown’s Vice President for Global Engagement, welcomed the international experts to the Berkley Center where he previously served as the founding director. Prof Banchoff shared Georgetown’s recognition of this important UNESCO initiative, and expressed his good will for the outcome of the Symposium.

The participants and contributors discussed the following questions:

  1. What are the historical contexts, foundations and underpinnings of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery?
  2. What lessons can we learn from these and other dehumanizing tragedies in world history?
  3. What are the latest research findings on the psycho-social consequences of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery?
  4. How do the different approaches, experiences and processes contribute to the healing the wounds left by such historical traumas?
  5. What would be the necessary approaches to healing the wounds of transatlantic slave trade and slavery?
  6. What would be the appropriate strategies to communicate and inform the public for a better understanding of the challenges to the overcoming of these legacies?
  7. Who are the key stakeholders and partners to associate with the healing
    processes and dialogues?

At the concluding session of the Symposium, a number of proposals were made and the group are working to identify strategic steps forward.

Symposium event photography is now available to share, thank you.