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Supporting Academic Research in South Africa

A press conference held at the Embassy of South Africa in Berlin for the promotion of research in the African continent

December 19th, 2014
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On December 17th, an initiative for the promotion of research in Africa has been launched at a press conference organized by the South African Embassy in Berlin. The Gerda Henkel Foundation in Germany has set up a 2.5 million euro scholarship programme, with the aim to support African and Southeast Asian PhD candidates in their research in the field of humanities. Celebrating the 100th birthday of the founder, Lisa Maskell, the Foundation provides grants for 100 scholarship years spread over a five year period.

Dr. Michael Hanssler, Chair of the Executive Board of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, said that through this support the Foundation, “wishes to make a special contribution to the education of African scholars” and explained the motivation and objectives behind this new fellowship programme. Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III, University Professor and founder of the Fondation AfricAvenir International, stated that the result of this initiative “is a new generation of African academics who thanks to a superb network can make an extraordinary and dynamic contribution to advancing their respective countries, their regions, and the entire continent.”

A contribution to programme will be made by PANGeA (Partnership for Africa’s Next Generation of Academics). This network was established four years ago by leading African universities and offers long-term PhD opportunities. The center for the PhD programme will be the Stellenbosch University in South Africa and the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences. Dr. Cindy Steenekamp, the Director of the School, stated: “our vision is to promote Africa’s next generation of academics, leaders and professionals through partnership and collaboration on the continent.”

During the press conference, Neema Eliphas Laize, who belongs to the first generation of Lisa Maskell Fellows, held a presentation for her research project on “the literary depiction of Maasai women in nomadic societies”. Gerda Henkel’s support for the Foundation will enable 25 PhD students to complete their programme at Stellenbosch University within the next five years.

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