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Africa-Asia: A New Axis of Knowledge


'Africa-Asia, A New Axis of Knowledge' is an inclusive transnational platform facilitated by IIAS that convenes scholars, artists, intellectuals, and educators to study, discuss, and share knowledge on the intricate connections and entanglements between the African and Asian world regions.

Our aim is to contribute to the establishment of an autonomous intellectual and academic community of individuals and institutions between two of the world’s most vibrant continents. Beyond the co-creation and stimulation of a new axis of knowledge between Africa and Asia, we also aspire to facilitate the development of research and educational bases in African and Asian universities. This institutional component is aimed at delivering foundational knowledge in the two regions about one another’s cultures and societies.

Through this, these two regions are brought into conversation with one another, reviving exchanges that have existed and continue to exist outside of the purview of western-centric points of departure. Such exchange is vitally necessary for the sustainable and balanced development of both these areas. The Africa-Asia Axis for knowledge provides an opportunity to decentre western-originated fields of Asian and African area studies so as to recentre knowledge production within these regions. By providing African and Asian perspectives on issues that these regions face, the Africa-Asia Axis of Knowledge taps into local knowledges and exchanges between two regions that share many of the same contemporary challenges. While the focus is on Africa and Asia, the benefits of such an approach extends to third parties, like Europe, that are able to gain insight into some of the biggest challenges, complexities, and developments across two dynamic and increasingly important world regions. It may also contribute to the regeneration of the studies of Africa and Asia in Europe by encouraging cross-cutting investigations around an analytical framework supporting comparisons and the search of often unseen connections.

Some pertinent questions that this Axis of Knowledge deals with relate to formal and informal forms of South-South cooperation, the geopolitical importance of exchange between these regions, and questions related to how African and Asian exchanges look like outside of Europe as the traditional interlocutor? Importantly, understanding the historical foundations of how engagement between these regions have existed and developed across time forms the network’s basis for understanding contemporary dynamics.

Most notably, the axis of knowledge culminates in the Africa-Asia Axis of Knowledge triennial conference held in Africa, where scholars and practitioners come together to exchange ideas and engage on areas for collaboration. In so doing it also provides those interested in Africa-Asia connections to link up through a vibrant and dynamic network.