Africa-Asia: A New Axis of Knowledge

'Africa-Asia, A New Axis of Knowledge' is an inclusive transnational platform or collective that convenes scholars, artists, intellectuals, and educators from Africa, Asia, Europe, and beyond 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 long-term establishment of an autonomous intellectual and academic community of individuals and institutions between two of the world’s most vibrant continents. We aspire to facilitate the development of research and educational infrastructures in African and Asian universities, capable of delivering foundational knowledge in the two regions about one another’s cultures and societies. This exchange, we believe, is a prerequisite for a sustainable and balanced socio-economic progress of the two continents. It is also an opportunity to move beyond the Western-originated fields of Asian and African area studies—something that would benefit Asian, African and Western scholars alike. 

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The 'Africa-Asia platform' was first envisioned during a roundtable on Asian Studies in Africa in 2012, in Lusaka, Zambia. This roundtable led to the establishment of the pan-African Association for Asian Studies in Africa (A-ASIA), which is the key-partner in the platform's network.

2012: Asian Studies in Africa Roundtable, Lusaka Zambia
Since 2010, IIAS and partners in Africa, Asia and the USA have been working on an initiative to promote the study of and teaching on Asia at African universities. This initiative constituted a first attempt to sustain a humanities-informed South-South knowledge platform with connections between other academic centres in Europe and North America, but also Latin-America and Oceania.

The 'Africa-Asia platform' was first envisioned in 2012, in Lusaka, Zambia, when concerned scholars from five continents and 17 countries gathered to discuss the state of Asian studies in Africa as well as to identify a way forward. This roundtable meeting led to the establishment of the pan-African ‘Association for Asian Studies in Africa’ (A-ASIA). 

2013: ICAS 8 in Macau
In June 2013, A-ASIA'S Steering Committe met in Macau during ICAS 8 (eighth biennial meeting of the International Convention of Asia Scholars). A-ASIA hosted two roundtables, discussing concrete ways to develop and coordinate Asian Studies in Africa. The ICAS Convention will continue to serve as a platform to A-ASIA in Asia and beyond.

2015: Africa-Asia, a New Axis of Knowledge, Accra, Ghana 
A-ASIA held its inaugural conference in Accra, Ghana, from 24 -26 September 2015, entitled 'Africa-Asia, a New Axis of Knowledge'.

Organised with the support of the ICAS and IIAS, it was the first-ever conference held in Africa to bring together a multidisciplinary ensemble of scholars and institutions from the continent and the rest of the world with a shared focus on Asia and Asia-Africa intellectual interactions.

2018: Africa-Asia, a New Axis of Knowledge – Second Edition, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 20-22 September 2018.

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