Professor Christopher Afoke Isike of the Department of Political Sciences in the Faculty of Humanities was recently awarded the prestigious African Pathways Programme (APP)/BRICS Teaching and Research Mobility Grant. The grant is awarded by the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) to advance research, pedagogical approaches and learning in the humanities and social sciences through fostering increased cooperation and dialogue amongst scholars and postgraduate researchers in Africa. Researchers and postgraduate students who meet the requirements are encouraged to participate in this unifying effort to strive for academic and technical excellence through research and joint teaching activities at non-South African universities across the African continent over 12 months.
Through this grant, Prof Isike will be hosted by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique. Among others, he intends to use this award to help the Mozambican university develop a doctoral programme in governance and public administration; revamp their master’s programme offerings by introducing new elements in African politics and including a service-learning component. Prof Isike also hopes to use the award to create new opportunities for external examination for both universities and departments involved; expand the collaborative research output of these institutions through co-authored publications in accredited and peer-reviewed international journals as well as endeavouring to publish a book in the year after the grant period.
Prof Isike, an Africanist scholar by his research standpoint, is passionate about facilitating long-term collaborations between African researchers, and his vast experience in research and academia in Africa and globally will be useful in realizing the goals of the grant both for the University of Eduardo Mondlane and the University of Pretoria. According to him, this award “will benefit (the Department of Political Sciences), the Faculty of Humanities and the University of Pretoria at large as it will open up opportunities for interdepartmental teaching and research collaborations with Mozambican colleagues, open access to Lusophone Africa and extend our external examination networks with good opportunities for student and staff exchange visits”. Given that the Lusophone Africa world remains underexplored―especially by South African academia―Prof Isike’s selection of a Lusophone institution is a welcome development given the benefits it offers expanding research and teaching and learning excellence across Africa. In Prof Isike’s words, “my overarching goal is to use this grant to develop and foster endearing research networks and knowledge-sharing between South African and non-South African universities across Africa to enable higher education tourism within the continent with the University of Pretoria as the gateway platform".
Warm congratulations to Prof Isike and the Department of Political Sciences.