In the present era, Africa is increasingly seen as a focus of global interest – both in the economic, diplomatic, and humanitarian context. Over the coming decades, the prospects for economic growth are only expected to increase; Israel is one of the countries which have improved its diplomatic ties with sub-Saharan African countries. At the same time, many African countries still face significant challenges, including food insecurity, humanitarian crises, migration and refugees, civil conflict, and terrorism. Despite the continents' growing centrality, it remains as yet understudied.
Under the leadership of Dr. Irit Back, the Africa Research Program provides the framework for research initiatives into contemporary Africa and its complexities. It supports the research costs of affiliated doctoral-level researchers who specialize in African issues, and aims to educate students so that they may better understand critical issues in the field.
The Africa Research Program regularly hosts research forums for topical academic discussion, an annual symposium open to the general public, and also engages in other activities which support the overall goals of the initiative. Past activities have included guided discussions on the realities facing refugees transiting the Sinai Peninsula, and a workshop which taught Amharic and basic cultural competencies to medical students in order to better prepare them for working with the Ethiopian community in Israel.
- To nurture and support cutting-edge research into the most pressing issues facing the African continent today;
- To encourage and facilitate the publication of research by affiliated researchers through leading academic presses and scholarly journals;
- To host regular scholarly forums and symposia dealing with developments in the field;
- To train and support practitioners dealing with African immigrant and migrant communities in Israel.