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Hefaala III Earlier Announcement

Higher Education Forum for Africa, Asia and Latin America (HEFAALA) III

Academic Collaboration in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the Post- COVID World



Higher Education Forum for Africa, Asia and Latin America (HEFAALA) was launched in 2016 by International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA), in collaboration with the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) at Boston College. The forum fosters dialogue, research and communication in higher education in recognition of the enormous common challenges as well as growing opportunities in the three regions and beyond. It promotes mutually constructive engagements among the three regions.

The Second HEFAALA Symposium, under the theme “Internationalization of Higher Education in the New Era of World (Dis)Order” was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2019. This was a sequel to the first symposium which was themed “Continental Realities, International Imperatives” and held in Durban, South Africa in August 2016. These themes were well featured, with a sharp focus on the three continents, particularly Africa.

HEFAALA II, which was jointly run along with the 17th International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa, included Master Class Workshops on relevant themes, keynote addresses by leading scholars from Africa and elsewhere, and a series of round-table panel discussions addressing key questions and issues with respect to the theme. The symposium attracted a large number of participants from around the world, particularly from the three regions. Seasoned as well as early career academics and researchers, graduate students, policy makers, practitioners, funders, and more came together to interact and engage around the theme. A range of institutions were also represented in the forum.

One of the major outputs of the forum was a debate on the relevance of the definition of internationalization in the context and realities of Africa. The debate was triggered by the definition offered by one of the keynote speakers, Prof. Hans de Wit, and continued with the publication of seven articles on University World News by participants of the forum. The symposium has also resulted in the publication of a special issue of International Journal of African Higher Education, one of the leading journals on higher education in Africa, with contributions from participants of the event.


HEFAALA III – Academic Collaboration in Post-COVID World

In the last two symposia, considerable lessons were learned; extensive knowledge and information were generated; and formal and informal networking opportunities were made possible. The Symposia created a high-profile platform for scholars, researchers, academics, post-graduate students, and officials from the Global South to be able to deliberate on key issues of relevance and significance from their national and continental context as well as discourse vantage points. The inclusion of Northern players in the Symposia created a conducive and constructive environment of enriched dialogue and passionate debates that inform policy and shape discourse.

Building on the last two Symposia, the next international symposium is planned to take place in 2021 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the theme “Academic Collaboration in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the Post- COVID World”. The two-day Symposium will be organized in conjunction with the 2021 Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa – a high-profile event annually hosted by St. Mary’s University.

The overarching theme will be explored through background papers, and structured and unstructured dialogue around a range of issues in academic collaboration including, but not limited to, modalities and strategies, relevance, impact and resourcing, and the impact of language and socio-historical context. The role of the intellectual diaspora and the place of mobility in academic collaboration in the post-COVID world will also be examined.



The Third HEFAALA Symposium will be organized around the following overarching research questions:

  1. How and to what extent is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the typology and productivity of international academic collaboration in Africa and elsewhere in the Global South?
  2. How could academic collaborations, often cited as exhibiting unequal relationships, be transformed to foster more equitable partnerships through virtual and other modalities?
  3. What recommendations can be made to enhance South-South collaboration in response to Covid-19, through the emergence of new forms of educational delivery and research?


The objectives of the Symposium are:

  1. Explore, identify and investigate current state, nature, modalities and practices of academic collaboration between and among institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the rest of the World;
  2. Analyze and critique existing models and emerging trends of academic collaboration and academic mobility between and among institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the rest of the World in the post- COVID era;
  3. Identify and advance progressive models and paradigms, best practices, systems, and frameworks—such as the Accra Agenda for Action (2008) and Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2015)—in all facets of academic collaboration, both at the system and operational levels, to promote quality and excellence in higher education in Africa and beyond; and
  4. Explore resources and networks to enhance academic collaboration between and among Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the rest of the World.


Organization and Leadership

HEFAALA itself is a product of collaboration. It is initiated and coordinated by the International Network for Higher Education in Africa (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa), and implemented in collaboration with the Center for International Higher Education (Boston College, USA) and St. Mary’s University (Ethiopia). HEFAALA is strategically led by a nine-member Advisory Committee presided over by a chair (INHEA) and a co-chair (CIHE) and comprising leading scholars from institutions in the three continents. An Executive Committee, drawn from the Advisory Committee and chaired by the founder and convener of the Forum, Professor Damtew Teferra (INHEA, University of Kwazulu-Natal), is responsible for the organization and management of the event. Its activities are supported by an administrative team drawn from the three partner institutions.



HEFAALA is made possible through funding mainly from The Carnegie Corporation of New York.