BSoG and Miami University, Ohio organise online session on International Relations of Africa

A joint online class between the Brussels School of Governance (BSoG) and Miami University, Ohio, was conducted on Thursday 23 February 2023, in the context of the International Relations of Africa course taught by Dr. Jimmy Hendry Nzally. The foundation for this project was laid by retired Dr. Mel Cohen and Dr. Nzally, who have held series of joint classes for American and Gambian students since 2012. Given this background, Miami University Dr. John Cinnamon, who offers an honors course on "Freedom, Equality, Leadership, and Community," decided to continue this partnership.

The session was student-led. Following presentations from BSoG Bachelor in International Affairs students in class, there was an interactive exercise. The presentations emphasised African nationalism movements as well as difficulties that recently independent African states confront. Matilde Dario, Anastasia Cutajar, Jayani Brooks, Itamar de Leon Mateo, and Matthias Kralupper make up the first team. This group outlined the degree to which ideology served as a motivating force in the independence movements across Africa under French and British colonial control.

The second group concentrated on how the Cold War affected newly independent African states' politics and societies in Africa, debating the protracted battle in Angola caused by the Cold War's proxy war and its long-lasting effects on Angola, a former Portuguese colony. Amara Godia, Ashleigh Patterson, Oscar Llaudet, Ibrahim Khan, and Sophia Habsburg were among the group's members.

BSoG and Miami University participants had positive reflections to share. Matthias Kralupper, one of the student presenters pointed out, “what many students might have enjoyed the most are the conversations and discussions shared with the other students and teaching staff, which inspired to ask new questions and provide new inspiration for future research”. Similar observations were made by a regular contributor of the course, Mr Malang Faye, PhD candidate at Ankara Yildrim Beyaze University, Turkey: “I am convinced that this engagement will challenge students from both sides to dig deeper on African politics and history”. Clara Burkhardt, a student of the course expressed that: “it was a great pleasure to attend this very inspiring joint session on African independence movements and the struggles of newly independent African states”. Oscar Llaudet, one of the student presenters shared similar observations: “The conference with Miami University gave all students an opportunity to discuss these topics with experts coming from different backgrounds and perspectives”. On the part of Miami University Dr. John was impressed with the performance of the BSoG students: “Please let them know that we are deeply impressed by their growing expertise, comprehensive insights as well as the contributions of your colleagues”.

Both presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session and insightful discussions. Stephanie Arnold, a BSoG visiting researcher and an assistant for this course reflected on the fact that “the different disciplinary backgrounds of the students from the two sides of the Atlantic helped to raise new perspectives and offered an opportunity for students to step out of their degree’s comfort zone”. Following the success of this joint class, both Prof. John and Dr. Nzally are already envisioning a reiteration later this semester during which students from Miami University would present their class work.