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The 2018 Zimbabwe Historical Association Conference Begins

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Hundreds of historians are gathered at the University of Zimbabwe for

the 4th Annual Zimbabwe Historical Association (ZHA) Conference and the Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) Africa Convention that run from 16-18 August 2018. Over 50 research papers will be delivered at the joint events. Participants are drawn from several historical associations and universities from the African continent and beyond.

                                                  

University of Zimbabwe Dean of Arts, Professor Itai Muwati delivering the introductory remarks 

Officially opening the Conference and Convention today, 16 August 2018, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Levi Nyagura marvelled at the unparalleled high level organization of the events, noting that a glance of the institutions represented showed that great and serious planning had gone into the preparation and organization of the conference and convention.

                

University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura opens the Conference

Remarked the Vice Chancellor,

I particularly wish to commend the collaboration between the Zimbabwe Historical Association and the Young Scholars Initiative for successfully bringing together young and seasoned scholars of different persuasions to collectively deliberate on topical issues confronting societies. In today’s world, interdisciplinary practice is non-negotiable if we are to unlock impactful research outcomes that advance the interest of humanity and improve understanding of the world, and of course the quality of life. This conference fulfils this interdisciplinary orientation as it brings together scholars from a wide array of disciplines….

Part of the conference participants following the opening speech by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura

Professor Sandra Swart of Stellenbosch University delivered the Opening Keynote Address. She traversed a wide range of issues in her thought provoking speech.

Professor Sandra Swart presenting the Keynote Address

 

VICE CHANCELLOR, PROFESSOR LEVI M. NYAGURA’S WELCOME REMARKS AT THE 4TH ANNUAL ZIMBABWE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION (ZHA) CONFERENCE AND YOUNG SCHOLARS INITIATIVE (YSI) AFRICA CONVENTION HOSTED BY THE DEPARTMENTS OF HISTORY AND ECONOMIC HISTORY

 

  • The Vice Chancellor of the Cooperative University of Kenya, Professor Esther Gicheru;
  • Young Scholars Management here present;
  • Dean of Arts, Professor I Muwati and other Deans here present;
  • Distinguished Panelists and presenters;
  • University Staff;
  • Students;
  • Invited guests;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to the University of Zimbabwe on this special occasion of the 4th Annual Zimbabwe Historical Association (ZHA) conference and Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) Africa Convention.  I particularly wish to commend the collaboration between the Zimbabwe Historical Association and the Young Scholars Initiative for successfully bringing together young and seasoned scholars of different persuasions to collectively deliberate on topical issues confronting societies.

 

In today’s world, interdisciplinary practice is non-negotiable if we are to unlock impactful research outcomes that advance the interest of humanity and improve understanding of the world, and of course the quality of life.  This conference fulfils this interdisciplinary orientation as it brings together scholars from a wide array of disciplines.

There is no doubt that this is an opportunity for mutual benefit for both the Zimbabwe Historical Association and the Young Scholars Initiative with each coming on board with its human and financial resources as well as pools of experience regionally and internationally.  The occasion of a joint hosting of this conference comes at no better time as the University of Zimbabwe steps up its drive for innovative transformation as it seeks to reclaim its rightful position among the world’s elite institutions of higher learning. 

 

I remember delivering a welcome address to the Zimbabwe Historical Association at its 2nd Annual Conference here at the University, and clearly the Association has grown from strength to strength.  It is encouraging to see academic associations growing and making such an impact.  We are indeed proud of this brain-child of the University of Zimbabwe, Faculty of Arts.  It is my hope that this conference achieves greater linkages between our institution and those represented here.  I also like to take this opportunity to encourage networking amongst both the young and seasoned scholars.  I have had sight of the Zimbabwe Historical Association conference theme that reads “Histories of Turning Points and Turning Points in History”.  I hope these conventions will in themselves be turning points to the histories and conduct of academia.  The theme itself is also very telling, especially in our  country where turning points have indeed been the hallmark of critical historical processes from pre-colonial to 30 July 2018 elections.  It is also important that the Zimbabwe Historical Association grows to generate authentic knowledge that is widely disseminated internationally.

From my reading of the mandate of the Young Scholars Initiative, I am particularly impressed that it seeks to foster new economic thinking.  For Africa, this can mean many things, one of which is the need to develop economic thinking that is grounded in and relevant to Africa.  It is very critical in this global village that Africa be able to contribute to its own interpretations of African economic experiences.  It is therefore important that this conference begins to seriously interrogate economic models that are suitable and relevant to the development of African economies.  It is not a secret that Zimbabwe and Africa at large have for quite a while, been experiencing serious economic challenges.  Does this not call for a paradigm shift in economic thinking?  If it does, what framework is needed for this new economic thinking?  This conference is indeed an opportunity for young African scholars begin to engage, debate and interact on these issues. 

 

The fast-changing pace of the world today calls for super ingenuity and focus towards providing relevant and sustainable solutions to increasing socio-economic challenges.  It is against this backdrop that initiatives such as the Young Scholars Initiative are most welcome.   Similarly, the Zimbabwe Historical Association has been making serious efforts re-defining the study and appreciation of historical studies in Zimbabwe.  This nascent yet spirited association whose membership includes seasoned senior and budding aspiring academics from various interrelated disciplines encourages the nurturing of a new generation of academics, who, while sharing the tried and tested principles of yesteryear academia, introduce modern and refreshing perspectives that keep the past alive and ignite interest for future generations.  It is my strong belief that if the intellectual momentum that saw the birth of the Zimbabwe Historical Association continues, the future is guaranteed and our understanding of the past enhanced. This will be accentuated and augmented by the stance of internationalisation of dialogue through global exchanges such as this forum.

 

At this critical moment in Zimbabwe’s history, I take the pleasure to welcome you all with a special message that not only are we open for business, but we also mean serious business.  I am hopeful that the next few days will witness exciting exchanges through open debates and well-polished presentations from the best minds from across the world.  I challenge you all that going forward from today, such forums should not remain a preserve of the academia, but should also include players in industry where these academic ideas will be translated into goods and services.

 

For those who are visiting Zimbabwe and the University of Zimbabwe for the first time, feel at home and enjoy your stay.  With these remarks, it is my singular honour to declare the Historical Association of Zimbabwe Conference and the Young Scholars Initiative   Africa Convention officially open.

I Thank You.

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