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International Conference Munich, September 2006

6 September 2006 - 8 September 2006

Africa is often called the forgotten continent in Europe. Collapsing states, violent conflicts and natural disasters form the picture of Africa in Europe. Therefore Africa is from a political perspective, often seen only in terms of emergency aid. This conference wanted to challenge the common picture and to analyse the main aspects of the relationship between Africa and Europe. In addition the question how these relationships could be organised in the future to develop a better partnership between both continents was addressed. A contribution was also made to the scientific debate regarding the relationship between Europe and the poorest countries of the world. The success of a new world order depends on how Europe behaves towards those countries – in the words of the Federal President of Germany: “The development of Africa will be the deciding factor of the humanity of the world”. Since there is a priority for the preoccupation with Africa for the Society of Jesus, it appears meaningful for the analysis of the relationship between Europe and the developing countries to involve in this continent more intensively.

Three main topics were addressed at the conference, each focussing on a special aspect that contributes to the relationship between Africa and Europe: the fight against poverty (esp. the integration of Africa into the world economy), the African-European migration politics and the role of women in Africa. These three aspects are particularly suitable not only due to their respective topicality, but also because their variability contributes to determining the scope of the relationship.

The various relations between Africa and Europe (political, economical, socio-cultural) are formed by the different perceptions of both continents. In order to escape an euro-centered approach to the question, these perceptions were examined from an African point of view in the beginning of the conference. This formed the basis for the discussions of the three main topics. First poverty was analysed in connection with the growing global relations and the integration and/or exclusion of Africa in the world economy. The focus of this analysis was on the role of Europe regarding the position of Africa’s place in the world economy. Secondly migration (from Africa to Europe) and the reactions of Europe were discussed. This analysis was particularly focused on the causes of migration and the political strategies and social effects following this phenomenon. Lastly the role of women in Africa was discussed. Not only was attention given to their problematic situation, but their role in the cultural, religious and political development processes was also pointed out.

The workshops in the third part of the conference allowed for a deepened preoccupation with the aspects of the three main topics. At the end of each discussion, the question was posed what necessary and meaningful political course of action is needed in each respective field. In the final presentation this was taken up systematically and discussed with regard to the contribution the Christian churches and the Jesuits can have to organise the future of the relationship between Europe and Africa. In this way it is hoped that a contribution may be made towards the future organisation of Europe with regard to her relationship with Africa.

For more information: http://www.hfph.mwn.de/igp/scribani/scribani_1.htm


6 September 2006
8 September 2006
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