Building peace in the minds of men and women

Teaching the General History of Africa, UNESCO conference in Ghana

Participants at a UNESCO regional conference on the use of the General History of Africa (Accra, Ghana, from 22 to 24 October) will examine the place the collection occupies in universities on the continent and how it is taught. The event takes place more than 30 years after UNESCO published the first volume of the collection.

A workshop aiming to review the social science concepts and paradigms that are applied to Africa will be held on 21 October, ahead of the Conference, which will bring together members of the Scientific Committee of the General History of Africa, university chancellors and vice-chancellors, deans of social sciences and history departments, and experts on African history. The purpose of the meeting is to promote the utilisation of the General History of Africa in the continent’s institutions of higher education and make its volumes more readily available.

The General History of Africa project was initiated in 1964 at the request of Africa’s newly independent States, which wished to re-examine the hitherto Euro-centric vision of the continent’s past and compile an African history unencumbered by the prejudices of colonialism. The actual work began in 1970 with the appointment of a 39-member international scientific committee, two thirds of them African, in charge of determining the content of the work.

Eight volumes have been published to date and work on a 9th volume updating the earlier tomes and examining the contribution of the African diaspora around the world is scheduled to begin in November 2013 in Brazil.

The second phase of the project, concerning teaching, was launched in 2009. It involves developing content based on the General History of Africa for primary and secondary school curricula across the African Union.


Media contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 64, a.bardon(at)