May 25th marked a new beginning in the history ofTsinghua University as it inaugurated its first-ever African StudentAssociation – THUASA (Tsinghua University African Student Association). The event for the first time ever united theinternational African student body in Tsinghua that includes over 110 enrolled students representing 27 African countriesand opened a platform for collaboration among these students and the wider bodyof the University.
“The idea to have a united body of African students was conceived inthe early months of the 2017” says Zougrana, a Master’s student from Ghana andTHUASA’s elected President, from his experience of noticing a gap in communicationamong students from different cultures represented in the University;particularly running into misconceptions of Africa.
Moreover, celebrating African Liberation day on May 25th,the Association remarked at the influence of student-led coalitions thatnurtured key leaders like Julius Nyerere in Tanzania and Kwame Nkrumah in Ghanato name a few, for the independence of many African nations.
The founding principles of the Association followed from theseexamples to increase inter-cultural understanding among Tsinghua’s vast internationalstudent body as well as to nurture African students’ experiences in China forthe development of African nations.
Through interactive approaches to share and experience the widevariety of African Cultures, volunteering events, forums, and professionallyadvancing opportunities, the launch shared the vision of the Association as abeacon of values to unite, inform and nurture for many years to come.
The inauguration of the association, which was officiated at theSchool of Management and Public Policy, represented these efforts by featuringpresentations by influential speakers from a diverse set of backgrounds.
Students got a rare insight into Africa’s past with a presentationof the continent’s contribution to knowledge development, shared by Dr.Chabalala, a student from the School of Public Health at Tsinghua University.
A talk on the structural transformation through China – Africarelations gave a unique first-person insight into the continent’s relationshipwith China and developmental impacts, was given by Professor Tang of the Schoolof International Relations and Carnegie – Tsinghua Center.
Looking to the future, Professor John Akokpari from the Center African Studies at Peking University opened up a discussion addressing opportunities for African students in the diaspora to be change makers for the development of their countries.
The talks were followed by an exhibition of local African musical instruments and dances performed by students from universities around Beijing, and a question and answer discussion on solving the challenges facing African countries.
All could not be said without acknowledging the support, directions and guidance of the International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC) under whose tutelage the founders worked to make this a reality. Also the School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM) cannot be left out especially to the management for hosting this historic event. And our able patrons who spared apart of their tight schedule to give us the necessary support, advice and counselling during the preparatory stages. Finally, our comrades and friends from other schools and institutions who came to solidarize with us during the launch, we say a very big thank you for all your efforts and may we witness better days to come in the life of THUASA on Tsinghua campus.
Writer: Joanita Kente Tushabe.
Editor: Hallam Henry.