AKU-ISMC Research Fellow Bakary Sambe spoke at an International Workshop at the French Parliament organised by University of Paris on 12 March entitled, ‘The Mediterranean Union: Building a space for knowledge’. The title of Sambe’s paper was The Mediterranean Union: What about Relations with Sub-Saharan Africa?
Sambe’s paper sought to demonstrate that it is illogical to exclude Sub-Saharan Africa from any space which aims to share knowledge and science of the Mediterranean, due to its strong historical ties to the Muslim world. Since medieval times, Sub-Saharan African has been linked to North Africa by many different exchanges and pilgrimages.
The Islamisation of Africa was facilitated by cross-Saharan trade and political relationships between old African empires and North African kings and princes. Sub-Saharan and North African scholars were involved in a process of sharing and exchanging knowledge long before the arrival of the European colonial powers.
Finally, Sambe argued that throughout history, there have been very dynamic relationships and spaces for exchange between people on both sides of the Sahara desert. According to Sambe, these cultural, political and strategic interactions make the two sides of the Sahara inseparable.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Mrs Michele Gendreau-Massaloux, French Secretary of State for Euro-Mediterranean Affairs. The conference was attended by various scholars, senators, students. Papers were presented by 15 scholars from Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Central Africa, France and Germany.
Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations