Event: Decolonizing university partnerships and the contribution of young people

Raïssa Mpundu (top left, SEZ), Philipp Keil (bottom left, SEZ), panel discussion (from left): Mimmy Bigirimana (entrepreneur and Miss Zero Plastic 2019), Yves Iraqoze (YAGA-Burundi), Diomede Mujojoma (AYEI-Burundi) and Augusta Muhimpundu (entrepreneur at 3hi); Theater group Umunyinya (bottom middle) ***************************** Raïssa Mpundu (à gauche en haut, SEZ), Philipp Keil (à gauche en bas, SEZ), Panel (de gauche vers la droite): Mimmy Bigirimana (Entrepreneur and Miss Zéro Plastique 2019), Yves Iraqoze (YAGA-Burundi), Diomède Mujojoma (AYEI-Burundi) and Augusta Muhimpundu (Entrepreneurs à 3hi) ; Troupe de theater Umunyinya (en bas au milieu)

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Partnership. Universities. A shared past that still lives in the present. A present and visible legacy, but an identity unrecognized by the law. Individuals and institutions. Colonial or anti-colonial structures or colonial continuities. A group of bloggers. A development cooperation institution. What do these groups have to do with each other?

In collaboration with YAGA Burundi, a group of young Burundian bloggers, the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) hosted a two-day conference and debate at the French Institute in Bujumbura on August 05th and 06th, 2021. The focus of the conference was on the topic of decolonization of the inter-university partnership and the question of how young people in particular can drive this process forward. This event is unique in the history of the SEZ, both because of its venue and because of the working languages: Rundi was the main language of the second day.

The main points of the two days included a panel discussion, presentations and artistic performances Umunyinya Theater Group, which tackled this sensitive topic in a profound, playful and humorous way. In one scene, the theater group reenacted a situation in which the structural exclusion in terms of mobility became clear: which path German people have to take to get a visa and which path Burundian people have to take, with a much higher probability of getting the visa After repeating it several times, I ultimately couldn't get it. Stereotypical images and ideas are still very prevalent. Particularly in university partnerships, mutual visits, joint research projects, etc. are heavily affected by such structural differences.

Philipp Keil, Managing Director of the SEZ, opened the exchange by pointing out that the Burundian and Baden-Württemberg partners greatly value mutual exchange and learning from each other. Muna Hassaballah, head of the Competence Center Burundi of the SEZ, mentioned that the SEZ's goals for this and last year include the participation of young people in the work of the partnership, but also the necessary and painful process of decolonizing our thoughts, actions and consumption.

The various topics of the evening focused, among other things, on the beginnings of the university partnership in Burundi and its current problems, such as Eric Nkurunziza, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology at the University of the Great Lakes, said in his post. He the aspect of decolonization, and not only the political, which was achieved on the day of independence, but also the “linguistic, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, ideological and financial” decolonization. Without neglecting the importance of North-South partnerships, Eric Nkurunziza also advocated for the strengthening of South-South university partnerships, pointing out the need to “depoliticize inter-university collaboration and avoid derogatory language that cultivates divisions and reinforced”. Some of the consequences of colonization that are still visible today were discussed, such as: B. the identity rights of the children of former colonizers and Burundian parents in Burundi, about the Issa Niyongere, the legal representative of the Association des Mulâtres des Grands Lacs, reported.

Solutions were also addressed in the discussion. Contrary to what we see today, a university degree should be the greatest asset for entering entrepreneurship to address the lack of jobs, such as Augusta Muhimpundu and Mimmy Bigirmana, both entrepreneurs, emphasized. The re-appropriation of language, history, culture and narratives was also discussed with a view to a better inter-university partnership. This would also mean that issues such as the return of Burundian artefacts stolen during the colonial period would be addressed by museums in an enlightened manner Aminadab Havyarimana, Lecturer and researcher in anthropology at the University of Burundi, emphasized. Since culture is the soul of a nation, the writer and entrepreneur encouraged Diomede Mujojoma encourage young people to engage in entrepreneurial activity, particularly in the agricultural sector. He encouraged young people to start writing because, as his own story shows, it is possible to pursue your goal even if you have no resources at the beginning: so his initial writing on banana leaves did not prevent him from eventually ending up in France to publish and be invited to the annual book fair in France.

The target group for this event was primarily young people. People who are interested in shaping partnerships between the so-called North and the Global South in such a way that both areas can work together with respect and dignity. The exchange showed that this can only happen with constant contextualization of the shared history. But it doesn't just look back; we also look forward to changing the future together. So that interuniversity partnerships provide access for young people and create a shared world.

Note that on the various pages of YAGA-Burundi as well as on Twitter and Facebook various articles were published. If you would like to continue to stay up to date on the activities of the Burundi Competence Center, you can register for the digital Burundi Nouvelles here.


De colonization and partenariat: source is the part of the young people of the universities?

Partenariat. Universités. A passé commun qui vit encore dans le present. A patrimoine present and visible, may be an identity not recognized by the loi. Individuals and institutions. Structures colonial or anti-colonial or continuous colonial. A group of bloggers. An institution for cooperation in development. What are these groups that see us and others?

En coopération avec YAGA Burundi, a group of young people from Burundi, the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) organized a conference-débat de deux jours at the French Institute of Bujumbura on the 5th and 6th of 2021. The conference is focused on the subject Thème de la décolonisation du partenariat interuniversitaire et sur la question de savoir comment les jeunes en particulier peuvent faire avancer ce processus. This event is unique in the history of the ZES, which is now present, in the same language as the language of work: the Rundi is the main language of the second day.

Les deux journées ont été marquées par un debate, des presentations et des performances artisticiques du groupe de théâtre Umunyinya , which abordé this question sensitive de manière profonde, ludique et humoristique. In a scene, the theater group has a different scene in a situation in which the source of the exclusion structure and the mobility equipment is in the clear state: The people in the area are prepared to obtain a visa and the Burundais are prepared, avec a probabilité beaucoup plus élevée de ne pas obtenir le visa au bout du compte après avoir répété plusieurs fois. Les images and les idées stéréotypées sont encore très répandues. These differences in structures ont an incidence considérable sur les partenariats universitaires, les visits mutuelles, les projets de recherche conjoints, etc.

Philipp Keil, directeur exécutif de SEZ, a ouvert les activités d'échange en soulignant que les partenaires Burundais et du Bade-Wurtemberg accordent a greate importance aux échanges et à l'aprentissage mutuels. Muna Hassaballah, responsible you Center de Compétence sur le Burundi de la SEZ, a mentionné que les objectsifs de SEZ pour this année et l'année dernière including la participation des jeunes in le work du partenariat, mais aussi le processus nécessaire et douloureux de décolonisation de notre façon de penser, d'agir et de consommer.

Les différents thèmes de la soirée ont porté, entre other, sur les débuts du partenariat universitaire au Burundi et ses problems aujourd'hui, comme l'a raconté dans son intervention Eric Nkurunziza, doyen of the faculty of psychology at the University of Grands Lacs. Il a souligné l'aspect de la décolonisation, non seulement la décolonisation politique réalisée le jour de l'indépendance, mais also la décolonisation “linguistique, intellectuelle, spiritual, culturelle, idéologique et financière”. Sans négliger l’importance des partenariats Nord-Sud, Eric Nkurunziza a également plaidé pour le renforcement des partenariats universitaires Sud-Sud, soulignant la nécessité de “dépolitiser la coopération interuniversitaire et d’éviter le langage péjoratif qui cultive et renforce les divisions”. Certain des conséquences de la colonization encore visibles aujourd'hui ont été discutées, comme les droits d'identité des enfants d'anciens colonisateurs et de parents burundais au Burundi, dont a parlé Issa Niyongere, the legal representative of the Association of Mulâtres des Grands Lacs.

The solutions are equal and discussed in the course of the discussion. Contrairement à ce que nous voyons aujourd'hui, a diploma universitaire devrait être le meilleur atout pour se lancer dans l'entreprenariat afin de remédier au manque d'emplois, comme le soulignent Augusta Muhimpundu et Mimmy Bigirmana, all two sons of entrepreneurs. The réappropriation of the language, the history, the culture and the recitations are also discussed in the optics of a better part of the interuniversitary world. Cela signifie également que des questions telles que la restitution d'objets burundais volés pendant la period coloniale sont abordées par les musées de manière éclairée, comme l'a souligné Aminadab Havyarimana, Professor and researcher in anthropology at the University of Burundi. La culture étant l’âme d’une nation, l’écrivain et entrepreneur Diomede Mujojoma a encouragé les younges à faire preuve d'esprit d'entreprise, notamment dans l'agroalimentaire. Il a encouragé les jeunes à se lancer dans l'écriture car, comme le montre sa propre histoire, il est possible de poursuivre son objectif même si l'on n'a pas les moyens au départ: par example, le fait qu'il ait d'abord écrit sur des feuilles de bananier ne l'a pas empêché de publier en France et d'être invitation au salon annuel du livre en France.

The groupe cible de cet événement était principalement les younges. The people who belong to the partenariat between the North and the South globally de manière à ce que les deux régions puissent travailler ensemble dans le respect et la dignité. L'échange a montré que cela ne peut se faire qu'en cotextualisant constamment l'histoire commune. Toutefois, the accent is not as long as the passé, but also continues to be a part of the change of the future ensemble. Pour que les partenariats interuniversitaires ouvrent un accès aux jeunes et permetettent ainsi la création d’un monde commun.

Notes that additional posts are published on the different pages of YAGA-Burundi in common Twitter and Facebook. If you want to continue with your tenir au courant des activités du Center de Compétence du Burundi, you can also write down the bulletin numérique Burundi Nouvelles here.

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