October 23, 2023 – In response to the ongoing crisis affecting universities and other higher education institutions in Sudan, the Association of African Universities (AAU), headquartered in Accra, Ghana, has expressed great concern for the plight and current travails of both the staff and students, who are caught in the midst of the devasting war in the country. The Association wants to put on record the great contributions of the many Sudanese scholars to Africa’s development. [DOWNLOAD A VERSION OF THIS STATEMENT in ENGLISH, FRENCH, and ARABIC.
Amid the turmoil and adversity faced by these universities, the Association of African Universities calls upon the warring parties to earnestly seek a resolution through peaceful means. We also extend a heartfelt appeal to universities around the world to join hands in offering support to Sudanese scholars who are currently enduring immense hardships, through no fault of theirs.
In August 2023, Sudan’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research highlighted in a statement that condemned the ongoing destruction that a total of 104 government and private higher education institutions, as well as research centres and the National Fund for Student Welfare, had been damaged and vandalised since April. The Ministry’s offices had also recorded some destruction in a fire that affected several floors. This scale of destruction and interruption is one that calls for urgent attention.
It is the AAU’s fervent hope that global leaders will continue to allocate the necessary resources needed to support immediate humanitarian relief efforts. We also align our voice with that of the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences, urging the global scientific community to collaborate in mobilizing potential donors within their nations to contribute to the critical reconstruction efforts aimed at revitalizing the academic infrastructure destroyed by the conflict.
Our unwavering commitment to this cause stems from our belief that we cannot turn a blind eye to the profound suffering, anguish, and pain that a large number of researchers, university administrators, and students in Sudan are experiencing at this critical juncture. The support of the international community is hereby being sought to help restore normalcy to the operations of universities in Sudan and to ensure that the pursuit of knowledge and academic endeavours can continue without hindrance.
The Association of African Universities remains dedicated to fostering peace, stability, and the advancement of education on the African continent. Together, we can play a pivotal role in alleviating the suffering faced by the academic community in Sudan and contributing to the restoration of their educational institutions to their rightful place in the pursuit of knowledge and progress.
Prof. Olusola Oyewole
Association of African Universities