Strengthening Africa’s Contributions to Child Development Research Symposium was held at the University of Victoria on February 5, 2009.
Supported by the IQ Project and the prestigious Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), this was an invitational symposium designed to help advance a science of child development that opens up to other populations and to other ways of thinking about childhood and child development.
Current realities in the field make it difficult for perspectives and agendas contemplated outside the Western World to receive serious consideration. Often marginalized, contextually significant issues and perspectives in the Majority World (the so-called Developing World) too rarely find their way into leading dissemination outlets in the field. The symposium focused on Africa both because it is the focus of Pence’s ECDVU Program, but also because African voices—as contributions driven by unique African conceptions and realities—are woefully underrepresented in the global knowledge base. With limited access to current literature from other parts of the world, many scholars are rendered noncompetitive in publishing their work in major journals outside the continent. This is not simply an African problem; left unaddressed, the under-representation of perspectives from other cultures places profound limitations on claims about the existence of a global developmental science knowledge base.
Guest speakers at the one-day public Symposium included the following internationally renowned scholars: Sara Harkness, Cigdem Kagitcibasi, Robert LeVine, Peter Mwaura, Robert Myers, Bame Nsamenang, Robert Serpell, Charles Super, and Kofi Marfo.
The Africa Symposium was extraordinarily productive and stimulating, with several key areas identified for follow-through including publications, longitudinal baseline studies and capacity building initiatives in Africa.
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