Kisii University to host Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development Goals in Africa

Kisii University’s School of Arts & Social Sciences will host a crucial global conference between 5th and 7th this month.

The second edition of the conference tagged, Heritage and Sustainable Development Goals in Africa will be held at the University’s main campus located in Kisii County, Western Kenya.

The conference was informed by the resolutions of the first edition conference held in 2019.

This year’s conference will revisit the theme of the previous one in an expanded manner.

In so doing, it will seek to attract partnership from various national, regional, continental and international bodies.

It will follow up on the proposed African Studies Centre (ASC) at Kisii University.

The proposed centere is intended as the original host of the conference.

The goal is to bring together member institutions, sponsoring agencies, affiliates, and other interested groups together to work out modalities for the self-government of the Centre.

It will also focus on admission protocols into its PhD program.

The African Studies Centre is envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are captured in United Nations (UN) blueprint for a more sustainable future for all.

The conference also aims at establishing the key roles heritage that can play in the context of SDGs.

This relates to social cohesion, well-being, creativity, economic appeal, forest conservation, water security, safe cities, environmental degradation among other facets of heritage.

It has been observed that applied research is not well developed in Africa.

There is therefore need to build capacity to promote applied research and market our culture, art and language.

Heritage was long absent from the mainstream sustainable development debate, despite its crucial importance to societies and the wide knowledge of its great potential to contribute to social, economic and environmental goals.

Importantly, heritage is conceptualized broadly to include every facet of life.

Aspiration Five of African Union agenda, 2063 is about using heritage/culture to make Africa a middle-income continent by 2063.

This conference will interrogate the role of heritage as an enabler of sustainable development across SDGs.

The conference provides a platform to develop and test new approaches that demonstrate the relevance of heritage for sustainable development.

The conference further aims at providing a multi- disciplinary hub.

This will include enhanced creativity and cultural innovation and promotion of cultural exchange.

It will also foster understanding, nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower makers and creators of social justice movements and better understand global communities and societies.

These objectives are geared towards training needs for students at the proposed ASC.

Therefore, this conference would provide systematic training in domains of conservation techniques, management of cultural knowledge, risk preparedness and production of Heritage professionals.

For more information about the conference please visit the Kisii University website:


Prof. Abu Bakarr Bah (Abu Bah), PhD

Prof. Abu Bakarr Bah (Abu Bah), PhD

Prof. Abu Bakarr Bah (Abu Bah) is Professor of Sociology at Northern Illinois University (NIU) and Faculty Associate at the Center for Nonprofit & NGO Studies.

He is Coordinator of the Global Connections Pathway program at NIU. Bah is also Editor-in-Chief of African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review (ACPR) published by Indiana University Press and African Editor for Critical Sociology. He was also Senior Fellow at the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Bah is globally renowned scholar of peace and conflict.

Professor Bahs research interests include peace and conflict, democracy, and development. His books include Post-Conflict Institutional Design: Peacebuilding and Democracy in Africa (Zed Books/University of Chicago Press, 2020), International Security and Peacebuilding: Africa, the Middle East, and Europe (Indiana University Press, 2017), Breakdown and Reconstitution: Democracy, the Nation-State, and Ethnicity in Nigeria (Lexington Books, 2005).

His articles have been published in top journals such as African Affairs, Administrative Theory & Praxis, Journal of International Peacekeeping, Critical Sociology, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Journal of Political and Military Sociology, and Africa Today.

Professor Bah is a recipient of the 2014 and 2016 Carnegie Foundation African Diaspora Fellowships, the 2012 Council of American Overseas Research Centers Multi-Country Research Fellowship, and the 2015 Northern Illinois University Outstanding International Educator Award. 

He has conducted research and worked with universities and research centers in Kenya, Nigeria, Cote dIvoire, Senegal, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Professor Bah is a frequent guest on international media programs such as Al Jazeera and China Radio International. He has been an invited speaker at major institutions such as Renmin University (China), Stanford University, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of South Florida, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Nairobi, Laikipia University, United States Department of State, Global Center for Pluralism (Canada), and Social Science Research Council (New York).

He has also served as consultant to the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the PeaceNexus Foundation.

Prof. Bah has served on the board of organizations such as the West African Research Association, the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation, and Jane Adeny Memorial School for Girls in Kenya. 

Prof. Bah is a citizen of the United States of America. He was born and raised in Sierra Leone. He received his doctoral degree from the New School for Social Research (New York) and undergraduate degree from the University of Sofia in Bulgaria.

Prof. Marion Mutugi, EBS

Prof. Marion Mutugi, EBS

Marion Wanjiku Mutugi graduated with a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1994. The dynamic scholar, trainer, manager who is widely published in her area of medical genetics and more recently bioethics has a personal motto; Whats worth doing, is worth doing well. Her current focus is ethical application of research findings and advances in science to end users thus benefiting communities.

Prof. Mutugi who has worked in various public and private research institutions and universities is the immediate former Vice Chancellor of Amref International University (AMIU); a Premier Pan-African University specialised in training, research and extension in health Sciences. She previously served as Deputy Vice Chancellor in Charge of Planning, Research and Development at the University of Kabianga. Prior to that, she was at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) where among others she was the Director, Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases (ITROMID). In this latter position, she oversaw regional postgraduate training in Public Health, Clinical Medicine, Tropical Medicine, Epidemiology and Molecular medicine. She is an accomplished trainer through whose hands many biomedical and health professionals in the region have passed.

In addition, Prof. Mutugi has been involved in many international and national government activities in various agencies, institutions, committees and taskforces. In 2011, the President of the Republic of Kenya awarded the mother of two adult children with the Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (E.B.S.) in recognition of her service to the Nation.

Prof. Hassan O. Kaya, PhD

Prof. Hassan O. Kaya, PhD

Prof. Hassan Omari Kaya is the Principal Researcher and Director of DSI (Department of Science and Innovation) – NRF (National Research Foundation) Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa. Prior to his appointment as Research Leader and Director of CIKS, he was the initiator and coordinator of the IKS Teaching and Research Programme, at the North-West University (South Africa); coordinated the NEPAD Agency IKS (Indigenous Knowledge Systems) Regional Node for Southern Africa, encompassing 12 countries in the region; was a member of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Preparatory (Content) Committee for COP 17 UN Conference on Climate Change (2011); the Research Leader of the IKS Signature Project at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He is currently coordinating the establishment of the UNESCO Category 2 African Institute in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AIIKS), a consortium of more than 20 African higher education and autonomous research institutions, with its hub at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Prof. Kaya has widely published, presented IKS papers and organized a substantial number of national and international workshops and conferences on IKS, within and outside South Africa, on IKS and sustainable development.

Prof. Kaya has a PhD in Sociology of Development and International Political Economy (MAGNA CUM LAUDE) from Freie Universität Berlin, Germany; a Masters in Development Sociology from Freie Universität Berlin; M.A. in Sociology of Development from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and BA with Education (Hons) from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He has also a Post-Doctorate Certificate in International Agricultural Development (Rural Development) from the Centre for Advanced Training in Agricultural Development, Technical University, Berlin, Germany.

Prof. Kaya was the first Research Fellow at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education, University of Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam, South-East Asia (1995/96).

Prof. Olusanya Faboyede.

Prof. Olusanya Faboyede

Prof. Olusanya Faboyede (Associate Professor), Department of History and International studies, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko. Ondo State, Nigeria.

Area of Specialisation: Socio-political and cultural history.

Prof. John Sorana Akama, PhD

Kisii University VC, Prof. John Akama speaking during a past graduation ceremony. PHOTO/FILE, The Scholar Media Africa.

Prof. John Sorana Akama is the Vice Chancellor of Kisii University. He is the founding Principal of the then Kisii University College which he led to formally acquiring a Charter in 2013 to become a full-fledged university.

Prof. Akama has widely published, presented papers and organized a substantial number of national and international workshops and conferences within and outside Africa, in diverse areas such as curriculum, tourism sociology, culture and wildlife conservation.

Recently, Prof. Akama was appointed as a member of the Inter-Public Universities Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) joint negotiating team in Kenya. He is also a celebrated author of various books among them Undeterred, A Rural Boys Journey to the Pinnacle of Academia, The Gusii of Kenya: Social, Economic, Cultural, Political and Judicial Perspectives, and The Untold Story: Gusii Survival Techniques and Resistance to Colonial Rule.

Prof. Akama did his undergraduate studies in education at the University of Nairobi. He then proceeded to the USA where he undertook Masters and PhD studies at Ohio State University and Southern Illinois University, respectively. On returning to Kenya he joined Moi University as a Lecturer and rose to the rank of Professor, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Down the memory lane

The first edition of the Conference on African Studies was held at Kisii University in 2019.

Sponsored by the University, it was as convened under the theme of Recovering, Digitizing, and Practicalizing Africa’s Indigenous Knowledge.

The ways of life on the continent are not static and the various cultures of African peoples continue resiliently in responding to those persistent questions of life and other emerging issues.

It therefore does become necessary to harness the information that generations have produced over the lifespan of a community and on which they have relied upon to sustain their people and meet their needs.

The conference presented participants and University Administrators with empirical opportunity for critical intellectual exchanges, introspections to existing protocols for conducting official businesses, and self-criticism.

In addition, it offered significant lessons for the advancement of the mission of Kisii University.

The goal in accordance with the objective of the emerging African Studies Research Center at Kisii University was to provide, fieldwork‐based documentation of those traditional ways of knowing and doing things across nations of Africa spanning different institutions.

It would also give theoretical account of the same.

The intent was to bring together scholars and practitioners alike to make sense of indigenous ways of knowing and of doing things across the continent.

It also enabled them to analyze persistent issues in a way that would liaise with science to proffer viable solutions that in turn would inform practice.

Essentially, the conference was to transition us from Knowledge to practical applications.

Participants in the 2019 conference were from North America, Europe, and Africa.

They included graduate students and faculty members.

Undergraduate students from Kisii University were also in attendance.

The Keynote Speakers were Augustine Agwuele, Texas State University, USA, Adams Bodomo, Professor of African Studies and Director of the Global African Diaspora Studies (GADS) Research Platform at the University of Vienna, Austria.

There was also Erdmute Alber, Professor and Chair of Social Anthropology, Bayreuth University, Germany, Heather Brookes, Professor and Chief research officer SARChi Linguistics University of cape town and Salikoko Mufwene, The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Linguistics and Humanities Collegiate Division. University of Chicago.

Equally, Prof John Akama: Professor of Tourism and Cultural Resource Management- Kisii University took a critical role in the deliberations.


Kisii University’s Sakawa Academic Block. PHOTO/FILE, The Scholar Media Africa.
Administration block. PHOTO/FILE, The Scholar Media Africa.
Kisii University’s Ultra-modern library. PHOTO/FILE, The Scholar Media Africa.
ICT Learning and Business Centre. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Chancellor’s Pavilion. PHOTO/FILE, The Scholar Media Africa.
University main entrance. PHOTO/Courtesy.
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  1. This is a great opportunity for Africa and the academic world. This conference will provide a platform for exploring ways for sustainable development through our Heritage in Africa through indept analysis by experts and scholars of great repute. Congratulations to the organizers and the KISII UNIVERSITY family.


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