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IAS Begins Discussions for Possible Collaboration with Sapienza University

The Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, Legon has begun discussions with Sapienza University of Rome for a possible collaboration between the two institutions, via their respective Universities. Professor Pino Schirripa, Professor of Medical Anthropology, and Head of the Department of History, Cultures and Religions, Sapienza University, and Professor Albert Awedoba, Professor of

Anthropology, IAS, acting on behalf of the Acting Director of the IAS, discussed the possibility of collaboration by the two institutions in areas of common interest. This included areas such as graduate training and supervision, museums and archives research as well as different other branches of anthropology and the social sciences that might be of mutual interest. The discussions also centred on possible funding for student-faculty exchanges.

Professor Schirripa, who is also the successor to Professor Mariano Pavenello as Director of the Italian Ethnological Research projects in Ghana, was in the country to continue ongoing research on the peoples and cultures of the Nzema. According to Professor Schirripa, the Mission had conducted various researches in Ghana since 1954. He added that out of the fruitful collaboration between the Italian researchers and the Institute, a book, titled Research Materials on Traditional Medicine in the Nzema Area (Ghana) was published by the Institute. The book was edited jointly by Professor Pavanello, Professor Schirripa, and Professor Emerita Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu, retired Professor and former Publications Officer of the Institute.

Professor Schirripa stated among other things that the Mission was currently working with seven traditional chiefs to conduct a pilot digitization project on archives of the traditional area. He also spoke about the Fort Apollonia Museum in Benyin in the Nzema traditional area, which had been restored with funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in collaboration with the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.

Professor Awedobastated that the Institute was noted for its rich multidisciplinary research by faculty from different backgrounds and expertise. He mentioned special units within the Institute such as the Ethnographic Museum, Publications Unit of which he was Editor, and the Manhyia Archives in Kumasi, which is managed by an IAS Archivist. He specifically spoke about gold weights in the IAS Museum, which had been donated by Oyeeman Wereko Ampem II, former Chancellor of the University of Ghana. He stated that the Institute had published a special publication, Kuduo: The Akan Art of Brass Casting, from an exhibition on the gold weights. Professor Awedoba indicated that Dr. Kwame Amoah Labi, Senior Research Fellow, and Research Coordinator of the Media and Visusal Arts Section, as well as other IAS Fellows would be interested in any future collaboration with the Mission. He added that the Institute would welcome input from the Mission as well as Sapienza University for publication in the Contemporary Journal of African Studies.

At the end of the discussions, Professor Schirippa was conducted round the IAS Museum by Mr. Philip Owusu, IAS Curator. He also visited the Institute's new Bookshop.