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"With regard to HaB, the first seductive idea to me was to 'rehabilitate people's voices', then it was this network linking Africa and Asia [...] I sensed the possibility of creating a new path with new colleagues concerned with making their profession not a 'class' issue but an engagement at the service of current urgencies."  - Abdourahmane Seck (University of Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Senegal)

Humanities across Borders: Asia and Africa in the World is a new education and research initiative of the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden, The Netherlands and principally funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York

Whereas in the first phase we concentrated our efforts on building a network of partners and experimenting with out-of-classroom, experiential pedagogies, in this next phase of HAB we aim to mobilize existing, stand-alone educational institutions, structures, and processes into new configurations of South-South and South-North collaboration. We envision three institutional innovations:

i) A global consortium with its commitment to public humanist values in education;

ii) A curricular intervention in the Humanities and Social Sciences co-created and co-taught across the consortium’s geographies; and

iii) an interactive, collaborative-education digital platform that can operate as a pedagogical resource repository and library network, accessible to all members and beyond.

In this way we hope to build a model of locally rooted, globally conscious higher education that has remained an aspirational ideal for many universities in the North and South attempting to achieve educational justice goals. 

In the next five years, we plan to organize our partners into a membership-based consortium and to expand the program’s outreach and to formalize and apply HaB’s in situ or place-based methodologies to real-world societal and ecological concerns, in a trans-regional setting. Disseminating the HaB’s humanistic approach to teaching and learning through the consortium’s website, publications, conferences, and pedagogical events, we hope to encourage other institutions in the global South and North to join our efforts.

The jointly drafted Manifesto of the HAB consortium of universities and institutes is available here