Director’s Message



Motoki Takahashi

Director,  Africa Office and Interdisciplinary Unit for African Studies,
Director/Professor, Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University

The Kyoto University Africa Office was established in April 2019 with support from International Strategy Office and Research Administration Office. The Africa Office will serve as the contact point for Kyoto University in Africa, promoting the university’s research, education, and international service activities across the continent.

Since 2016 when the Kyoto University Interdisciplinary Unit for African Studies, or so called African Unit, was established, we have made efforts to increase its presence both on and off campus. Within the university, we have established an organizational foundation that horizontally connects Africa-related departments and centrally provides information on our activities in Africa. Outside of the university, we have strengthened cooperation more systematically by concluding academic exchange agreements and holding international symposiums. As a result, the number of African partner schools, which was only six in 2004, doubled to 12 institutions in 2019. In addition, we have supported the establishment of the African Alumni Association and promoted collaboration in research and education with alumni who are academically active in different African countries.

In recognition of our steady activities, the Africa Office was officially acknowledged as an overseas office supported by International Strategy Office and Research Administration Office. Two existing organizations, the African Unit and the Center for African Area Studies, will jointly manage the office. The Africa Office will promote various activities related to research, education, and international services in order to cultivate and develop Africa’s potential.

As a hub organization of Kyoto University, the Africa Office will effectively facilitate the activities in Africa by utilizing the functions that each department can provide. For example, there are a wide range of university-wide services that this office can provide, such as planning large-scale research projects and joint research across departments, providing advice on studying in Africa, and serving as a diplomatic contact point of Africa. While continuing these activities and organizing, we would like to spread the potential of our university both inside and outside the university. We hope that the office will help build a “circulation of knowledge” that connects Africa and Kyoto. 

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all concerned parties for their support in the past activities, and sincerely ask for your continued cooperation.