The African Humanities Program (AHP) through the American Council of Learned Societies has over the years awarded over 400 doctoral and postdoctoral research fellowships to humanities scholars in five countries Uganda inclusive. Uganda has received over 40 fellowships and Makerere University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) has been the biggest beneficiary in Uganda and as a result there is a vibrant AHP community at Makerere which has benefitted greatly especially in terms of research and publications.
As part of its activities, the AHP holds annual regional assemblies in countries where it is active since 2017. The most recent assembly was held in Abuja Nigeria from the 11th -13th February 2020. The main goal of the AHP regional assemblies is to generate productive conversations and discussions about humanities in Africa and the state of mentoring humanities scholars at African Universities.
The AHP community is proud of promoting visibility of the humanities discipline in Africa and was extremely proud to have Prof. Wole Soyinka, a 1986 Nobel laureate in literature deliver the keynote address at the Fourth Regional Assembly at the Auditorium of the National Universities Commission in Abuja on February 11, 2020. His keynote focused on the importance of the humanities and discussed the expunging of the subject of History from the Nigerian School Curriculum and the effect of the action. During his presentation, he expressed gratitude to Dr Susan Kiguli from the Department of Literature, Makerere University for the glowing tribute. Dr Kiguli introduced Prof. Soyinka to the participants. The keynote session was chaired by Dr Aaron Mushengyezi, Dean School of Languages, Literature and Communication, Makerere University.
A passionate promoter of the role of the humanities in contemporary life, Professor Soyinka has throughout his distinguished career championed writing that inspires individual self-examination and collective self-understanding. He has called for the retrieval of suppressed, misconstrued, or forgotten African histories and cultures. Since 2008 the African Humanities Program has responded to Professor Soyinka’s call by encouraging and enabling African scholars to retrieve the record of the past and to trace the sinuosities of linguistic diversity and cultural creation in the present. According to Prof. Soyinka, “The publications of the African Humanities Program have greatly expanded and deepened a continent's knowledge of herself, and her place in a rapidly evolving world. We have genuine cause to applaud the work of a new generation of African humanist scholars.”
Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has funded the African Humanities Program working closely with the American Council of Learned Societies, noted that the work of AHP Fellows re-collects the past, clarifies the present, and lays the foundation for flourishing humanities research and writing in the future. “Their work is an inspiration to scholars everywhere.”