A group of 12 Trans4m PhD candidates met in Johannesburg together with Trans4m’s founders Lessem and Schieffer to explore further opportunities to collaborate across Africa, with a particular focus on Community Economic Development. A day after the graduation ceremony at Da Vinci, where 3 of Trans4m’s Fellows (Jean Parker from India / USA, Father Anselm Adodo from Nigeria and Andrew Nyambayo from Zimbabwe) were awarded a PhD, a one day workshop was held that included, in addition to the new graduates, Trans4m PhD candidates from South Africa and Zimbabwe. Participants included Loshnee Naidoo, Sara Khan, Frans van der Colff, Dr. Emil Nothnagel and Lucinda Scholtz from South Africa, as well as Chipo Ndudzo, Wellington Mutyanda and Smart Phiri Zongololo from Zimbabwe. The meeting was also joined by Marlene de Beer, a Senior Researcher from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), a long term colleague, who is applying Trans4m’s approach innovatively to education at UJ. The Trans4m meeting was hosted by Dr. Emil Nothnagel’s organisation AFLEAD (Africa Center for Assisted Local Economic Development) and CEA Clean Energy Africa.
Each of the participants briefly shared the essence of the accomplished or envisioned research-to-innovation, and the dynamic exchange that followed was geared to explore further cooperation potential among Trans4m Fellows, with a view to become a more coherent force for integral transformation in Africa. The workshop was strongly enriched by a presentation of CEA’s founder and CEO Marcel Steinberg and COO Ignus du Toit.
A large variety of innovative ideas was exchanged, and a number of possibilities for mutual support and collaboration were agreed upon between participants. A key outcome was that the group of South African Fellows, as well as Zimbabwean Fellows identified among themselves higher levels of local coherence, interconnecting their particular research-to-innovation fields. Also, the value of Jean Parker’s research (as the only non-African Fellow who joined this meeting) for Africa was recognised, which led, among other possibilities, to an invitation of Jean Parker to apply for the postdoctoral program of the University of Johannesburg, facilitated by Marlene de Beer.
An important field for further investigation is to find out how the various impulses for Local Economic Development within the Trans4m Community can be linked and coordinated further with a view to create a Pan-African movement. Father Anselm Adodo’s Center ACIRD (African Center for Integral Research and Development) in Nigeria, Dr. Emil Nothnagel’s and Lucinda Scholtz’ AFLEAD Center in South Africa, as well as the Zimbabwean Pundutso Center for Integral Development (including a newly emerging Center for Integral Agriculture) have the most obvious collaboration potential among themselves. The firm intention of all participants to strengthen this collaborative field further in the near future was expressed.
All participants highly appreciated the rich exchange and innovative outcome of the workshop, with enormous value for the individual and collective integral development journeys – across and beyond Africa.