THC2019 Call for Panelists for the Panel “In Memoriam Calestous Juma: The Legacy of Managing Complex Ecosystems for Africa’s Development”

Calestous Juma. Photo: Martha Stewart

 

This panel is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Calestous Juma (CJ) who passed on a year ago. CJ has dedicated his entire academic career to the application of science and technology and was very instrumental in pushing for the use of science and technology in redesigning African economies for sustainable growth and development (Juma, 1989)[1]. His academic career built upon early experience as an environmental activist, S&T newspaper columnist and NGO organizer and publisher in Kenya. CJ’s early accomplishments in science and technology policy caught the attention of SPRU, the leading academic institution in the field and led to an invitation to pursue a PhD. Post PhD, CJ pursued a career in science diplomacy focusing on the regulation of biotechnology, followed by appointment as Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

CJ pursued efforts aimed at redirecting development actors to redefine Africa’s development largely as an accomplishment rather than discourse.[2] He was a constant but far often a lonely voice, in calling for investment in people and the promotion of technological innovation rather than simply providing short-term palliatives aimed at reducing the visible symptoms of low levels of economic productivity. CJ was willing to take controversial positions, including advocacy of GMO’s as a method of speeding agricultural development, Africa’s most pressing issue (Juma, 2011)[3].

Prof. Juma’s scholarship and advocacy was built not only on enhancing capabilities in production, project execution, and technological innovation but more critically on the need to integrate universities and research institutions into the production sector and society at large. CJ was an ardent advocate for Triple Helix linkages involving universities and the agribusiness community sector where science, technology and innovation activities will lead the way in forging sustainable development pathways. His last work was a comparative analysis of technological and social innovation, its drivers and hindrances (Juma, 2016)[4]. This panel will discuss the way forward and his vision of bringing research, teaching, and community outreach together in new institutional designs specifically geared toward making sustainable development a reality within the context of Africa.

 

Call for panelists

Professor Calestous Juma (CJ), a distinguished Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government passed on a year ago. As an ardent advocate for Triple Helix linkages involving universities and the agribusiness community sector where science, technology and innovation activities provide a sustainable development pathway for African economies, we are organising a panel in his honour. The panel invites scholars, practitioners and activists, who have engaged with CJ through his career and/or life (Kenya, Harvard, UN, Rockefeller Foundation, family etc.) to discuss ways through which we can harness new institutional designs for sustainable development in Africa.

Interested panelists  can send an expression of interest via email mentioning their personal, policy and/or intellectual interest and an indication of the topic they would like to present/ discuss,  to Dr James Dzisah jdzisah@ug.edu.gh  no later than 15th March 2019.

 

References

[1] Juma, C. and Ojwang, J.B. (eds.) 1989. Innovation and Sovereignty: The Patent Debate in African Development.  Nairobi: African Centre for Technology Studies,

[2] Juma, C. 2006. “Redesigning African Economies: The Role of Engineering in International Development,” Hinton Lecture, London: Royal Academy of Engineering.

[3] Juma, C. 2011. The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa. New York: Oxford University Press.

[4] Juma, C. 2016. Innovation and its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies. New York: Oxford University Press.