Altmayer, Claus ; Wolff, H. Ekkehard (2009)

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Journal Article

This publication is evidence of a highly successful international research collaboration initiative that took place over the last two years between African alumnae and alumni and academics in Africa and in Germany within the framework of a structured and thematically focused alumni network. The most important feature of this alumni network, ganaa (German African Network of Alumni and Alumnae) is its thematic focus on theoretical and practical aspects of multilingualism and language policies in Africa (and, comparatively, in Europe). The network is innovative in several ways, specifically also through its special emphasis on second and foreign language instruction and by taking into special account the mediation of the respective "other" cultures. This was achieved through a trialogue between Germany/Europe, Arabic/Islamic North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Although the thematic focus might in the first place interest linguists and language mediators – especially researchers in the fields of sociolinguistics, Arabic Studies, African Languages and Linguistics, German Studies (the latter specifically including specialists in German as a Foreign Language) – and possibly also educators and social scientists, in principle the network aims to address all researchers and practitioners whose professions confront them with the daily routines of practised multilingualism in Africa. The latter range from researchers in the education and media sectors to teachers of mathematics and ministerial officers in State departments, from research oriented political advisers to those directly and politically responsible for implementation of policy. The ganaa-network is open to all of them because, on the one hand, they can be regarded as "alumni/alumnae" (i.e. they actually have an academic and/or professional affiliation with a university in Germany) and, on the other hand, they are interested, for whatever reason, in exploring multilingualism and language policies in Africa (and, comparatively, in Europe).

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