Africa-US City Networking Forum and Academic Symposum

Africa-US City Networking Forum and Academic Symposum 13-14 April 2021 & 20 April 2021

This concept note is for the convening of an Africa-US city networking forum and an academic symposium in April 2021. These activities will proceed as follows:
• The networking forum will be held virtually 13-14 April bringing together multiple representatives of Africa-US actors including state and non-state actors and central and non-central/regional governmental organizations.
• The academic symposium will be held virtually on April 20 and feature scholars, researchers and intellectuals working on the various dimensions of Africa-US city connections.
We therefore request current and potential partners to express interest as we put together programs for both events. We intend these activities as free or non-payment events.
The April 2021 events are spin offs from the multiple partnerships around the concepts and practices of city diplomacy including citizen and digital diplomacy, and the international dimensions of African cities. These events are are specifically focused on Africa-US city intersections, relations and potential. The events and related activities aim to consolidate the work we have been engaged in over the last three years, including:
• A conference in April 2019 in partnership with the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane, Brand South Africa and various research organizations.
• A series of “COVID-19 and Cities Forums” between August and October 2020.
• A brainstorming session with the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network which in turn has links with UN agencies working on cities including the urban-facing agency, UN-Habitat.
• The establishment of a relationship with the Sister Cities International’s Africa Sub Region initiative led by Ms. Lorna Johnson.
• The establishment of the African Cities and Internationalization Research Group, hosted by the Centre with researchers working on the cities in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.
• Participation in a BRICS + Urban Governance Forum held on 22-23 October 2020 as a co-host.
• Serve as a virtual networking platform bringing together professionals, practitioners, and academics with a mutual interest in Africa-US relations.
• Provide knowledge and information on past, current and potential areas of partnership.
• Explore means and ways or strengthening Africa-US city partnerships and research.
Areas of Focus: Networking Forum
• The history of relations between African and American cities
• Some of the programs, projects, and activities that state and non-state actors are working on to connect African and American cities
• The limitations and drawbacks that have been experienced in attempts at building relationships and partnerships between African and American cities
• Innovative opportunities for partnership that can be tapped to enhance Africa-US city relations
• African and American cities approach to multilateral city initiatives, strategies, and policies.
• African and American cities responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shared experiences and lessons learned.
• The funding landscape that can be tapped for Africa-US city partnerships.
Areas of Focus: Academic Symposium
• The research and academic gaps in the study of Africa-US city relations.
• Past and ongoing research and intellectual work on Africa-US city linkages.
• Comparative analyses on the responses of African and American cities to COVID-19 today and in the post-pandemic period.
• Pathways for the strengthening of research, teaching and academic exchanges between African and American cities.
• Methodological, theoretical, and conceptual approaches to the study of Africa-US city relations.
• Potential topical issues in the Africa-US city (economics, security, governance, environment, culture, etc.)
• African and American cities from the perspective of the concepts of city diplomacy, citizen diplomacy, smart and safer cities, and cities as international actors.
The key details of how the sessions will be convened are as follows:
• For both the forum and the conference, presentations will last 15 minutes.
• Presentations will include keynote addresses and thematic panel sessions, followed by interactive sessions with audiences.
• We shall use the Zoom platform and registration will be required.
• An advertisement will be sent out to the public at the second half of March 2021.
• All sessions will be recorded, and links shared with participants.
Interest to Participate
Organizations and individuals interested in making presentations during these events are encouraged to express interest on or before 15 March 2021. The expression of interest should have the following details:
• Whether the participation will be for the forum or the academic conference.
• Participation as a speaker or non-presenting participant.
• Topic/title of presentation for speakers and a summary of the presentation (no more than 250 words).
• Short bio of the presenters (no more than 120 words), a headshot.



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