Fifteen days after he was announced winner of the 2017 Humboldt Alumni Award for Innovative Networking Initiatives, Ibadan-born professor of English Language, Aderemi Raji-Oyelade has won another Humboldt award.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has just awarded a grant to his application to organise a conference, the Humboldt Kolleg in the Humanities in Nigeria, for the year 2018.
The first award came on March 23rd, 2016 while the new one came on April 7th, 2017.
The Humboldt Kolleg is a conference that brings scholars of various disciplines together. It is funded by the Humboldt Foundation to support networking among scholars and encourage young scholars. It is called the Humboldt Kolleg, which has held before in Ibadan, Ife, Osogbo and Akure
Scheduled to take place between February 19 to 22, 2018 in Ibadan, The Humboldt Kolleg will be themed “Of Texts, Spaces, Signs and Symbols: Questing Corpora for Translational Research in the Humanities.”
This particular “Kolleg” is unique because it will bring about 40 humanities scholars from 7 countries together to interact on developments in the Humanities. A total number of 23 Humboldtians, 10 junior researchers and 8 senior non-Humboldtian researchers, drawn from universities and research institutions across Nigeria, and from Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe, Senegal and Germany, have been confirmed for the special international conference.
The sub-themes of the conference include fieldwork in text and cultural productions, new speech acts and identity constructions and subversions, challenges for new humanities scholars and the values and limitations of scholarship in the humanities.
Among UI scholars slated for the Humboldt Kolleg are Prof. Akinola Odebunmi, Prof. Herbert Igboanusi, Dr. Chukwuma Okoye, Dr. Aderemi Ajala, Prof. Obododinma Oha, Prof. Ademola Dasylva, Prof. Oka Obono, Prof. CBN Ogbogbo, Prof. Ayo Ojebode and Prof. Isaac Olawale Albert. The UI Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, himself a distinguished Humboldtian, is the host of the special conference while the Nigerian Humboldt Ambassador, Prof. Clement Odunayo Adebooye, will give strategic support to the conference.
It is expected that the interaction of scholars in cognate fields of the Humanities and across different African universities and countries will bring about beneficial networking and lasting intellectual collaboration over time.
Expressing joy over the awards, Raji-Oyelade said he was surprised with the second award.
“I must say that I was really surprised to receive the news of this second award! Since I had been named as winner of the Humboldt Alumni Prize for Innovative Networking Initiatives, I least expected that my application for a Conference Award would be considered at all. The conference grant is given by the AvH to assist scholars interact and network for greater collaboration. It is as prestigious and as competitive as the Alumni Award which I have been lucky to win recently. I am more delighted to be in a position to convene this unique conference of Humanities scholars from Nigeria, Germany, Togo, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal. This is an opportunity to inspire a new generation of literary scholars, linguists, historians and social scientists who will query received concepts and create new ideas for development in their various disciplines.”
Initiatives of Humboldt Alumni Associations and individual Humboldtians to organise regional and interdisciplinary conferences (Humboldt Kollegs) can be supported financially. The aim is to strengthen regional and interdisciplinary networking of Humboldtians. The organisers are responsible for the content of the conference.
The funds that are available to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to support Humboldt Kollegs are tightly constrained. Only about half of all the qualified applications can be considered for support. The Foundation aims at enabling Humboldtians in as many countries as possible to organize a Humboldt Kolleg in intervals of several years. Thus, the selection decision takes into account the interval from the last sponsorship of a Humboldt Kolleg with a similar group of participants in the respective country.
Raji-Oyelade, who is the immediate past Dean of Faculty of Arts of the University of Ibadan, has volumes of poetry which have been translated into French, German, Catalan, Swedish, Ukrainian, Latvian and Hungarian include: Webs of Remembrance (2001), Shuttlesongs America: A poetic guided tour (2003), Lovesong for My Wasteland (2005), Gather My Blood Rivers of Song (2009) and Sea of My Mind (2013).
Remi-Raji, an orator and a poet is a Salzburg Fellow and visiting professor at a number of institutions including Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, the Universities of California at Riverside and Irvine, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Cambridge University, UK. His scholarly essays have published in journals including Research in African Literatures and African Literature Today. Remi Raji who served as the Writer to the City of Stockholm, Sweden in 2005 had read his poems widely in Africa, Europe and America.
Remi Raji, a chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, was the former publicity secretary, Vice Chairman, and chairman of the Oyo State chapter, 11th president of the association, served as the Year 2000 Editor of the ANA Review, the official journal of the association. He was also the former National Coordinator of the resuscitated Nigerian PEN Centre.