1. The Mission
for the African Academy of Languages.
By Decree N°00-630/PRM of December 19th 2000, the President
of the Republic of Mali set up the Mission for the African Academy
of Languages (MACALAN), a light structure, with the responsibility
to establish and launch the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN)
in relation with the Secretariat General of the O.A.U..
By Decree 00-30/PRM of January 26th 2001 he appointed Mr Adama
SAMASSEKOU, former Minister of Basic Education as Head of the
Mission. The texts organising the Mission assigned a team of
five Mission Officers to assist the Head of the Mission. A secretary,
an assistant for administration, an orderly and a driver completed
The Mission started by identifying its major partners in order
to be assured of their assistance, especially the different
ministries in charge of Education, of Culture, of Communication,
of Foreign Affairs and Malians Abroad at the national level,
and at the international level. the Office of the Director General
of UNESCO in Paris, the UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar (BREDA),
the UNESCO Institute of Education in Hamburg, the International
Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IIRCA) in Addis Ababa,
the UNESCO Representation in Mali, the Intergovernmental Agency
of the French Speaking World
The national structures interested in or working on languages,
as well as linguists and researchers were identified to make
up the National Scientific Commission.
The major steps of this first stage were as follows:
1.1. The meeting with the Head of the State. On Friday March 30th, 2001, the National Scientific
Commission and the Mission team met with the President of the
Republic in the presence of the Ministers of Culture and of
Education. The Head of the State took this opportunity to give
his vision of the future African Academy of Languages, a structure
meant to work for the promotion and the harmonisation of languages
1.2. The national Workshop. On April 2nd and 3rd, 2001, the Mission organised
a national Workshop at the Palais des Congres in Bamako. The
purpose was to inform about the project, and to formalise a
common national vision of what the African Academy was to be.
The Workshop, besides other recommendations, insisted upon giving
an official status to African languages and on accelerating
their introduction in the educational system, in administration
and the in the legal system of the Member States of the future
Academy alongside with partner languages.
1.3. The trip of the Head of the Mission to Addis Ababa
(Ethiopia). To ensure
the political support of the OAU, the Head of the Mission travelled
to Addis Ababa April 19-22, 2001 as a Special Envoy of the President
of the Republic of Mali to the Secretary General of the OAU
In addition to the support of the Secretary General, the talks
resulted, on the one hand, in the necessity for a sensitisation
of African Heads of States on the question before making any
decision and on the other hand, in putting the project on the
agenda of the 74th Session of the OAU Council of Ministers in
July 2001 in Lusaka,.
1.4. The African Consultation. The African Consultation organised on the 25th,
26th and 27th of May 2001 aimed at the scientific and technical
validation of the proposed African Academy of Languages. Besides
the Malian experts of the National Scientific Commission, African
and non African experts participated in this Consultation. The
Consultation meant to consider, among other documents, the Presentation
Document and the Draft Statutes of the African Academy of Languages.
The Consultation especially recommended the setting up of a
Taskforce, an ad-hoc structure to follow up the activities to
be carried out for the establishment of the Academy, to finalising
the midterm Action plan and to work out the cost estimates of
the activities of proposed Academy. The taskforce was to include
one representative from each of the five geographic regions
of Africa, and the Indian Ocean, as well as the Director of
the CELHTO and the Rapporteur General of the African Consultation.
The members of the Taskforce were to remain in contact by mail
until the final launch of the Academy.
The African Consultation has also approved a draft Decision
and resolutions to be submitted to the Conference of Ministers
of Culture of the French Speaking World, and to the UNESCO General
1.5. The Lusaka Decision. After the scientific and technical validation of the proposed
the African Consultation, the Mission had yet to achieve the
OAU political validation. This
justified the trip of the Head of the Mission to Lusaka where
the proposed establishment
of the African Academy of Languages was to be considered at
the 74th Ordinary Session of the
Council of Ministers of the Panafrican Organization; The project
presented by the Head of the
Mission was warmly approved by all the Members of Council of
Ministers which took
Decision CM/Dec.613 (LXXIV) to commend the initiative of the
President of the Republic of
Mali and to commit the General Secretariat and all the Member
States of the Organization to
get involved by all means in the concrete realisation of the
Academy. This Decision of the
Council of Ministers was confirmed by the Summit of the Heads
of State and Government
gathered in Lusaka (Zambia) on July 9-11, 2001.
1.6. The First Meeting of the Taskforce. The ad-hoc commission or Taskforce had its firs
on July 21st and 22nd, 2001 at the Hotel Mande. The meeting,
presided over by the Head of the
Mission, agreed on the following activities, among others:
. an International conference on the role of African languages
in African integration on September
. the official launch of the activities of the African Academy
of Languages on September 8th,
. the establishment, on September 8th, 2001 of a light structure,
combining MACALAN and the
Taskforce for the running of the activities until the official
launch of the Academy and the
validation of its Action plan;
. the official launch of the Academy on March 27th, 2002.
. the elaboration by the OAU General Secretariat of a legal
document (A Protocol of Agreement)
for States' adhesion to the establishment of the Academy.
2. The African Academy of Languages.
In view of the length of the elaboration and ratification procedures
by the African States of the legal Document establishing the
African Academy of Languages as a specialised institution of
the African Union, Mali has put in place a structure -of a national
dimension as regards its functioning but with a pan-African
vision. This made it possible to keep alive the enthusiasm aroused
since the African Consultation, and to better take care of the
transition within the establishment process of the Academy.
The activities of the Academy were actually launched in three
A. The Installation of the Presidency. The Presidency was installed under the high
patronage of the President of the Republic of Mali. Three speeches
were delivered:: First was that of the Head of the Mission,
Mr Adama SAMASSEKOU, who recalled all the activities carried
out by the Mission since February 8th, 2001. Then came that
of Professor Ayo BAMGBOSE of Nigeria, a member of the Taskforce
and a distinguished linguist who, on behalf of the ad-hoc Commission
and all African linguists, commended the initiative of the President
of the Republic of Mali, and called for support for African
languages. His Excellency Alpha Oumar KONARE , President of
the Republic delivered the speech to install the Presidency.
After recalling Mali's contributions to the promotion of African
languages, and after clarifying the importance of language in
the development process and in African integration, the Head
of State urged the first President of the African Academy of
Languages and his colleagues to " take up the challenge
to put in place a pan-African institution capable of helping
our States and our peoples to conceive and develop a language
policy, relevant and efficient enough to quickly contribute
to the Renaissance and the Unity of Africa."
B. The International Conference. The conference on "THE ROLE OF AFRICAN
LANGUAGES IN AFRICAN INTEGRATION" presented by Professor
Ahmadou TOURE of The University of Mali and Dr Rakissouiligri
Mathieu OUEDRAOGO of the University of Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou
with the participation of experienced specialists from the Central,
the Eastern and the Indian Ocean regions, has clearly shown
the relevancy of the topic.
C. The Second Meeting of the Taskforce. The launch of the Activities of the Academy
ended with the Second meeting of the Taskforce which made some
recommendations concerning the pursuit of the activities. The
Taskforce insisted that the newly installed Presidency strive
to make the African Academy of Languages, as the President said,
a Panafrican institution.
Thus, the Mission for the African Academy of Languages
(MACALAN) came to terms with the launch of the activities of
the African Academy of Languages. The newly installed Presidency
is composed of:
- the President,
- the Secretary General,
- the Director of the Resource Centre
It is assisted by a secretary, an administrative assistant,
an orderly and a chauffeur.
This provisional presidency of the Academy must create the appropriate
conditions to give the new structure its panafrican dimension.
Through the contacts it will make, it shall inform and sensitise
the maximum number of African states. Under the auspices of
the OAU, with which it will formalise the appropriate kind of
collaboration, it shall put in place a framework which will
permit to work out the criteria for choosing the members of
the Academy, amending and adopting the texts of the Academy,
and holding the first session of the Academicians. Most of all,
the Presidency must ensure the signing of the legal Document
establishing the Academy so that it can be functional in the
year 2002 as a panafrican institution.