Organising an African Universities Week Event

Thank you for your interest in holding an independent event to celebrate the 2018 African Universities Week!

Every year, higher education institutions across the continent host special events to highlight the achievements of Higher Education in Africa. From topical seminars, debates, exhibitions, social media conversations, conferences, webinars and several other interesting events are used to recognize the AU Week. The variety of events hosted by HEIs across the continent is as inspiring as ever.

These events are what makes African Universities Week the huge success that it is.

In order to help you host your own event, we’ve put together an Independent Event Organiser’s Pack with information, inspiration and resources that you can use, including blanks for flyers and posters.

The pack includes:

  • Ideas for organising an African Universities Week event
  • Event format ideas
  • Event guidelines
  • Other helpful resources for event organisers

Plus:

 

We also have a database for event organisers, so if you want to be kept up-to-date with information on the African Universities Week

About African Universities Week

The Association of African Universities (AAU) was created by African Universities on the 12th of November 1967 in Rabat Morocco for the purpose of supporting African Universities to improve the quality of African Higher Education. The vision of the AAU is “to be the leading advocate for African Higher Education on the continent”. The AAU Secretariat is hosted by the Government of Ghana in Accra.

 

The History of the African Universities Week

The African Universities Day was constituted by the AAU Board of Directors in 2005 to commemorate the day that the AAU was created on 12th November 1967 in Rabat, Morocco. In June 2017 the AAU Board of Governors directed the AAU Secretariat to continue observing the African Universities Day through a week of innovative celebratory activities. This was because of the highly successful 2016 African Universities Innovation Week Celebrations in Accra, Ghana.

The purpose of the African Universities Week Celebrations is to focus attention on the African Higher Education sector – with a view of reflecting on progress, challenges and opportunities faced by this important sector. These celebrations also aim at attracting increased support for African Higher Education – this support could be in the form of human resources, financial resources or advocacy. The Association continues to engage a diversity of stakeholders for the improvement of African Higher Education – these include the Committee of Ten Heads of State that were nominated to champion African Higher Education, the private industries in Africa, the students associations through the All Africa Students Union, National Councils of Higher Education, Ministries of Education and several Development Partners.

The African Universities Week has been celebrated in Ghana and across Africa since 2005. Celebration activities have included topical seminars, debates on African Higher Education, exhibitions, social media conversations among several other types of activities.

 

Why organise an African Universities Week event?

The aims of the African Universities Week events are simple and straightforward:

  • to focus attention on the African Higher Education sector – with a view of reflecting on progress, challenges and opportunities faced by this important sector.
  • to attract increased support for African Higher Education – this support could be in the form of human resources, financial resources or advocacy.
  • to highlight the achievements, discoveries and inventions from African Higher Education Institutions

Organising an event will help meet one or more of these goals.  Hosting a local event in your institution to celebrate African Universities Week will further help us to reach communities that might otherwise never hear about this celebration. It also provides a unique opportunity to focus attention on your institution, generate visibility, and create the platform for interaction among your stakeholders.

Event Formats

If you’re wondering what sort of event to organise, don’t worry, there are lots of different formats that can work very well. You can think as big or as small as you like, depending on your inclinations, resources and available time.

To help you with some inspiration, here are a selection of ideas from past African Universities Week Celebrations:

Workshops

What can you teach, or what do your students want to explore? Workshops can transfer skills or help students develop career skills such as public speaking, entrepreneurship, etc.

Talks

One of the most popular event types for African Universities Week is the talks, but there are several different formats to consider:

  • Formal lectures to a specialist audience
  • Talks to a general audience
  • Cabarets, where speakers talk for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Pecha Kucha, talks with exactly 20 slides, each displayed for exactly 20 seconds, which the presenter must talk along to
  •  Lightning talks, which usually last 5 minutes

You can host specialists who are willing to talk about their areas of expertise, or invite them to talk about other issues facing Higher Education

Panel discussions, debates

Panel discussions are a very popular format, not because they put less load on the speakers. Some panel discussions ask that each speaker talk for five or ten minutes before the debate begins, others just plunge right in. For a good conversation, try to keep the number of panelists low, no more than four plus a moderator, and keep any introductory statements very short.

Meet-ups, mixers, networking events

No event is as easy to organise! All you need is some space, maybe some drinks and snacks, and perhaps a theme to your event. Some mixers start off with a short talk, but the majority of the time is set aside for Higher Education stakeholders to meet and mingle with others with similar interests.

Museum or gallery tours, exhibitions, displays

If you’re the curator of a museum, gallery or collection, you could consider a special tour that focuses on Education. Or perhaps create a special exhibition of artefacts, letters and/or art.

Something else entirely

Of course, these event formats are only suggestions — there’s plenty of opportunity for you to do something completely different! Whatever you do, have fun with it and good luck!

 

Event Guidelines

Whilst African University Day falls on the 12the November each year, the expansion of the celebration from one day to one week makes room for independent events to be held throughout the week.  This means institutions can pick any date from November 12 -16, 2018 that works best for them.

We would love to hear about which event your institution hosted alongside photos from the events to share widely with our stakeholders.

 

Event guidelines

We don’t enforce any rules for independent events, but there are a few guidelines that we’d like you to consider adopting.

Be inclusive

African Universities Week is about all Higher Education in Africa and all its stakeholders, no matter their age, ethnicity, or any other characteristic. When you are inviting speakers, ensure that you reach a group that is diverse.

Be open

The spirit of African Universities Week is to be educational, open, friendly, warm, respectful, playful, celebratory and curious.

Be transparent

Please provide contact details in your promotional materials, and make it clear that your African Universities Week event is organised independently of the main event.

Be generous

If you take photos or video of your event — and we strongly recommend that you do! — please release them under a Creative Commons licence, with a name for attribution, so that others can share them and be inspired by them.

Be in touch

Please do let us know what you are planning and how it went afterwards

 

Event Resources

Links

We would appreciate it if you could link to our website, events.aau.org/auweek and if possible, to our Twitter account (@aau_67) and FaceBook Page (@AAU67) when you write about your event.

You can also use this text in your promotional materials if you’d like to:

This event is part of the African Universities Week celebration of Higher Education in Africa. You can follow AAU on Twitter: @aau_67. 

 

Twitter hashtags

The Twitter hashtag is always “AfUniWk” with the last two numbers of the current year, eg #AfUniWk18 for 2018 and so on. If you want a hashtag for your own event, use AfUniWk18 plus the institution name, eg #AfUniWk18_Stellenbosh. If you have room in your tweet, please do feel free to include our handle, @aau_67, and we will retweet when we can.

Free resources

Flyers and posters

You can download a number of flyer and poster blanks here, A4, A5, US letter and half US letter sizes. All files are available in both PDF and PNG formats.

If you resize the images, please ensure that the text remains readable and that it will be retained when printed out.

Descriptive texts

You can copy and paste any of the text below to use in your promotional materials. Please always link to our website at events.aau.org/auweek  and, if you can, include our twitter handle, @aau_67.

About the African Universities Week (short)

This day coincides with the birth of the Association of African Universities in Rabat, Morocco, on November 12, 1967. The African Universities Week aims to present a unique platform to promote critical dialogue among stakeholders on how to improve Higher Education in Africa. The African Universities Week Celebrations have become a premier event on the calendar of AAU and this day has been celebrated by HEIs since 2005.

Find out more about African Universities Week at events.aau.org/auweek  and on Twitter @aau_67.

About African Universities Week (long)

The African Universities Day was constituted by the AAU Board of Directors in 2005 to commemorate the day that the AAU was created on 12th November 1967 in Rabat, Morocco.

The purpose of the African Universities Week Celebrations is to focus attention on the African Higher Education sector – with a view of reflecting on progress, challenges and opportunities faced by this important sector. These celebrations also aim at attracting increased support for African Higher Education – this support could be in the form of human resources, financial resources or advocacy. The Association continues to engage a diversity of stakeholders for the improvement of African Higher Education – these include the Committee of Ten Heads of State that were nominated to champion African Higher Education, the private industries in Africa, the students associations through the All Africa Students Union, National Councils of Higher Education, Ministries of Education and several Development Partners.

The African Universities Week has been celebrated in Ghana and across Africa since 2005. Celebration activities have included topical seminars, debates on African Higher Education, exhibitions, social media conversations among several other types of activities.

Find out more about African Universities Week at events.aau.org/auweek and on Twitter @aau_67.