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Development Cooperation

Working Group

Chair: Julien Bobineau

Assistant Professor in French and Francophone Literature at the Institute for Modern Languages of the University of Würzburg. In 2017, Julien Bobineau finished his PhD thesis on Postcolonial Theory and colonial discourses in Belgium and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His research interests include the history, literature, politics and arts of Francophone Africa as well as colonial memory, racism and anti-colonial movements in Europa while his habilitation explores hunting ethics and aesthetics in the field of French and Spanish literature (18th and 19th century).


Vice-Chair: Sanja Boskovic

Associate Professor in language and civilization at the University of Poitiers, specialist in Serbo-Croatian, member of the MIMMOC EA3812 Research Group (Mémoire, Identité, Marginalité dans le Monde Contemporain) and coordinator of the European Center for Slavic Studies (CEES). She is the author of numerous papers and books on identity and cultural memory of the Southern Slavs.


Focus of Working Group

The global social responsibility of universities requires their active engagement with development issues and challenges. The Coimbra Group aims at increasing such engagements through the pooling of expertise and through the coordination of actions targeted towards a most effective response to major cooperation challenges and a fruitful relation with the main development agencies, in primis the EU. The academic world mat play an important role as promoter of a broad and solid approach to development cooperation, based on the issues of capacity building, the promotion of a global citizenship education and the implementation of a participative approach to research on and for development. Three main levels of intervention are identified:

1) Development of joint training courses and education programs to contribute to the improvements of institutional capacities.

2) Sharing knowledge and experience on research for development, cooperation models and evaluation, including a critical review of the actions of the main international donors.

3) Investigation on the role of universities as agents of development at the country or regional level, including the co-designing of experiences of higher education fostering ownership and human and institutional capacity building.

Recent highlights

Master program in Peace & Conflict Studies: The Coimbra Group initiative in the field of Peace & Conflict Studies offers a scientific approach to analyse violent and nonviolent behaviors in order to understand better political conflict situations. Students are given the possibility to move between the participating universities by using the EU mobility program in order to achieve specialist knowledge as well as to apperceive different approaches too. Students can thus explore different cultural backgrounds already during the university studies. The Coimbra Group universities taking a part in the initiative on Peace & Conflict Studies benefit also their own links to partner universities in different world’s regions and countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Thus, opens diverse possibilities for students for internships and thesis research. The universities participating in the study program are: University of Aarhus, University of Coimbra, University of Galway, University of Granada, University of Groningen, University of Gottingen, University of Jena, University of Poitiers, and Vilnius University.

Winter School on the impact of Covid-19 in Africa: The four-week online programme took place in February 2021. The concept has been developed by the members of the Coimbra Group Development Cooperation Working Group, under the overall coordination of the University of Würzburg. During this Winter School, over 70 students at Coimbra Group and African universities discussed about impacts, challenges and responses related to Covid-19 and Africa with a number of experts from Coimbra Group and African universities.

Ongoing/forthcoming activities

  • The Third International Summer School on European Multilingualism, planned for summer 2020, has been suspended. The project on the promotion of Multilingualism, language teaching and learning is postponed until summer 2022 due to the pandemic situation.
  • Joint research project with Working Group Heritage on the decolonization of Museums, Cultural Heritage and its intercultural potential for Development Cooperation: The research project on Colonized Objects and Bodies in Europe: New challenges and new perspectives on the Decolonialization of Cultural Heritage puts European Museums, Cultural
    Heritage institutions and Universities with their collections in the spotlight and aim to discuss the following questions: How can Cultural Heritage be decolonized in science, society, politics and institutions in order to avoid ideological extremism? Are there national differences and similarities in Europe? Who are the actors and networks involved in defending the status quo or in decolonizing Cultural Heritage’? What are the direct and indirect consequences of unreflect and stereotypical Cultural Heritage in Europe? How can the decolonialization of Cultural Heritage’ contribute to the field of development cooperation with the African continent? An international conference on the subject is planned for Spring 2022.
  • Planned cooperation with HEI organizations in the Global South like the Association of African Universities (AAU). The AAU is a network that provides a continental platform for its over 400 member Universities in order to share knowledge, good practices and to shape HEI policies in Africa. A virtual round table is foreseen for the end of 2021.
  • Discussion and draft of a common declaration for the role of universities in development cooperation. Organization of a debate at the EU Parliament on the role of universities as development cooperation actors with relevant representatives of the Development Cooperation Committee of EU Parliament.

Contact person at the CG Office: Catarina Moleiro (moleiro@coimbra-group.eu)