The participants of the International Conference on Eritrean Studies indicated that the conference has significant contribution in creating common understanding.
Mr. Efrem Tekeste, lecturer on Political Science at the Adi-Keih College of Arts and Social Science, said that the conference will have significant input in understanding the importance of research in all development aspects. He also underlined that the conference will help the foreign intellectuals participating in the conference expand their understanding on the political situation in Eritrea and region and has also created a forum for them to share experiences with their Eritrean counterparts.
Prof. Alfredo Coppa, the team leader of the Italian Archeologists who are engaged in excavation activities in Eritrea, indicated that ancient traces are being surfaced in Eritrea that could help in the research for identifying the development of homo sapience. The number of conference participants that are here to participate in the research papers presentations attest to the rich potential Eritrea possesses in terms of ancient history and archeological discoveries.
Ms. Victoria Bernal, from University of California, who presented a research paper on Asmara as Cultural Heritage said that they were mesmerized by the quality research papers presented and hot discussions conducted and that the research papers will have significant contribution.
They also recommended that the Eritrean scholars to sustainably contribute research papers depicting all aspects of Eritrea and such international conferences to be arranged regularly.
International Conference on Eritrean Studies (ICES) aims to revive scholarly discussions on Eritrea and sketch ways of strengthening academic interest and activities related to the country by engaging scholars from inside and outside Eritrea. The event will offer an opportunity to scholars working on Eritrea to present their work to a larger academic gathering in Asmara. It will also provide a forum for local, Eritrean Diaspora, and international scholars to create and develop links with research and academic institutions and public stakeholders inside the country.
ICES is expected to lay foundations for a sustained commitment on the part of the different participants to Eritrean studies. Their involvement will allow Eritrean studies scholars to establish pan-African networks and connections, providing opportunities to raise issues and share experiences on the manifold challenges of development from different perspectives. A discussion will be held at the end of the conference to look for ways to sustain and institutionalize Eritrean studies.
ICES showcases a range of views on foreign policy, Africa, Asmara’s cultural heritage, regional security, gender equality, Eritrea-US and Eritrea-Ethiopia relations, Eritrean languages, food security, anthropological research, archeological fieldwork, environmental policy, business management and sustainable development, amongst others. Overall, the numerous panels call for radical new approaches to information and offer how new, exciting ways to address problems.
An important theme of the conference is, “the way forward.” Essentially outlining how to promote Eritrea, improve the different societal or government sectors, ensure food security, reduce poverty, achieve economic progress, improve environmental protection, and reduce unsustainable consumption and production patterns. Additionally, the conference underscores how education is inextricably linked to a broad range of human development concerns, including poverty alleviation, women’s equality and empowerment, and environmental protection. It is important to note that the conference will challenge the existent biased narrative about Eritrea and provide a much more holistic, contextual understanding of the country.
ICES, therefore, might also serve as a platform to challenge and refute entrenched and utterly negative narratives on Eritrea peddled these days almost routinely, not only by mainstream media, but also, by reputable academic circles and research centers. The dominant external narrative or portrayal of Eritrea these days is atrociously out of sync with the reality in the county. It is also extensive and intrusive in scope to literally vilify and denigrate all facets and aspects of Eritrean life. If one browses Google Alert, 95% of what is printed on Eritrea is simply preposterous. This conference is, therefore, could contribute to the dissemination of an alternative and balanced narrative on Eritrea.