The academy is an annual platform upon which a collaborative effort between numerous interested and optimistic East African Citizens stimulate the active participation of their kith and kin in the integration process. It is a venue for conversations, which co-create, educate and celebrate. The academy aims at being a reference point for interrogating ideas around regional integration and best practice with respect to rights; with a particular emphasis on the active pursuit of second-generation rights.
The academy is aimed at:
- Providing well grounded instruction/learning sessions to Fellows of the Academy around the origins and the potential that the integration concept presents; its value and what choosing this as the path for the future can do for the region and ultimately for a united Africa.
- Hosting debates on the current state of play and what needs to be done by who in order to accelerate the integration process.
- Creating opportunities for the presentation of new thinking on the concept of Regional/African integration, creating needed capacity and enhancing rights awareness in Africa and acknowledge Africans who have contributed significantly to this goal.
- Celebrating achievements of illustrious Africans (both from East Africa and beyond) who, through their creative approaches have enhanced the notion of ‘African-ness’, have demonstrated how African solutions can be sought for African problems and are committed to the pursuit of a common destiny.
- Creating opportunities where important initiatives that promote integration and improve the well being of East Africans in the first instance can be developed and tested.
The vision of the Academy is to contribute to the creation of the kind of leadership that is committed to enabling East African Citizens to excel and indeed, to be all they can be both at home and beyond. The people centered focus is actually stipulated in the treaty establishing the East African Community. Article 127(3) and (4) states that ‘Partner states agree to promote an enabling environment for the participation of civil society in the development activities within the community, and the Secretary General shall provide the forum for consultations, other interest groups and appropriate institutions of the community’. The first East African Academy @ Arusha (eaa@a) was held in June 2014 at Ngurundoto Mountain lodge.
The platform created opportunity for conversations aimed at interrogating ideas around regional integration and best practices with respect to rights with emphasis on the active pursuit of second generational rights. The platform also provided for recommendations and the way forward emanating from the event that was then taken up for the following year’s event. The Academy that was held on 29th May 2013 had the following key thematic focuses: Constitutionalism, Gender Issues – Equity, equality and identity, and Extractive industries with regards to Citizens’ benefit.
The second eaa@a (2014) was a build up from the Inaugural Academy. It was held at the Palace Hotel Arusha on 4th and 5th November 2014. The Academy brought together Civil Society actors, professionals and people of East Africa under the theme: “Do the Sustainable Development Goals provide a sound Foundation for Inclusive Development for East Africa?” The deliberations were led by different discussants and panelist from the East African region and brought together a total of 70 participants from the 5 East African countries.
The 2015 Academy deliberations were on the following topics:
- The question of Equality and Leadership;
- Half full or half empty: challenges and opportunities in the East African Integration;
- Contributions on Human Rights Defenders work in the Region;
- Engaging with African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court);
- African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and East Africa Court of Justice (EACJ);
- Constitution making and Implementation in the Region;
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Extractive Industries/Resource governance in EA;
- SDGs and Access to Justice in East Africa;
- SDGs and the practical pursuit of Rights;
- SDGs and the Unemployment Challenge;
- SDGS with Leadership and Citizenship in East Africa under the respective themes and How can Culture be a key driver for the domestication/popularization of SDGs in East Africa.