Third European Students’ Conference on African Studies (Basel, 29-30 August 2024)

The organizing committee

The TESCAS organizing committee: Wahab Lawundeh, Aileen Diewald, Catharina Deeg and Fabian Zesiger (from left). Photo: JF Photography

TESCAS – Young Scholars Driving a Field

Welcome to the Third European Students’ Conference on African Studies (TESCAS), taking place in the historic city of Basel on 29 and 30 August 2024. Since its inception in 2007, the student conference has grown through the positive feedback from our 2022 edition, highlighting the need for its continuation. Hosted by the University of Basel’s African Studies Master Program, the conference is a beacon for fostering robust networks among Europe’s emerging scholars in African Studies.

This year's theme, ‘African Studies in Europe: Young Scholars Driving a Field’, invites Master’s students, recent graduates, and young professionals across Europe to deepen discussions about Africa’s role globally. TESCAS is more than an academic event; it is a community designed to spark connections and friendships, reduce hierarchical barriers, and promote mutual respect among participants.

Our goals are to facilitate meaningful academic and social interactions and to ensure impactful networking that extends beyond the conference. Join us for TESCAS to enjoy a blend of rigorous academic discourse and community enjoyment, continuing our tradition of excellence in scholarship and collaboration. We eagerly anticipate welcoming you to Basel to contribute your insights and join our growing legacy. 

Our supporters and partners:


Are you a Master's student or recent graduate? Have you researched or worked on academic projects relating to Africa? Then, join the Third European Students' Conference on African Studies at the University of Basel from 29-30 August 2024!

Lend a hand!

Mercy Nqandeka - 'Empowering Voices: Reclaiming African Narratives and Shaping Our Future'

portrait Mercy Nqandeka

Mercy Nqandeka (Photo: Andrin Fretz)

We are thrilled to introduce our keynote speaker Mercy Nqandeka, a South African scholar, artist and writer. Mercy was born and raised in the Eastern Cape and holds a BSc and Honors degree in Soil Science from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. Additionally, she earned a double Master's degree from the National University of Ireland and the SupAgro Institute in Montpellier, France. Currently, Mercy is pursuing a PhD in Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, focusing on indigenous knowledge systems.

Mercy is not only a bright and critical scholar but also a highly creative individual. She runs a beading and Xhosa craft-making company in Elliotdale, South Africa. Furthermore, she has authored three books: 'The Dissonant Rainbow' (2019), 'To My Young Self' (2020), and 'Don’t Upset ooMalume: A Guide to Stepping Up Your Xhosa Game'.

Interested in volunteering for the Third European Students' Conference on African Studies? There are several ways you can get involved and contribute: 

  1. Offer Accommodation: Do you have extra space and would like to offer accommodation for one or more participants? Your generosity can make a significant difference in ensuring attendees have a comfortable and enjoyable experience during their stay.
  2. Volunteer at the Conference: We already have a dedicated team of volunteers, but we are always looking for more helping hands. Tasks may include picking up participants from train stations or airports, directing attendees during the conference, and assisting with various on-site activities. Let us know if you are interested, and we will determine the number of volunteers needed and assign tasks accordingly.
  3. Become a Social Media Ambassador: Are you passionate about spreading the word and engaging with others on social media? You can become an ambassador and multiplier by sharing our conference updates, announcements, and insights on your social media channels. Your support can help us reach a wider audience and create buzz around the event.

We are thrilled that you are interested in joining us for Third European Students' Conference on African Studies! To help us plan effectively for the number of participants, we kindly request that you register as soon as possible but latest by 16 August 2024. The registration fee of CHF 50.- will be levied upon arrival.

As a registered participant, you will not only have the unique opportunity to connect with students from other European universities and share ideas and build lasting relationships, but the conference will also offer you access to wealth of knowledge and experiences and also enable you to create a network with other students from diverse backgrounds. You will also have the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions and present your master’s project/project. By registering, you will be granted complimentary breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunch, and a spectacular conference dinner on the final night!

Please check with your university if they can support you with your expenses related to the conference participation. We will support participants according to their economic situation, their ability to tap into funding, the actual cost of travel, and the means at our disposal. 

We are a group of four enthusiastic students dedicated to organizing an engaging and impactful conference. Our team brings together diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise to ensure a successful and enriching event. Meet our team members below!

Catharina Deeg

Catharina Deeg (Photo: JF Photography)

Catharina Deeg, a first-semester student in the Master’s program in African Studies at the University of Basel, is enthusiastic about the upcoming conference, fueled by her passion for building connections among peers and recent graduates with a shared focus on African studies. Originating from Germany, obtaining her bachelor's degree in the Netherlands, and continuing her academic pursuits in Switzerland, Catharina is especially keen on collaborating with peers from diverse backgrounds. She views the conference as an excellent opportunity for active engagement, networking, and collaborative learning, enhancing her academic and professional development in the field.

Aileen Diewald

Aileen Diewald (Photo: JF Photography)

Aileen Diewald has cultivated a rich academic background since moving from the Black Forest area to Switzerland a decade ago, where she completed her Bachelor's degree in Social Anthropology and Sociology. Now in her final year as a Master's student in African Studies, Aileen has enriched her education with transformative experiences abroad, including a student exchange in Namibia in 2022 and field research in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2023 for her Master's thesis. Her academic and research passions are centered around gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, and participatory research methods. Aileen is eager to connect with fellow scholars, exchange innovative ideas, and delve into diverse perspectives at the upcoming conference.

Wahab Lawundeh

Wahab Lawundeh (Photo: JF Photography)

Wahab Lawundeh, hailing from Sierra Leone, West Africa, embarked on his academic journey by earning a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with a focus on Anthropology. Now a first-semester student in the MA African Studies program at the University of Basel, Wahab is grateful to the Stipendienkommission für Nachwuchskräfte aus Entwicklungsländern for providing him with a scholarship. He joined the Third European Students' Conference on African Studies (TESCAS) with the goal of expanding his network among peers from various European universities and beyond. TESCAS, which encourages Master’s students and recent graduates to present and engage in discussions on a wide range of topics, offers Wahab a platform to share and enhance his understanding of subjects closely related to his academic pursuits and personal experiences.

Fabian Zesiger

Fabian Zesiger (Photo: JF Photography)

Fabian Zesiger, currently pursuing Psychology at the University of Basel, has joined the Third European Students' Conference on African Studies (TESCAS) driven by its focus on academic collaboration and the development of practical conference organization skills, essential in his field. He finds the conference particularly compelling as it provides a venue to delve into innovative research methods and emerging trends. Engaging with a spectrum of perspectives not only expands his academic scope but also supports his dedication to incorporating interdisciplinary insights into his scholarly work. This integration enhances his ability to contribute meaningfully to the academic community.

We are privileged to have an esteemed advisory board comprising academics who have organized and contributed to the previous two conferences. Their wealth of experience and academic backgrounds will guide and support us in creating a successful and impactful conference. Get to know our advisory board members below! 

Claudia Gastrow

Prof Claudia Gastrow, PhD, North Carolina State University

Claudia Gastrow, a trailblazer in African Studies, was among the inaugural students of the Master's program at the University of Basel, graduating in 2007 as an ESKAS fellow. Her academic foundation was laid in History at the University of Cape Town. Her scholarly pursuit took her to the University of Chicago, where she achieved her PhD in Social Anthropology in 2014. Claudia enriched her academic career with postdoctoral positions at the University of the Witwatersrand and later served as a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg. In 2023, she advanced her career further by joining North Carolina State University as an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Notably, Claudia was the visionary initiator of the first European Students’ Conference on African Studies in 2007, demonstrating her longstanding dedication to fostering academic discourse and collaboration.

Raluca-Maria Marcu

Raluca-Maria Marcu, BA, University of Basel

Raluca Marcu, a dynamic graduate from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iaşi, Romania, secured her Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences in 2021. She soon ventured further into academia by joining the innovative Master’s program in African Studies at the University of Basel in the spring of 2022. Diving  into practical learning early on, Raluca played a pivotal role in orchestrating the Second European Students' Conference on African Studies held in August 2022, showcasing her leadership and organizational skills. Presently, she is a dedicated student assistant at the Centre for African Studies and is approaching the culmination of her master's journey.

Moritz Mihatsch

Prof Moritz Mihatsch, PhD, University of Cambridge

Moritz Mihatsch completed his MA in History, complemented by studies in German Literature and International Relations, at the University of Zurich in 2006. His academic journey included a guest semester at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, where he immersed himself in Islamic Theology. He advanced his studies with a PhD in Political Science, awarded in 2014, and subsequently shared his expertise as a lecturer at the British University in Egypt and as an assistant professor at Future University in Cairo. Moritz then took his talents to the University of Cambridge, where he currently serves as an assistant professor of World History. He also played a key role in organizing the first European Students' Conference on African Studies in 2007 conference, further highlighting his commitment to academic collaboration and scholarship.

Franziska Rüedi

Franziska Rüedi, PhD, University of Zurich 

Franziska Rüedi, who was among the organizing students of the inaugural students' conference, completed her Master’s degree in African Studies at the University of Basel in 2007. Subsequently, she pursued her doctoral studies at the University of Oxford, earning her PhD in History. She then relocated to South Africa, where she conducted postdoctoral research on collective violence and subjectivity during the transition period in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand. Since 2020, she has been a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zurich, focusing on transnational solidarity. In the autumn semester of 2023, Franziska represented Prof. Dr. Joël Glasman at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. 

Anna Vögeli, MA

Anna Voegeli

Anna Vögeli earned her Master in African History a the Universtiy of Basel in 2009 and was co-organizer of the first European Students' Conference on African Studies. As a researcher at the University of Basel, Anna investigated notions of democracy in the local histories of Shiluvane, a rural village in Limpopo Province, South Africa. She then specialised as an archivist, working with the Basler Afrika Bibliographien, a Namibia Resource Centre and Southern African Library, before she further specialised in digital long term archiving (LTA). Since 2022 she is in charge of LTA at the library of the University of Bern.

The conference will be held in Basel, strategically situated close to the borders of Germany and France, making it easily accessible for attendees from various countries by train, bus, or plane. The University of Basel encourages everyone to reduce their carbon footprint, so please consider this when choosing your mode of travel. This central location offers ample cultural exploration and networking opportunities beyond the conference walls. With diverse attractions, including the iconic Rhine River, vibrant culinary scenes, and world-renowned museums, Basel promises a memorable experience for all visitors. We eagerly anticipate gathering in Basel for an engaging and internationally connected event.

If you have any questions or require further information, please don't hesitate to contact us. The TESCAS Organizing Committee is available to assist you. Feel free to email us if you need clarification on conference details or have any concerns. Additionally, you can stay up-to-date with the latest news and insights by following us on Instagram.

Please don't hesitate to contact us whenever you need assistance - we're just a message away!

In urgent cases, please contact the ZASB executive office.