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The ongoing debate on decolonizing global health has gained momentum as scholars from the Majority World critically examine and challenge the historical and structural inequalities embedded in global health research and practice. Scholars argue that the existing paradigms often perpetuate power imbalances, with the majority of decision-making and resource allocation concentrated in Minority World institutions. Proposed action steps for change emphasize for instance the need for equitable partnerships, where local expertise is valued and integrated into decision-making processes, the acknowledgment and rectification of historical injustices, proportional representation of the Majority World at all global health stages, including but not limited to, voice and vote at all decision-making instances of research and governance, especially on journal and funding agencies boards, and the restructuring of research collaborations to prioritize the Majority World communities needs. Additionally, there is a call for the decolonization of curricula in medical and public health education to ensure a more inclusive and culturally sensitive approach to healthcare. Overall, decolonial scholars underscore the importance of dismantling neocolonial practices to achieve truly global and equitable health outcomes.

Course description

This Summer School/Alumni Seminar is a collaborative event by the QUEST Center for Responsible Research at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and the Master of Science Program International Health (MScIH) of the Institute of International Health at the Charité Center for Global Health. It is dedicated to the exploration of the debate on decolonizing global health and visions of decolonial transformation. It builds upon the outcomes and reflections resulting from a previous Summer School on "Colonial Continuities in International Health", conducted by the Institute of International Health in 2022. The 4-day program is co-organized by four consortium partners: University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), MetaDocencia (Argentina), Institute of International Health and BIH QUEST Center for Responsible Research (both institutes of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany).

The Summer School will take place in presence in Berlin. A number of sessions will be streamed online. For details, please download the programme

Learning objectives

The program is designed to foster dialogue between global health researchers and practitioners from diverse positionalities and profound engagement with approaches to decolonizing the mind in the context of reshaping the global health landscape.

This will be achieved through an innovative pedagogical approach that brings together multiple formats of learning and engagement, such as workshops, brainstorms, panel discussions, film screenings, and mentoring sessions. Participants are encouraged to contribute to the program by proposing their own workshop ideas. Moreover, an unconference format gives participants the opportunity to form interest groups and generate a proof of concept for their project ideas throughout the four days. On the last day, these projects will be pitched to and receive feedback from expert representatives of the Decolonize Global Health Movement. As such, the Summer School provides a platform for networking and knowledge exchange among international partners and participants. Such collaboration aims to create a sense of global solidarity and shared responsibility in addressing global health challenges, as well as sustainability.

The overarching goal of decolonizing the mind runs through the entire program. All participants, speakers, facilitators, mentors, and organizers are encouraged to critically examine and challenge deeply rooted colonial perspectives and biases, fostering a transformative shift in mindset. We consider that decolonization is a lifelong learning process that involves both the descendants of the colonizer and those who come from previously colonized territories.

This Summer School will not provide "easy" solutions or "How-to" guides. The program avoids simplification and counters a "box-ticking" mindset. In contrast, it embraces the complexity of the topic and aims to foster the collaborative development of transformative strategies and projects.

In summary, this international summer school aims to make a significant contribution to the global discourse on decolonizing global health research and practice and to empower participants to actively engage in reshaping the future of global health with a decolonial perspective and a liberated mind.

Target audience

This course is aimed at the alumni of the Master of Science Program International Health, BIH and Charité researchers and educators, doctoral candidates and students as well as external researchers.

Who does the Summer School address? Primarily, the program speaks to global health practitioners and researchers from various disciplines, career stages and diverse positionalities. The following three fictitious learning personas are meant to provide some orientation of the variety of participants that this program will cater to:

  • María (they/them) is an Early Career Researcher in public health from Peru. Their background is in epidemiology with a special focus on health statistics. They obtained a MSc two years ago and recently started working as a consultant at WHO. They are passionate about improving global health governance and advocating Health for All, but feel insecure about how they can address power inequalities from their position. Their native language is Spanish and they sometimes feel self-conscious about their spoken English, so they prefer to communicate by writing whenever English is the only language of communication.
  • Thomas (he/him) is a mid-career health practitioner from Cameroon. He obtained his medical doctor degree there and has since been practicing general medicine in a hospital in Yaoundé. He has experience working with global non-profit organizations such as Médecins sans Frontières. He prefers to communicate in French. He often finds that the international funding available for global health does not address the actual needs of his patients in Yaoundé. He is also frustrated when trying to publish his research in international journals. He would like to brainstorm with open-minded colleagues worldwide on ways to address these issues in a safe environment.
  • Patricia (she/her) is a trained midwife working at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Originally from Germany, she has lived in South Asia for several years, where she worked for a German foundation that engages with local and regional governments on the topic of early childcare. She is passionate about women’s health and is part of international networks. During her work at the foundation, she has been puzzled by the funding structures that gave her more decision-making power than the local experts. Now, she looks for guidance in her critical reflections. Due to a visual disability, high-contrast visualizations are a must to give Patricia full access to presented contents.

Participation requirements

Participants will be asked to read a number of pertinent references that will be shared in preparation of the Summer School.

The number of participants is limited. Therefore, we kindly ask to submit an application, based on which the organization team will select participants. To submit your application, please refer to the registration form below. 

Registration for in-person participation is now closed. Registration for participation in the live streams is not limited and remains open until the event. 

Lecturers

Dr. Laura Ación, MetaDocencia
Dr. Jesica Formoso, MetaDocencia
Dr. Sabrina López, MetaDocencia
Dr. Karina Formoso, MetaDocencia
Laura Ascenzi, MetaDocencia
Dr. Mantoa Mokhachane, University of Witwatersrand
Dr. Ayesha Jacub, University of Witwatersrand
Dr. Mohammed Patel, University of Witwatersrand
Sarah Wendt, QUEST Center for Responsible Research
Dr. Christiane Wetzel, QUEST Center for Responsible Research
Dr. Hans-Friedemann Kinkel​​​​​​​, Institute of International Health, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Infobox

Date/Time: Monday, March 25th, - Thursday, March 28th, 2024

Course language: English

Place: QUEST Center for Responsible Research, Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Straße 2, 10178 Berlin

Registration: Registration is closed.

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