Prestigious appointments in the Francophonie

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Professor Sanni Yaya

Professor Sanni Yaya

The Réseau international des Chaires Senghor de la Francophonie (RICSF) has awarded the first Senghor Chair at the University of Ottawa to Professor Sanni Yaya of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment for the University of Ottawa,” said Jacques Frémont, president and vice-chancellor of the University. “We are both delighted by this international recognition and excited to be joining the prestigious Senghor network.”

With its 21 chairs, the RICSF is active in Africa, America, Asia and Europe, with a mission to develop independent research and advance knowledge about the francophone world. It aims to increase research in this area, to encourage discussion of ideas on the Francophonie and its evolution while promoting cooperation among francophone partners.

This new Senghor Chair on Health and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa will contribute to scholarly discussion on approaches and interventions that can help curb upward curves in maternal and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the 17 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Professor Yaya, the new chairholder, is internationally recognized for his expertise on these issues. His appointment to the chair culminates 15 years of research in areas of considerable social impact.

“Our identity, our DNA are steeped in the Francophonie,” said Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau. “The awarding of this Senghor Chair to the University of Ottawa confirms our leadership in research on the Francophonie.”

A pioneer in research on health and development in Africa, Sanni Yaya has distinguished himself as a prolific scholar with a humanistic vision and a great commitment to and passion for global health. His contributions have helped situate health in the field of social sciences and at the core of debates on international development.

This chair will join the Collège des chaires sur le monde francophone at the University of Ottawa. “Adding Professor Yaya to the Collège des chaires is also part of the University’s internationalization strategy,” said E.-Martin Meunier, director of the Collège. According to Meunier, additional fruitful collaborations with several other Senghor network universities can be expected in the near future.

The official launch of the Senghor Chair in Health and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa at the University of Ottawa took place on January 28. Two other research chairs on the international Francophonie were also announced.


New research chairholders on international Francophonie


Marie-Eve Desrosiers and Sylvie Grosjean

From left to right: Marie-Eve Desrosiers, Sylvie Grosjean


Two research chairholders join the Collège des chaires sur le monde francophone:

Marie-Eve Desrosiers (Faculty of Social Sciences) — International Francophonie Research Chair on Political Aspirations and Movements in Francophone Africa

Marie-Eve Desrosiers is a professor at the School of International Development and Globalization, and a specialist on governance and security in sub-Saharan Africa. Her research focuses on the relations between governments and citizens, on political crisis and conflicts, and on factors conducive to participation in social movements and conflicts, including identity-related claims and authoritarianism practised by those in power.

Analyzing the specific characteristics of the recent protests in Burkina Faso, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, her chair will aim to better understand how protest trajectories of ordinary citizens are particularly affected by the francophone, local context of French-speaking Africa.

Sylvie Grosjean (Faculty of Arts) — International Francophonie Research Chair on Digital Health Technologies.

A researcher in the Department of Communication, Professor Grosjean is recognized for her expertise in the field of organizational and health communication. Her chair will aim to foster a better understanding of issues related to the use and design of digital health technologies, taking into account the specific challenges encountered in the francophone world.

Building on the innovative co-design methodology she pioneered, Sylvie Grosjean will determine, among other things, social acceptability criteria that must integrated into the design of these technologies.

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