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International Study of African Problems

Nature volume 142, page 744 (22 October 1938) | Download Citation



THE Volta Foundation Congress, which met in Rome at the beginning of October under the auspices of the Italian Royal Academy for the discussion of questions relating to Africa, was attended by delegates from fourteen European countries, including representatives of Great Britain and Germany. The delegates appear from the reports of the proceedings to have appreciated to the full both the joint responsibility of the nations of Europe for the future development of Africa, which was stressed by Prof. Orestano in his address at the opening of the Congress, and the desirability of international co-operation on a broad basis in the study of conditions which is a necessary preliminary in the approach to the problems, upon the solution of which advancement of Africa and her peoples must depend. Among the topics discussed on these lines were such matters as tropical diseases, native education, European settlement, anthropological studies, communications, and the like. In view of the attitude of the delegates on these matters, it is not surprising that in the final session strong expression was given to the opinion that some permanent organization should be formed for the promotion of international co-operation in further inquiry ; while it was also urged that nations other than those at present interested directly in Africa, should be invited to participate in the interests of civilization at large. While any proposal is welcome which aims at promoting study of the problems of Africa as a whole, and seeks to attract collaboration from as wide a field as possible, it may not be out of place to recall that there are already in existence international organizations, which in certain fields are doing excellent work, and are capable of ready extension,were funds available. It would, however, be premature bo offer comment before the present proposal takes more definite shape.

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