Ambassador Stephan Röken of Germany visits the Timbuktu Institute

On Friday, the 16th of February, the Timbuktu Institute African Center for Peace Studies welcomed Ambassador Stephan Röken of Germany.


His Excellency expressed an interest in the Institute after having read the director BakarySambe’s column in JeuneAfrique, “Les Kalashnikovs n’ontjamaisvaincu les ideologues.” Agreeing that education and other preventative measures are the solution to growing violent extremism across the Sahel, Ambassador Röken sought to learn more about the mission of the Timbuktu Institute; the promotion of African cultural resources in order to resolve and prevent conflict in all forms.


In particular, Sambe and Röken discussed the current educational divide in Senegal. Like many other countries in the Sahel, Senegalese students are split between an ‘official’, French, and secular education, and Koranic schools. Sambe sees this a divide with great potential for danger, as the political elite have all been products of the French system since independence. The lack of valorization of the Koranic schools and those who hold an Arabic baccalaureate could lead to more than political ramifications.


In turn, Ambassador Röken spoke of Germany’s future role in conflict prevention. He noted that Germany has a growing interest in Sahel security due to domestic politics surrounding migration. He praised the work produced by the Timbuktu institute through partnerships with German institutions like the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and Rosa Luxembourg.


His excellency expressed his hope that such partnerships would continue, that other German institutions would become involved, and noted that he looked forward to potential future partnerships between the Timbuktu Institute and the German Embassy.