Symposium "South Africa: Cradle of Humankind" [fr]
On 7 February 2015, a symposium “South Africa: Cradle of Humankind” celebrated the 20th anniversary of the cooperation agreement between the paleoanthropology and prehistory chair in College de France in Paris, Transvaal Museum (renamed Ditsong National Museum of Natural History) in Pretoria and the Embassy of France in South Africa, signed on 29 November 1995. The event was organized at the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris by the French Committee for South Africa, with the support of CNRS-Institut écologie et environnement.
The cooperation agreement was formalized only one year after the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela and the birth of South African democracy. The aim of this agreement was to reinforce and to make official the scientific relations existing in the fields of paleontology (including human paleontology) and prehistory. Over many years, it made possible numerous exchanges between researchers, students and technicians from both countries and also funded field works and projects in South Africa, thanks to funds from the Embassy of France (that is to say from the French ministry of Foreign affairs). These first relations formed the foundations of various current cooperation projects.
The symposium was organized in 3 parts:
- Introduction and presentation of the scientific institutional relations between France and South Africa: Y. Laurin (CFAS), D. Gommery (CNRS), M. Franck (Inalco), S. Thiébault (CNRS-INEE), J. Albergel (bureau CNRS/IRD en Afrique du Sud) in collaboration with D. Du Toit (South African Department of Science and Technology);
- History of French researches led in Africa and organization of the relations in the frame of the cooperation agreement: Y. Coppens (Collège de France), F. Thackeray (Université de Witwatersrand) and B. Senut (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle);
- Some examples of current French-South African researches: former beneficiaries F. d’Errico (CNRS & Université de Bordeaux 1), J. Braga (Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse 3) and D. Gommery (CNRS).