Pan-African Institute For AU Studies

“The evolution of humanity says that Africa reaffirms that she is continuing her rise from the ashes. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace!”

President Thabo Mbeki, South Africa. “I Am an African” speech delivered on 8 May 1996


The AU Watch Institute for the Study of the African Union (ISAU) is a trans-disciplinary Centre of excellence for regional and international academic research, teaching and critical scholarship on the African Union.Its activities are multi-disciplinary in nature.


To contribute to an Africa with a Pan-African consciousness in which knowledge and history of the region is promoted, and the dignity and rights of all people are respected. We envision an Africa that is articulate, critical and activist concerning matters of fundamental human rights and freedoms.


To be a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence for AU studies and research using a multidisciplinary approach.

Preparing the student of today to lead Africa into 2063!

Established in 2019, AUW ISAUis the leading African think tank and forum for debate on AU affairs. It ranks among the top two African think tanks, specifically dedicated to studying the AU. But we are different. Though we run various certificate, diploma and short courses in human rights and development studies on a wide range of AU policy areas for adults, our focus is on the African child and the African youth.

Broadly speaking, academic education is oriented to giving students grounding in the scholastic disciplines and preparing them for possible future studies. Vocational education is aimed at transferring competences and skills for specific occupations. Diversified education caters to both types of student, allowing some crossover. AU Watch place these types of education on a continuum, with academic and vocational education at the opposite ends and diversified education in the middle. There is an urgent need for the African child to be more equipped with relevant ‘regional’ knowledge to make him or her useful for the Africa of 2063.

Whilst AU Watch see a clear role for universities to be important partners in the battle for social justice, including stemming the tide of corruption, is it not the case of trying to close the stable doors after the horse has bolted?ISAU, is therefore that institution dedicated to providing the African child with opportunities to acquire necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes about Africa’s foremost multilateral institution – the AU, for the development of the self and the region, promote love for and loyalty to Africa.

The Africa of 2063 is going to demand more skills from our students, and greater levels of flexibility to carry out multiple tasks. We as a continent are not preparing the next generation of children to be knowledgeable and equipped for the Africa of 2063. So, our ISAUsets outhow to:

  • Prepare students for the Africa of 2063

As designers of primary and secondary school curriculum, we understand that important strategic decisions need to be taken into account. We group them into three overlapping areas – organization, content, and control.


Re-imagining Education

At AU Watch we recognize the matrix of reasons that keep Africa poor and the unenviable position of being the most corrupt continent. Let us dwell on the issue of corruption a bit more. We agree with Geraldine Bedell (2009) of The Guardian newspaper who wrote that “no amount of aid, debt relief or trade is going to make a difference until the problems of corruption are solved: “Corruption is problem number one, two and three on that continent.” If we agree that corruption is the most devastating scourge in the continent that has blighted every sector and trumping all other social challenges, how is it the case that we intend only to challenge this plague at the adult stage of our lives? Wouldn’t it make more sense if we tackle this menace at the start of life before we form ingrained and maybe irreversible habits and philosophies?

Traditional approaches of addressing social justice issues tend to focus on rules, compliance and enforcement. Regulations are passed and organizations are formed to root out graft, in the case of corruption. These efforts may provide part of the solution, but are often hamstrung or ineffective in places where opacity and patronage are ingrained, and where there is a gap between legal frameworks and everyday behaviours. To truly build systems and societies with integrity we need to rethink these approaches and close these gaps through reimagining education.

A Focus on the African Child and Youth

AU Watch is, therefore, of the view that social justice studies including anti-corruption studies, peace and even governance should form part of all school’s curriculum, beginning at nursery and primary school with a view to promoting public awareness, personal integrity, civic responsibility, understanding of human rights and duties to society and the State. It is our view that we need to use education to build integrity from the bottom-up, and that primary and secondary schools should be at the vanguard of a regional social justice charge, whilst expecting the cavalry support from our tertiary institutions at the later stages of a young adults’ life.

Question: What possible harm will come to Africa if we include, for example, anti-corruption studies into history, civics, religious studies, literature and language lessons? Primary and secondary schools not only have a role in advancing knowledge, but the teaching of ethics and morals, appropriate behaviour and African traditional values about living together, right from infancy might just be one of the keys to a successful fight against corruption.  

To quote a Holy Book that admonishes parents to teach and train their children from infancy about good citizenship:  “These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart, and you must inculcate them in your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. Another passage from that Holy Book underscores the importance of the early training of children: “and that from infancyyou have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation …”. Indeed, all the holy books, including the Koran and the Torah emphasizes the teaching of good morals and appropriate behaviour immediately after birth. 

As part of its contribution in fighting social injustices across Africa, we are developing curriculums and syllabuses on AU Studies, including courses in anti-corruption, peace Agenda 2063 for primary and secondary schools.  Achieving a just and open society demands a generational change, and students have to be the key constituents in this shift. This means that we have to teach and train Africa’s most important resource immediately after birth on anti-corruption, civic participation, open government and transparency. Why should it not be the case of organizing our schools to come together to support national and international networks of research and learning across Africa, in conjunction with governments, to ensure relevant lessons become the basis for shared action?

We have an exceptionally strong in-house research capacity and an extensive network of partner institutes throughout the world. We are also demonstrating our ability to anticipate trends and to analyse policy questions well before they become topics of general discussion. At AUW ISAU, researchers perform policy research on a wide range of policy areas: from Agenda 2063, AU policy institutions, development and human rights, good governance and anti-corruption, to the digital economy and free trade, as well as energy and climate, education and innovation, AU foreign policy and the African integration process and social justice. The main assets of AUW ISAUare listed as follows:

  • Complete independence to set its own research priorities and freedom from any outside influence;
  • Eminently qualified research team of more than 100 analysts drawn from the 55 AU Member States;
  • Membership in various research networks and institutional settings, comprising research institutes and non-for-profit organisations from all over Africa and beyond, to complement and consolidate AUW ISAUresearch expertise and to greatly extend its outreach;
  • An extensive membership base of some 120 Corporate Members and over 100 Institutional Members, which provide expertise and practical experience and act as a sounding board for AUW ISAUpolicy proposals.

The mission of the ISAU is to promote critical thinking and in-depth learning of real-life AU policy issues. We aim to equip the African youth with original insights and tools to better understand the African Union, including its Recs, and the Africa of tomorrow as encapsulated in Agenda 2063. Lectures, open discussions and interactive sessions with academics, practitioners and officials will stimulate interest in AU policy-making and encourage fresh thinking among the younger generation of Africans who will shape and lead Africa we all want into 2063.

As one of the few think tanks in Africa covering most AU policy areas, we offer exchanges, provide insights on and potential solutions for AU policy-making through:

  • Drawing up AU Studies curriculums and syllabuses
  • Writing and publishing academic books, workbooks and other materials on AU Studies
  • Research projects
  • Research publications
  • Task Forces
  • Regular events such as discussion forums, seminars, workshops
  • Our flagship event Ideas Lab

The Centre is a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence for international academic research, teaching and critical scholarship on the study and understanding of the AU. The Centre is a place that attracts world-class academics and outstanding scholars. The Centre is a place for academics, policy-makers and practitioners to engage with robust academic research that strengthens knowledge, analysis and understanding of contemporary AU issues, including social, economic and political issues related to human rights and development.

The Centre currently engages in research and designing curriculum related to citizenship education for primary and secondary schools’ in Africa.

It is also engaged in research related to corruption, democracy and governance, African unity, poverty, regional human rights law, critical approaches to international law, atrocities and suffering, human rights and non-state actors, development and human rights, cosmopolitanism and the politics of solidarity, and philosophies of violence. The Centre generates sharp, stimulating debates, advances research and intellectual agendas about human rights, African unity and Agenda 2063 and seeks to inform ethical and policy debates about the role of the African youth. The Centre gives space to human rights issues that are little-explored, that may be unconventional, experimental or challenging, and which arise from diverse disciplinary traditions. The Centre is committed to ethically-informed public engagement, including with human rights communities world-wide.

The Centre currently engages in research and designing curriculum related to citizenship education for primary and secondary schools’ in Africa.


The Centre also conducts two human rights and two development courses namely Certificate course in human rights and Diploma in human rights and certificate in development and diploma in development under the academic supervision of the Legacy University, The Gambia. At the university level, the Centre undertakes such activities as strengthening of existing HR teaching programmes, organizing guest lectures, awareness and training of trainer’s workshops, research and publications.


About our Distance Learning Programmes

Most of our programmes can only be accessed through Distance Learning. Distance Learning is conducted for people who are otherwise unable to access high quality education owing to educational, social, economic and geographical boundaries.


How you study

All of our certificate and diploma courses are designed for you to study by distance learning. You’ll usually receive a complete study pack and access to the world’s top academic journals via our Online Library.

Please search the programmes below to see if this is what you are looking for or if you are qualified.

Our independence

Our institutional independence is rooted in the individual independence of our scholars and researchers. As an organisation, ISAU is committed to:

  • carry out state-of-the-art policy research, addressing the challenges facing the AU and AUMS;
  • achieve high standards of academic excellence and maintain unqualified independence and impartiality;
  • provide a forum for discussion among all stakeholders in the African policy process;
  • build collaborative networks of researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders across the whole of Africa

For further information about our independence, kindly refer to our Integrity Statement.


The AUW ISAUBoard is composed of independent personalities with broad research and policy experience, representing their individual views only. The board provides the strategic direction of the organisation and supervises its independence, the work of the management team and the financial performance of the organisation. Click here to view all members of our Board.


A think tank needs the input of and the exchange with all stakeholders in the society – as well as their support. ISAU offers different kinds of membership and attracts small amounts of grants, e.g. from Central Banks. For more information, visit our membership section.


ISAU’s funding comes from a variety of sources, including corporate and institutional membership fees, research projects, foundation grants and conference fees. More information on our funding and financial basis can be found in our Annual Reports.



Dr Feyi Ogunade


  • Aisatou Jalloh Sie, Barrister and Solicitorwith an extensive and varied immigration, asylum and family law practice.
  • Justice Mohammed S Jalloh, Judge of the High Court of the Republic of The Gambia.


  • Catherine Liz Kutubu.


Dieu-Donne Weidi. Doctoral candidate at the University of Pretoria

The Centre is ideally situated to act as an educational and scholarly bridge, connecting the aspirations of the African human rights community and of human rights activists with the worlds of academia, of economics, politics and of business.

Certificate Programme

Equivalent to one-third of the requirements of a Bachelor’s degree. If you complete this successfully, you may be able to progress to the related Diploma programme with credit for the modules you have passed.

Diploma Programme

Equivalent to two-thirds of the requirements of a Bachelor’s degree. If you complete this successfully, you may be able to use this qualification to progress to other related Bachelor courses with credit for the modules you have passed.

The programmes are taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, participants should be proficient in English