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Reflections on the Power of Knowledge 2022

Thirty students sponsored by the Kenniscentrum Global Health joined the Power of Knowledge event on 1 September 2022. They were all asked to share their reflections on the event; of which five were chosen and published.


Creating equitable partnerships

The main goal of the event was to examine how the North-South paradigm shapes the flow of knowledge adversely and how we can effectively move away from an imbalanced structure towards a more equitable one by creating equitable partnerships.

As Julia Addison, one of the five students whose blog was chosen writes in her reflection “In working to become part of the solution, rather than the problem, we must recognise that the means towards knowledge production are as important as the end results. Ethical and equitable knowledge production and dissemination must go beyond the current standards of informed consent and doing no harm.”

Sparking new ways of thinking

We also hoped to spark new ways of thinking. In response to our keynote speaker Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg one of the students Bo-Shan-go writes that “The conversation that took place that day thanks to her and many others (from all corners of the world – the PoK event made outstanding use of today’s technological wonders) opened up my eyes and ears on what equity means when it comes to the exchange of knowledge between the Global North and South.”

And, Nora Elena Nauman writes, “[E]xponential growth prevents the majority of humans and our planet from thriving. I support Dr Zuleika Bibi Sheik [another Keynote speaker] in saying that we all must reframe success into a state of creating social value rather than measuring performance. In one of my master’s courses, we discussed that the poorest of the world still own a fortune”.

Colonialism and decolonising knowledge

Since the event was held at the KIT’s historic building, discussions around colonialism and decolonising knowledge were abound. And in her blog Anna-Lena Hasselder brings this up too, “In the West, we tend to believe we know best. But the mere idea, that I, as a person with knowledge have the power to save less fortunate beings, is in itself colonial. History and narratives repeat themselves over time. The Global South does not need to be saved by white people. It did not need saving back then, and it does not need saving right now.”

The participants also took a honest look at their role in the system, as Juliana Lima Constantino writes in her reflection, “But who is the system? Well, I am the system. In my clinical practice, I could stop perpetuating colonial practices that lead to these huge gender inequalities in health that infuriate me so much. Coming to this realization was incredibly uncomfortable and off putting, and I had learned to avoid the uncomfortable for so long. It was not easy for me to get familiar and accept the uncomfortable and all the pain that comes with it. But I had to learn, because you can’t unsee all these things after you saw it for the first time. So, I made peace with the uncomfortable – and from it, growth came. The Power of Knowledge event was an exercise in this sense, I was uncomfortable so many times – and that is wonderful!”