Vision & Mission

While the economic and geopolitical importance of Africa continues to grow, understandings of Africa and African experiences continue to be marginalized, exoticized and discounted. As an internationally recognized and respected organization and a distinguished Department of Education National Resource Center, the Harvard Center for African Studies has the power to influence perspectives on Africa and bridge the knowledge divide between Africans and non-Africans. Our vision is a world where authentic understandings of Africa, African experiences and African perspectives are commonplace.

The Harvard University Center for African Studies is a globally recognized, interdisciplinary body at Harvard University committed to broadening knowledge about Africa and African perspectives.


Deepening knowledge and understanding of Africa through global connections and communities of learning.


CAS is an interdisciplinary, university-wide center that broadens knowledge about Africa and brings African perspectives to bear on the scholarship of the Harvard community and beyond.

Our Logo

The Harvard Center for African Studies shield is a symbol representing the central space where Harvard and Africa meet.

The Harvard shield umbrella’s two large segments, converging together to form the “wisdom knot” West African symbol. This knot represents wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence, and patience (the African name is Nyansapo), which compliments the CAS vision of being the knowledge collecting center of African perspectives and study of the continent.

The four segment colors within the wisdom knot, taken from the Harvard accent color palette, are seen in many African countries' flags and symbols that represent both culture and landscape:

  • Blue: Omnipotence of the blue sky and God’s presence.
  • Green: Renewal, growth, opportunity, and sustainable futures.
  • Red: Interconnections, passion, and courage for cause.
  • Yellow: Mineral wealth, fertility, and serenity.