Africa Academy of Management
Building Bridges to Africa

Professor Jim Walsh was elected as the 65th president of the Academy of Management in 2006, making him only the second Michigan faculty member to lead the Academy. Walsh took stock of the approximately 16,000 members who lived in more than 100 countries at the time and noted that very few of them resided on the continent of Africa. Knowing that Africa, the cradle of civilization, is home to over a billion people and more than 1,000 universities, and that the continent was poised for enormous population and economic growth, he wanted to bridge the gap and reach out to the teacher-scholars on the continent. Fully aware of the terrible history of colonization, he decided to simply create space for colleagues in Africa to meet their colleagues from the rest of the world. The first step in the process was working with others to co-found the African Academy of Management. His work culminated in a 2013 AOM Africa Conference in South Africa, in which approximately 300 colleagues from all over the world came together to share and imagine new research and teaching ideas in Johannesburg. Since that time, the Africa Academy of Management has hosted a number of faculty development workshops, launched the Africa Journal of Management, and held conferences across the continent. In short, Africa-centered scholarship has burgeoned.