Archaeologist Dr. Makarius Itambu secures prestigious MOPGA 2023 Visiting Fellowship

Thu, 14.Dec.2023 10.04

By Wilson Remmy, CMU

In a groundbreaking achievement, Dr. Makarius Itambu, a senior lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the College of Humanities (CoHU), University of Dar es Salaam, has secured the coveted Make Our Planet Great Again (MOPGA) 2023 one-year Visiting Fellowship in France

The esteemed fellowship, generously funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, is hosted at the prestigious Center for National Scientific Research (CNRS) in Marseille, France. MOPGA is an initiative launched in June 2017 by the French government, aiming to attract international researchers, students, and entrepreneurs to France to work on climate-related projects.

Dr. Itambu's recognition follows his outstanding research proposal titled "Pilot study of rock-shelter sites in the Singida region of Central Tanzania: Insights on environmental and Later Stone Age communities' transition to agropastoralism over the last 6,000 years”.

The ambitious project, conducted in collaboration with the renowned CEREGE European Center for Research and Teaching in Environmental Geosciences and Aix-Marseille University, aims to provide crucial insights into the environmental and socio-cultural transitions in Singida region.

According to the information on the offer, what makes this achievement particularly noteworthy is that Dr. Itambu is the first Tanzanian scholar to receive this fellowship since its inception by the French President in 2018, marking a historic moment both for him and UDSM. The fellowship allows Dr. Itambu to focus on his research project without other obligations from September 2023 to September 2024.

The information further states that, to enrich Dr. Itambu's experience during the fellowship, he is encouraged to engage with the France Alumni and MOPGA community, fostering a collaborative environment for his career and the broader UDSM community.

Valuable insights

Sylvie Brulatout-Conway, Deputy Director of External and Institutional Relations at Campus France, expressed how delighted they were to host Dr. Itambu and extended their warmest congratulations to him on securing such a prestigious fellowship.

“His research project promises valuable insights into the environmental and socio-cultural transitions in the Singida region over a span of 6,000 years. We look forward to witnessing the impact of his work on the scientific community”, said Brulatout-Conway.

Dr. Elinaza Mjema, Head of the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, College of Humanities, emphasised the significance of this fellowship in advancing academic pursuits and fostering international collaboration.

"His project aligns with our commitment to advancing geological and environmental sciences. We eagerly anticipate the outcomes of his study. UDSM believes in the power of international collaborations to drive scientific progress, and Itambu's work aligns perfectly with our Vision 2061”, said Dr. Mjema.

Meanwhile, Dr. Itambu acknowledged MOPGA for selecting him to this valuable academic opportunity and thanked the University of Dar es Salaam for the unwavering support bestowed upon him.

"As a researcher from Africa, I am excited to represent my country Tanzania and the continent in this prestigious fellowship programme. This is a testament to the growing recognition of UDSM researchers on the global stage," he remarked.