What is JHIA?

An institute geared to preserving memory and promoting historical knowledge, the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) started in 2010 as an idea of the Jesuit General, Adolfo Nicholás, S.J., to encourage the study of his Order's largely unexplored involvement in the evangelization of Africa. Further deliberations pointed to the need for such a study to be carried out within a broader social, political, cultural and religious context. The JHIA's vision was thus expanded to that of offering a cost-effective environment for ground-breaking research on the religious histories, cultures and traditions of the people of Africa and Madagascar.

Jesuit round-table meeting about the JHIA project, August 2011

The JHIA is home to a growing collection of books and manuscripts that go far beyond what is exclusively Jesuit to include records and publications from other missionary societies, literature on Christianity in general and on other religions of Africa (including Islam), and a vast array of Africana material that covers centuries of histories, politics, cultures and traditions of Africa and its adjacent islands (see the Nature of JHIA Collection). The entire collection is built from donations from institutions,  families and individuals  who have come to value the JHIA's vision and have therefore supported it's mission by depositing their material at the institute gratuitously or by purchasing new books for its library. The JHIA undertakes to preserve such donations professionally and to make them available to researchers freely. The JHIA also supports research and publication on historical themes of topical interest to Africa.

Building on its six-year gains, the JHIA is now looking to the future with a holy boldness. The institute is currently executing short-term (2017-2021) and long-term (2017-2026) strategic plans drawn to ensure that the JHIA achieves its optimum potential for schoarship in Africa. Designed to strengthern current operations and prepare the institute to occupy permanent premises that are envisaged under the long-term plan, the short-term goals pursue those activities that ground the JHIA vision, create more visibility, and build strong partnerships. The long-term goals are designed to bring the vision of the JHIA to full maturation and to make the institute self-sustaining for at least a hundred years. The long term goals are being pursued through the construction of permanent premises, the establishment of a JHIA Endowment Fund, and the installation of a print-on-demand facility. (See more under Projects and Appeals).