International African Institute

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The International African Institute (IAI) was founded (as the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures [IIALC]) in 1926 in London for the study of African languages. Frederick Lugard was the first chairman (1926 to his death in 1945); Diedrich Hermann Westermann (1926 to 1939) and Maurice Delafosse (1926) were the initial co-directors.[1]

Since 1928, the IAI has published a quarterly journal, Africa.

The IAI's mission is "to promote the education of the public in the study of Africa and its languages and cultures". Its operations includes seminars, journals, monographs, edited volumes and stimulating scholarship within Africa.


The archives of the International African Institute are held at the Archives Division of the Library of the London School of Economics. An online catalogue of these papers is available.


Africa alphabet[edit]

In 1928, the IAI (then IIALC) published an "Africa Alphabet" to facilitate standardization of Latin-based writing systems for African languages.

Prize for African language literature, 1929-50[edit]

From April 1929 to 1950, the IAI offered prizes for works of literature in African languages.[2]


  1. ^ Ludwig, Frieder; Adogame, Afe; Ulrich Berner; Christoph Bochinger (2004). European traditions in the study of religion in Africa. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 9. ISBN 3447050020. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Sow, Alfa I., and Mohamed H. Abdulaziz, "Language and Social Change," Ch. 18 in Ali A. Mazrui (ed.) Africa Since 1935 (UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. 8). University of California Press, 1993. Pp. 526-7.

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