Article 1. The Pan African Anthropological Association (hereinafter called “the Association”) is an autonomous African-wide non-governmental, non-political and non-profit-making scientific organisation, established by a group of African anthropologists (hereinafter called “Founding Fathers”) to pursue the objectives set out in Section II below.

Article 2. The legal domicile of the Association is Yaounde, Cameroon

Article 3. The location of the secretariat of the Association shall be decided by the Association’s Governing Council and approved by the General Assembly

Article 4. a) The Association has the legal capacity to contract and to become a member of international institutions.

b) The Association covers the following disciplines: social anthropology, physical anthropology, ethnology and archaeology; linguistics and other related disciplines.


Article 5. The principal objectives of the Association are:

  • a) to promote and foster the growth of anthropological community in Africa by recognising, supporting and promoting excellence in research performed by African and Africanist anthropologists;
  • b) to promote and foster research and teaching of anthropology and its related subjects throughout the continent;
  • c) to promote contacts among African anthropologists and between them and the world anthropological community in order to facilitate regional integration and to contribute to the cause of global peace and security;
  • d) to facilitate, co-ordinate and undertake the publication and dissemination of anthropological achievements in Africa;
  • e) to foster interaction among teachers and researchers in the various disciplines of anthropology;
  • to ensure the application of anthropological sciences in the search for solutions to development problems of Africa;
  • to promote and facilitate the exchange of teachers and students among African teaching and research institutions;
  • h) to undertake other activities as the Association shall from time to time decide;


  • a) stimulate, design and co-ordinate regional interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, development and pilot projects or activities of major regional interest or concern;
  • b) foster the growth of national and regional associations;
  • c) encourage young talented anthropologists through recognition of their merit by promoting their creativity;
  • d) enter into relations with intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations in Africa in order to promote anthropological action-oriented research for development and the dissemination of scientific knowledge;
  • e) enter into and foster relations with the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences(IUAES),World Anthropological Union and its member organisations;
  • f) maintain relations with the United Nations and its agencies and with other international, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations as well as science academies and other scientific institutions throughout the world;
  • g) enter and maintain special relations with the African Union (AU) and collaborate with this pan African organisation in finding solutions to problems that require anthropological expertise;
  • h) participate, encourage and promote research that seeks solutions to African development problems;
  • i) identify anthropologists of outstanding talent in Africa who are capable of effectively advising on national and regional research and development policies and programmes;
  • j) establish a regular award scheme for recognition of outstanding achievement in anthropological research and development in Africa;
  • k) facilitate the exchange of teachers and researchers between departments of anthropology and research institutions.


Article 7. The membership of the Association shall consist of the following categories:

  • a) Founding Member;
  • b) Ordinary Member;
  • c) Foreign Member;
  • d) Associate Member;
  • e) Corporate Member
  • f) Honorary Member

Article 8. Founding members are those twelve anthropologists who participated in the 1988 ICAES in Zagreb, and all those who attended the inaugural conference in Yaounde, Cameroon in September 1989.

Article 9. Ordinary members shall be drawn from among qualified African anthropologists who are engaged in research, teaching, policy making, consultancy and other related activities.

Article 10. Foreign Members are drawn from among active Africanists who have made significant contributions to the development of the discipline and its application in Africa.

Article 11. Associate Members are drawn from African and Africanist graduate students of anthropology and other related disciplines.

Article 12. All institutions that promote the knowledge of African cultures and civilisations shall join the Association as corporate members.

Article 13. Honorary Members are elected from among persons of eminence who have made a significant contribution to the objectives of the Association and have contributed to African anthropology.

Article 14. Hereinafter, unless otherwise specified, the capitalised term “Member” shall refer without distinction to categories in articles 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.


Article 15. a) Members shall be admitted into the Association upon receipt of their application and shall become members upon payment of a registration fee.
b) A candidate for Honorary membership shall be nominated by a member, and shall be reviewed and elected directly by the Governing Council.

Article 16. A member may withdraw from the Association by signifying in writing to the President his/her wish to do so. A withdrawal shall be announced by the President without delay to the entire membership of the Association and recorded at the next meeting of the Governing Council.

Article 17. A member may be expelled from the Association by a decision of the General Assembly taken by a simple majority of those present, and voting upon a report by the Governing Council that he/she acted incompatibly with the objectives of the Association or to the detriment of the interests or reputation of the Association.

Article 18. A member who withdraws from the Association may be re-admitted while those who are expelled may not be re-admitted to the Association.


Article 19. The organs of the Association shall be:

  • a) The General Assembly;
  • b) The Governing Council;
  • c) The Executive Committee.
  • d) Research networks

Article 20. The General Assembly shall consist of all paid up members of the Association.

Article 21. The General Assembly is the highest authority of the Association to which both the Governing Council and the Executive Committee are responsible, and determines its general policy.

Article 22. The General Assembly has the following powers and obligations:

  • a) to approve the medium and long term priority programmes of the Association;
  • b) to examine and comment on the audited accounts and to discharge the Treasurer from liability;
  • c) fix the rates of annual dues to be paid by members;
  • d) to elect from among its members the officers of the Association;
  • e) to elect five regional representatives of the five sub-regions to the Governing Council;
  • f) to elect other members of the Governing Council;
  • g) to consider and approve amendments of the constitution and bye-laws of the Association;
  • h) to consider other matters as may be referred to it.

Article 23. An Ordinary session of the General Assembly is normally held every three years, at a place and date determined by the Governing Council.

Article 24. An Extraordinary session of the General Assembly shall be convened by the President (a) on the decision of the Governing Council or (b) at the request in writing of at least one-third of the entire body of members of the Association.

Article 25. At the General Assembly each paid-up member shall have one vote. In the event of a tie, the President shall have a casting vote.

Article 26. The quorum of the General Assembly shall be 25. If after one hour of the scheduled time of the meeting, a quorum has not been obtained, members present shall constitute themselves into a committee of the General Assembly and shall proceed with the business of the meeting. The minutes shall be ratified by a postal vote of members within three months.


Article 27. The Governing Council shall consist of the following:

  • a) The Officers of the Association;
  • b) Representatives of the five sub-regions elected for a term of three years.

Article 28. Each member of the Governing Council shall be elected for a term not exceeding three years, and shall be eligible for immediate re-election for a further term of three years. Any vacancy occurring in the middle of the term shall be filled in an interim capacity by the Council until the General Assembly immediately following. This interim period shall not be counted towards the elected term of office..

Article 29. The Governing Council shall have the following terms of reference:

  • a) to formulate and review the programmes of the Association within the framework and priorities set by the General Assembly, and to make budgetary provisions for their support;
  • b) to receive, examine and approve the annual report and audited accounts of the Association;
  • c) to appoint the auditor and fix his/her remuneration;
  • d) to appoint the Executive Director who will be the chief administrator of the Association on terms and conditions approved by the Governing Council;
  • e) to appoint Editors of the Association’s publications and to approve the terms and conditions of service;
  • f) to appoint committees for specific tasks and terms of office which shall report to the Governing Council through the Executive Committee;
  • g) to receive regular reports from the Executive Committee on the day-to-day operations of the Association;
  • h) to appoint a Nomination committee for the election of members of the Governing Council
  • i) to appoint representatives of the Association to organisations to which the Association adheres;
  • j) to establish and review bye-laws, if required, for the regulation of the affairs of the Association;
  • k) to prepare the agenda for the General Assembly;
  • l) to deal with matters referred to it by the General Assembly.

Article 30. The Governing Council shall meet at least once a year. The President of the Association shall preside; in his absence the Governing Council shall elect one of the Vice Presidents to act as chairperson.


Article 31. The Executive Committee shall consist of the following officers:

  • a) the President of the Association who shall preside at all meetings;
  • b) the President-elect, who shall replace the president once his term is over
  • c) Five Vice Presidents representing the five sub-regions;
  • d) Secretary General who shall keep records of meetings of the Governing Council and the Executive Committee;
  • e) The Treasurer who shall keep all the funds of the Association;

Article 32. The officers of the Association shall hold office for a term not exceeding three years, and they shall be immediately eligible for re-election. Any vacancy shall be filled by the Executive Committee and be ratified by the Governing Council at its next meeting.

Article 33. The Executive Committee shall have the following terms of reference:

  • a) to direct the affairs of the Association (programmes, finances, management, etc.) between sessions of the Governing Council;
  • to oversee the work of other committees appointed by the Governing Council;
  • c) to prepare the agenda of the Governing Council;
  • d) to make recommendations to the Governing Council on the appointment of the Executive Director and the Editors, and the terms and conditions of service;
  • e) to approve the appointment of the secretariat staff and their terms and conditions of service;
  • f) to propose to the Governing Council annual budgets for the implementation of programmes and for the secretariat expenses of the Association;
  • g) to co-ordinate fund-raising activities to support the budget;
  • h) to prepare annual reports;
  • i) to undertake other tasks assigned to it by the Governing Council.


Article 34. The officers of the Association shall be the following:

  • a) President;
  • b) Past President
  • c) President-elect;
  • d) Five Vice Presidents representing the five sub-regions;
  • e) Secretary General;
  • f) Assistant Secretary General
  • g) Treasurer;
  • h) Secretary for International Affairs;

Article 35. The President shall (a) be the chief executive of the Association; (b) convene and chair meetings of the Executive Committee, the Governing Council and the General Assembly. He shall represent the Association at international level ; c) on completion of his term, he shall become a member of the executive committee as past president for a term of three years.

Article 36. The President-elect shall (a) assist the president in the performance of his/her duties; (b) become President at the end of the next General Assembly.

Article 37. The Vice Presidents shall assist the President in his/her duties, especially in co-ordinating regional activities.

Article 38. The Secretary General shall be

  • (a) responsible to the Governing Council for all official correspondence of the Association and of the Governing Council except that which relates to finance.
  • (b) present reports on the Association’s activities at meetings of the Executive Committee, Governing Council and General Assembly;
  • c) generally oversee and supervise the Secretariat in consultation with the President;

Article 39. The Assistant Secretary General the President shall assist and in his absence sit in for him.

Article 40. The Treasurer shall

  • (a) be responsible for collecting all moneys due or payable to the Association. He/she shall keep accurate accounts of all such receipts and payments;
  • b) have authority to sell and transfer, invest and re-invest, any property of the Association with the approval of the Governing Council;
  • c) report annually to the Governing Council and, at such times as the Council may determine, on the accounts of the Association;
  • d) prepare and present annual financial reports and the audited accounts to the Governing Council and to the General Assembly.


Article 41. In accordance with article 29(h) ; a nomination committee of three persons shall conduct the elections of officers of the Association.

Article 42. All vacant positions shall be published or made known to the entire membership two months before the General Assembly.

Article 43. Candidates running for any office must indicate their intention in writing to the nomination committee. The committee shall publish two weeks before the general Assembly, the list of candidates running for different positions.

Article 44. Candidates running for any office must indicate their intention in writing to the nomination committee. The committee shall publish two weeks before the general Assembly, the list of candidates running for different positions.

Article 45. Voting may be conducted by mail provided the nomination committee can reasonably reach all members. Members can vote by proxy if they confer their voting rights to members attending the General Assembly at which elections shall be conducted.


Article 46. In order to promote research and professionalism within the discipline, research networks shall be constituted around the major specialisations. Each network shall be responsible for its internal organisation and shall elect its own officers and carry out its programmes. Each network shall also be registered with the Association and submit annual reports of its activities.

Article 47. Networks shall have the status of corporate members of the Association and as such shall pay corporate annual dues;

Article 48. Research networks may seek funds independently for their own programmes, provided such programmes have been approved by the General Assembly and the Governing Council of the Association.

Article 49. The following networks may be created: medical anthropology; population anthropology, gender issues in women anthropology, environmental anthropology; physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, social and applied anthropology. The creation of new networks other than these must obtain the approval of the General Assembly.


Article 50. The sources of funding of the Association shall include the following:

  • a) annual subscriptions of members as determined by the General Assembly;
  • b) net income from publications;
  • c) revenue from capital investment;
  • d) grants, subsidies, contracts, fees, donations and legacies accepted by the Governing Council on behalf of the Association;

Article 51. Funds derived from article 42(d) above shall be used in accordance with the agreements reached with the donors. Such funds may not be accepted if this could interfere with the objectives of the Association or its independence.

Article 52. The Association and bodies created by it, may not incur expenditure in excess of the approved funds at their disposal.

Article 53. The financial year of the Association shall be the calendar year.

Article 54. In the event of the dissolution of the Association, its assets shall be granted to one or more non-profit organisations whose objectives conform with those of the Association.


Article 55. The Governing Council shall appoint Auditors for the scrutiny of the Association’s accounts. Auditors shall not be members of the Association. Such audited accounts shall be published every year.


Article 56. No change may be made in the constitution except with the approval of the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority of votes cast by members present or by postal vote, at a meeting properly convened for the purpose.

Done in Yaounde on Thursday, 27th August, 1992

Signed by .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Professor Paul Nchoji Nkwi
President of the Association

(This constitution was adopted on August 27, 1992 by the General Assembly).