Decolonisation initiatives at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium: ready for change?

Clara Affun-Adegbulu, Theo Cosaert, Marie Meudec, Joris Michielsen, Remco van de Pas, Sara Van Belle, Willem Van De Put, Werner Soors, Fiona Robertson, Charles Ddungu

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In a global context, the pernicious effects of colonialism and coloniality are increasingly being recognised in many sectors. As a result, calls to reverse colonial aphasia and amnesia, and decolonise, are getting stronger. This raises a number of questions, particularly for entities that acted as agents of (previous) colonising countries and worked to further the progress of the colonial project: What does decolonisation mean for such historically colonial entities? How can they confront their (forgotten) arsonist past while addressing their current role in maintaining coloniality, at home and abroad? Given the embeddedness of many such entities in current global (power) structures of coloniality, do these entities really want change, and if so, how can such entities redefine their future to ensure that they are and remain 'decolonised'? We attempt to answer these questions, by reflecting on our efforts to think through and start the process of decolonisation at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, Belgium. The overarching aim is to contribute to closing the gap in the literature when it comes to documenting practical efforts at decolonisation, particularly in contexts similar to ITM and to share our experience and engage with others who are undertaking or planning to undertake similar initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011748
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number5
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Belgium
  • Colonialism
  • Humans
  • Tropical Medicine


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