Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden Ethnosystems and Development Programme (LEAD)

History

In 1987, Dr. D. Mike Warren en Dr. L. Jan Slikkerveer established the LEAD Programme during the Inaugural Lecture Series of the CIKARD-LEAD Global Network on Indigenous Knowledge Systems at CIKARD of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, USA.

While CIKARD supported the new IK-Centers in South America and West-Africa, LEAD co-founded KENRIK in Nairobi, Kenya, INRIK in Bandung, Indonesia and ELLRIK in Rethymnon, Crete, Greece. Later, CIRAN joined the Global Network with the support of NUFFIC in The Hague, The Netherlands. Following the Newsletter, the Global IKS&D Network published from 1992-1995 with CIRAN the ‘Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor’, encompassing 6.000 members and 35 IK-related Centres from around the globe.

LEAD, under the directorship of Prof.Dr. L. J. Slikkerveer, then took up the support for the Kenyan Resource Centre of Indigenous Knowledge (KENRIK) together with Prof. Dr. R.E. Leakey of the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi; the Indonesian Resource Centre of Indigenous Knowledge (INRIK), together with Prof. Dr. K. Adimihardja of Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia; and the Ellas Resource Centre of Indigenous Knowledge (ELLRIK), together with Prof. Dr. C. Lionis of the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greece. In 1995, LEAD and CIKARD jointly established the Monograph Series on Indigenous Knowledge Systems & Development at the Intermediate Technology Publications in London, UK, today known as Practical Action Publications in Rugby, UK.

Since its establishment, LEAD was involved in many research projects in applied ethno-science, conducted in East Africa, Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean Region, in particular in the field of ethnomedicine & public health, palaeo-ethnobotany, ethno-agriculture and development, and ethno-economy and development.

With the appointment of Prof. Dr. L.J. Slikkerveer in 1998 on the Martha Tilaar Chair on Ethnobotanical Knowledge Systems in Developing Countries at the Leiden University Branch of the National Herbarium of The Netherlands, the LEAD Programme got the opportunity to further extend its activities in the multidisciplinary field of ethnoscience, particularly with regard to the study of indigenous knowledge of MAC plants in various settings in Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean Region.

Meanwhile, LEAD became in 1990 the Project Coordinator of the Palaeo-ethnobotanical Research Project on ‘Origins and Development of Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge Systems in East Africa, executed in Gogo Falls in cooperation with Prof.Dr. R.E. Leakey of the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) in Nairobi, Kenya. The Project was sponsored by Philips Medical Systems. The significant research findings including the discovery of the first manifestation of a progenitor of domesticated food plants, used in Sub-Saharan Africa during the Neolithic Era, Elusine indica spp., which later evolved into a major indigenous staple food of sorghum in the research area, rendered the LEAD Programme the official recognition and seal of UNESCO as an important research activity of the Decade for Culture and Development, celebrated in the Knight’ Hall of the Binnenhof in The Hague.