OUISO Presentation

OUISO Presentation

The Western Sahara International Academic Observatory (OUISO) aims to produce and to exchange knowledge about the historical, social, economic and political dynamics of the region of the Western Sahara in order to understand the context for the Sahrawi diaspora.

This observatory seeks to sustain the lively exchanges that were generated amongst the researchers, students, journalists, human rights activists and NGO representatives (based in the Saharawi refugees camps of Tindouf as well as in the territories under Moroccan occupation) who attended the international conference held in the Sorbonne University from June 2-3 2016. We consider it necessary to create a platform aimed at supporting the exchange of scientific information over the Western Sahara, bringing together all university students interested in this issue at an international level.

This observatory is administratively located in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Sorbonne University, but it is composed of a large international group of associated members. Its objective is to respond to the need for rigorous analysis and information about the Western Sahara, supporting and promoting research on different subjects (governance, human rights, migration flows, history and memory, cultural and communication transformations, cultural heritage, political dynamics, activisms, etc.).

All the aims

Research Activities

  • Carry out and create and/or support research projects focuse on contemporary issues that demand new knowledge.
  • Establish and form a network of Saharawi observers on the ground (profile: students holding a university or Masters degree in SHS), with the capacity to conduct SHS research and produce qualitative and / or quantitative data about the Western Sahara and the Saharawi diaspora
  • Encourage meetings between researchers/students from different universities: organize workshops on key issues (such as social, economic and cultural rights) and offer cross-disciplinary exchanges.

Training Activities

  • To favor student research projects on the Western Sahara: for example, BY identifying the topics of their assignments or Masters projects.
  • Provide methodological support to Saharawi students at SHS in order to consolidate their research skills.
  • Encourage methodological and bibliographic exchanges between Saharawi and non-Saharawi students
  • Facilitate access to the SHS curriculum of Saharawi students abroad
  • Facilitate the publication of scholarly works on Western Sahara: sharing working papers online based on work carried out by researchers and students following the evaluation of the scientific committee (revisions)
  • Promote researchers’ latest publications
  • Provide mutual assistance for the re-reading and translation of works in different languages
  • Encourage contact within a network of interested students with the aim of promoting this academic issue
  • Create a database of researchers and students working or having worked on the Western Sahara
  • Create bridges between the Saharawi academic community and the international academic world
  • Facilitate exchanges between different linguistic communities (French-speaking, Spanish-speaking and English-speaking researchers, in particular)
  • Archiving academic documents on the Western Sahara that are available electronically: classified thematically and through authors’ names.
  • Gathering and providing access for final master’s and thesis projects on the Western Sahara and the Saharawi population, following validation by O.U.I.S.O researchers.
  • Updating a bibliography / filmography / thematic website
  • Establishing a special fund on the Western Sahara in the the Faculty of SHS of the Sorbonne University’s library.
  • Informational exchange within an academic space: Organize (frequency to be defined) a summer / winter seminar between student and researchers, both Sahrawi and non-Sahrawi – Support panels and seminars on the Western Sahara – Organize an international seminar every 4 years.
  • Provide a specialization service aimed at the media, civil society and political institutions: Constituting a panel of experts capable of communicating and potentially responding to external demands for information – These experts will be identified by their peers according to their domains of expertised and language skills.
  • Informing the general public: Lectures on topical issues/Producing and sharing videos online in which researchers offer their analysis on key issues.


An International Scientific Committee

  • Missions: scientific sponsorship, timely consultation on the quality of various publications, international dissemination of the Observatory

A Steering Committee

  • Missions: website animation, fundraising, training support, communication, management and administration.

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