History

The West African Research Center (WARC) is an asset to West Africa and those who seek to find out more about it.  Since its inception in 1992, WARC has grown both in terms of staff and influence as it continues to connect researchers in the USA with researchers in the region of West Africa interested in common issues.

In 1993, the center opened in Dakar under the direction of Dr. Eileen Julien and with the assistance of the Association de Recherche Ouest Africaine (AROA).  She was succeeded by the following directors: Dr. Leigh Swigart (1995-1997), Dr. Robert Mortimer (Jan-Jul 1998), Fiona Mclaughin (Jan-Jul 1999) and Wendy Wilson-Fall (1999-2004).  In 1997, WARC moved to its current location in Fann-Residence, a important area for cultural and political life in Dakar and the larger region.

Since 2004, Dr. Ousmane Sene has been the Center’s director.  In addition to leading the center, he is a Professor of African and African-American Literature at Cheikh Anta Diop University.  He also coordinates various student exchange programs with U.S. institutions such as Mount Holyoke College, Wells College, Michigan State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the Minnesota Studies for International Development (MSID) program.  These and other student exchange programs are coordinated at WARC.

WARC has grown tremendously since it began as a loose association of U.S. and West African scholars in Dakar.  In addition to promoting West African research and academic exchange, the Center also hosts conferences, symposia, public lectures and other events focused on economic and political issues affecting the region.  Through collaboration and exchange, WARC has become a dynamic center of academic, political, social, religious and cultural life in West Africa.