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Highlight BU African Studies Center

HIGHLIGHT: The BU African Studies Center reaches out to WARC to consolidate cooperation and collaborative initiatives

The Director of the Boston University African Studies Center, Professor Fallou Ngom, and the Center’s Assistant Director, Dr Eric Schmidt, visited the West African Research Center (WARC) on Tuesday, July 31st, for a highly promising meeting with the WARC Director and some of his collaborators.

BU delegation meeting with WARC Director and staff

BU delegation meeting with WARC Director and staff

The purpose of the visit was to explore ways and means to consolidate the already very productive collaboration between the two institutions. As Professor Fallou Ngom (BU) and Professor Sene (WARC) agreed, the collaborative effort which has been operating between the two centers so far has been grounded on mutual trust and confidence, accountability, professionalism and the same eagerness to serve the academic, research and student communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

The successes already recorded in the various joint efforts engaged in by WARC and the BU African Studies Center are encouraging enough to warrantee the consolidation of the achievements recorded so far and explore other avenues for collaboration and mutual support.

In this respect, the African Studies Center will offer opportunities for training and human resource development to WARC staff in a number of areas; WARC will also serve as the hub of a number of activities to be initiated by the African Studies Center such as Phd opportunities for mandinka speaking graduate students in the Gambia and Senegal. Also, at the end of the Ajami project, funds will be provided to equip WARC with a server to support the activities of the Center’s library.

Study abroad activities were also discussed at length and, with the extensive experience of WARC in that area, the BU African Studies Center will be soon launching a program based at the West African Research Center in Dakar.

BU African Studies Center Assistant Director handing donated books to Adama, WARC Chief Librarian

BU African Studies Center Assistant Director handing donated books to Adama, WARC Chief Librarian

It should be noted that the BU African Studies Center has been hosting for years the office of the WARC governing body, the West African Research Association (WARA) on the BU campus in Boston.

Highlight Colonel Diop

HIGHLIGHT: Book Launch: Alioune Diop: Gouvernance des Diversités: Enjeu de Prévention de Conflits en Afrique (L’Harmattan-Senegal, 2018)
The author, Alioune Diop, is a retired colonel of the Senegalese armed forces who, for a long time, served in various international organisations operating in the world for peace keeping and the prevention of conflicts. The book he wrote is a compendium of his experience in the field specially with his long-time involvement in peace keeping and crisis solving on the african continent.

Panelists including the author , Colonel Diop

Panelists including the author , Colonel Diop

For the occasion, a number of experts were lined up for the panel presided over by writer and former senegalese minister of culture Makhily Gassama.
Colonel Diop, who also participated in the WARC/RESOLVE international workshop on Developing the Next Research Agenda for the Study of Violent Extremism in North Africa and the Sahel (WARC, July 18-19, 2018), was praised for his penmanship but also for his insightful observations on the causes of crises and unrests on the continent and his perceptive analysis of diversities as assets rather than channels for the disruption of peace among communities.

A view of the audience

A view of the audience

The event was attended by 120 people including high ranking officers in the Senegalese army, officials from the diplomatic sector and many scholars and researchers interested in the subject.

Le Soleil – Jeudi 26 Juillet 2018- Page 17

Newspaper

Newspaper

 

Highlight Resolve Network workshop at WARC

HIGHLIGHT:  Resolve Network International Workshop: Charting Research Priorities: Developing the next Research Agenda for the Study of Violent Extremism in North Africa and the Sahel.
An international workshop on the above topic was hosted on July 18-19 at the West African Research Center (WARC) as the first illustration of a developing partnership between the Center and the Resolve Network of the United States Institute of Peace.
The meeting was attended by 31 participants from the United States, Nigeria, Tunisia, Chad, Cameroon, Mali , Lybia & Senegal to discuss research issues and strategies to better grasp the intricate nexus of violent extremism in North Africa and the Sahel.

The family picture.

The family picture.

Over those two days, participants shared their views on many research questions relating to violent extemism. Research methodologies, research challenges and priorities were discussed by the experts attending and it is hoped that the proceedings will be a major contribution to better understanding and better countering violent extremisism in the african regions targeted but also in the rest of the continent and the world.

The closing session

The closing session

The workshop was convened by the West African Research Center as the first step toward a more active and productive collaboration between the Dakar-based Center and the Resolve Network.

Highlight DIAS Conf 2018

HIGHLIGHT:  The 4th international conference of the Dakar Institute opens at WARC

For four years running, the Dakar Institute of African Studies (DIAS) mostly grouping young african faculty teaching in US and west african universities has been convening high-level international conferences on various topics and subjects relevant to current issues on the continent and in the area of the social sciences and the humanities.
This year’s topic focused on “Bridging the Gap: Black Studies Across Social, Geographic, Epistemic and Linguistic Lines“.

From left to right: Pr Ousmane Sène , WARC Director, Pr Ibrahima Thioub , Rector of UCAD & Pr Ibra Sène, DIAS President

From left to right: Pr Ousmane Sène , WARC Director, Pr Ibrahima Thioub , Rector of UCAD & Pr Ibra Sène, DIAS President

The annual event was attended this year by no less than 60 young scholars hailing from various countries and regions including Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, the Caribbean and the USA.

A View of the audience

A View of the audience

WARC and University Cheikh Anta Diop have been offering their premises to host the event and, this year, the opening ceremony took place in the WARC DAART Conference room and was presided over by the Rector of UCAD, Professor Ibrahima Thioub and the Director of WARC, Professor Ousmane Sene.

Highlight Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah

HIGHLIGHT:  Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah visits WARC

On June 10-16, 2018, the daughter of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana and champion of Panafricanism and the integration of the continent, Mrs Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, visited Senegal on the invitation of the Dakar-based Provisional International Initiative Committee (PIIC) in charge of reviving the noble ideal and objective of federalist panafricanism as propounded by early precursors such as Marcus Garvey, Nkrumah, DuBois and Cheikh Anta Diop.

Samia speaking at the meeting at WARC

Samia speaking at the meeting at WARC

So far, the Committee has established 45 country-committees and projects to travel to Accra (Ghana) in December 2018 for a gathering meant to commemorate the first panafrican conference held in 1958 by Nkrumah himself.

Samia flanked by members of the International Initiative Committee

Samia flanked by members of the International Initiative Committee

In preparation for that major meeting in December in the ghanaian capital, Mrs Samia Nkrumah visited Dakar to meet the Committee and also other senegalese dignitaries including the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of Senegal. She also visited WARC for a related event (public lecture) while she was in Dakar.

HIGHLIGHT Salam festival 2018

HIGHLIGHT:  Salaam Festival in Dakar and an Institute for the Study of Religions at UCAD

For four years now, the Salam Festival initiated by the senegalese pop musician and star Youssou Ndour and his media group Groupe Futurs Medias (GFM), has been a regular feature of the Ramadan month in Dakar, the senegalese capital particularly. On the occasion, great artists from Senegal and other countries (such as Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, Mauritania) and specializing in moslem religious music and melodies are invited to commune with senegalese moslems during the holy month of Ramadan. For this year’s edition, the guest of honor was Turkey and the senegalese public had the great opportunity to marvel at the feat of the whirling dervishes.

Artist Youssou Ndour & the Senegalese Minister of Culture, Dr Latif Coulibaly at the podium

Artist Youssou Ndour & the Senegalese Minister of Culture, Dr Latif Coulibaly at the podium

After the very first editions, the initiator of the festival, Youssou Ndour himself, expressed the wish and need to give the festival a more significant academic dimension with a colloquium or symposium to be integrated in the agenda. Such was the case in last’s year edition. For 2018, a group of scholars from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and their colleagues from University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar met at WARC over two days to map out the future Institute for the Study of Religions to be established on the campus of UCAD. They had a two-day seminar at the West African Research Center (WARC) to work on the project. They highly acclaimed the contribution of WARC to the success of their meeting and positively appreciated the role of the Center in the advancement of learning, research and academic excellence in Senegal, West Africa and the rest of the continent as well as its position as an intellectual bridge connecting the two sides of the Atlantic.

HIGHLIGHT AHP ACLS conference Ghana

HIGHLIGHT: African Humanities Program(AHP) Consultative Regional Assembly in Ghana

Accra,Ghana, International Students’ Guest Center (ISGC) May 31 – June 02, 2018

After the AAA/ASA meeting in Johannesburg (25-28 May 2018) the Director of the West African Research Center (WARC) flew to Accra, Ghana, to attend the Consultative Regional Meeting of the African Humanities Program (AHP). AHP is a program of fellowships under the umbrella of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) which has been collaborating with WARC since October 2008. AHP conf0005The Program offers fellowships to Phd and post-doctoral students and faculty in an attempt to strengthen human resources and capabilities in the area of the social sciences in Africa. The Program offers those fellowships only in a number of anglophone countries including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe. Although no francophone african country is served by AHP, WARC was chosen as a host institution receiving every year 2 to 4 AHP fellows who take advantage of the resources and amenities offered by WARC to engage in the writing of their Phd dissertations or any other papers for conferences and publication.

Participants visiting an AHP fellow guesthouse in Accra

Participants visiting an AHP fellow guesthouse in Accra

The meeting was a great opportunity for the WARC Director to interact with fellows planning to come to Dakar for lengths of staying varying between a few weeks to two months. While in Accra, the Director took several initiatives to make WARC better known and more visible and particularly insisted on the fact that anglophone researchers should not fear the language barrier in Senegal as many faculty, scholars, researchers and resource persons in Senegal are fairly fluent in english and that almost all the staff of WARC are bilingual.
Several participants confirmed their option to choose WARC as their host institution.

HIGHLIGHT: AAA/ASA Conference in Jo’burg

HIGHLIGHT:   AAA/ASA Conference in South Africa: Africa in the World
Johannesburg, June 25-28, 2018

Over four days, the Rosebank Crowne Plaza Hotel in Johannesburg drew a large crowd of participants to the conference co-organized by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the African Studies Association (ASA) on May 25-28 and titled: African in the World: Shifting Boundaries and Knowledge Production.
The various panels explored many issues relating to Africa and the production of knowledge, in the past, the present and the future, and also examined the state of higher learning and research institutions in the continent. Insightful and thought-provoking ideas were discussed during the various sessions and the rightful role and position of Africa in the future development of knowledge and learning were forcefully emphasized but also strongly documented.

On Friday June 25, from 7pm to 8pm, participants attended the 9th annual 2018 Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture held at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria and featuring distinguished african scholars in the social sciences and the south african past president Thabo Mbeki himself. The lecture was a warm tribute to African Women.

The reception for the conference took place on Saturday May 26 at the Wits Origins Center of the University of the Witwatersrand. Exhibits on the origins of Man, the south african rock art etc….were visited by participants.Africa in the world

The closing session on Sunday May 27 involved distinguished personalities and speakers including President Mbeki, Professors Mahmood Mamdani, Adebayo Olukoshi, Muna Ndulo, Toyin Falola, Rachel Makamunana and was moderated by conference co-chair Professor Carolyn Rouse.

The Director of the West African Research Center (WARC) was invited to attend as a panel chair but also in recognition of the trail blazer role played by the Center since the first AAA/ASA conference in the continent was held in Dakar in 2016 and WARC was one of the local organizers. Its contribution to the success of the 2016 edition was widely recognized by AAA and ASA then but also warmly reiterated and lauded in Johannesburg.

HIGHLIGHT A New Conference Room at WARC

Over the last years, the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar has developed into one of the most regularly visited sites for many study abroad programs coming to Senegal and West Africa each year, and more particularly during the summer.
Having enough space to host all those programs became a serious concern for the Center and steps were taken to erect another conference/class room structure. Thanks to its unrestricted funds but also a careful analysis of all the incomes WARC could quickly make with the use of the dedicated space, the one-room building was erected with a minimum capacity of 30 people.

WARC Director & Pr Eileen Julien, first WARC Director

WARC Director & Pr Eileen Julien, first WARC Director

The new conference room was officially opened on Tuesday May 8, 2018 by the WARA President and former Director of WARC, Professor Wendy Wilson-Fall, who was on sabbatical in Dakar. A few days later the room was also visited by another former Director of the West African Research Center, Professor Eileen Julien. During her visit in Dakar, the WARA operations manager, Caroline Johnson, also noted that the addition would help the Center cater to the growing number of requests for partnership from various higher learning and research institutions in the US, Senegal and other parts of the world.

WARA President opening the door to the new room featured by WARC staff

WARA President opening the door to the new room featured by WARC staff

Meanwhile, the WARC Director visited Duke University (North Carolina) to attend a conference on Academic Networking in Sub-Saharan and North Africa (April 27-28, 2018). While on Duke campus, he registered several requests for WARC to host study abroad programs and workshops related to the theme of the conference. The same interest for collaboration with WARC was also expressed by other institutions in the area including the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

It should also be noted that WARC is presently an OFF site for the Dakar Biennale des Arts.
Based on the above the WARC website obviously need to be updated to reflect all these activities (including wolof and other language teaching currently conducted by the West African Research Center.

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Highlight Pr Bathily

HIGHLIGHT

WARC Public Lectures Series: Prof Abdoulaye Bathily: L’Afrique, un Continent Convoité, face aux Défis de ses Choix Unitaires

After Abdoulaye Bathily, the retired professor emeritus from the Department of History, University Cheikh Anta Diop, but also the veteran political leader and goverment senior minister in several Senegalese cabinets and lately an excellent but unfortunate contender for the African Union Commissioner’s seat, was introduced, he engaged in a historical survey of the position of Africa in the world.

Center stage: Pr Abdoulaye Bathily

Center stage: Pr Abdoulaye Bathily

In the 9th and 10th century, travelers in the Arab empire built by Islam had a saying according to which “anybody going to Africa was assured to be forever cured from the disease called poverty”. Earlier on, in the 3rd century, Chinese and Persian geographers alike had already sketched the map of Africa.
The covetous curiosity of world powers for Africa and its untapped wealth goes back to times almost immemorial in human history, according to the historian Bathily. In modern history and as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, the Amerindian genocide led european powers to engage in the black slave trade and later in 1884-1885, the Berlin Conference carved Africa like a Christmas cake to be shared by the guests of the German Chancellor of the day, Otto Von Bismarck.

Starting from 2000, the first year of the 21st century, interest in Africa for developing countries has been rekindled at a time when the continent has already been further weakened by structural adjustment policies and raw material export-oriented economies. It is also to be noted that the continent is a 32 billion dollar worth marked for food products particularly imported from Europe, China etc…..

A view of the audience

A view of the audience

Meanwhile, the strategic partnerships entered by african countries with developing nations do not make room for the national private sectors in an economic context in which the various african states are weak.
Thus, the need for continental unity as advocated by the first Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah, at the inauguration of the Organisation of African Unity in Addis. On the occasion, Nkrumah gave a memorable speech crowned with the statement “Africa Must Unite!”.

Curently, the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, has been mandated by his african peers, to review the operations and policies of the African Union as an continental organization and come up with strategic recommendations to speed up the process of african integration. It is to be hoped that there will be a very strong political will from african leaders and a determined commitment from the african people to push and lay the ground for a united Africa for Africa.

The lecture which took place at the West African Research Center (WARC) was also co-organized by the Provisional International Initiative Committee for African Unity (Senegal branch) and gathered no less than 55 people.