Monthly Archives: June 2018

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.