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.
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.