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HIGHLIGHT: Opening Ceremony of the Museum of Black Civilizations

Before the official opening on Thursday, December 6th, 2018, a number of events were organized over the last two years for the pre-figuration and configuration of the Museum of Black Civilizations recently erected in Dakar.

The West African Research Center (WARC) contributed to those events by teaming up with the staff of the Museum and helping identify resource persons to be involved in the process, chiefly from museums and other institutions in the United States.

The Museum was officlally inaugurated on Thursday December 6th by the President of Senegal and the event took place in the premises of the structure and at the neigboring Grand Theatre which, for the occasion, was full to capacity.

The various speakers of the day, including the President himself and the Vice Chancellor of University Cheikh Anta Diop, Professor Ibrahima Thioub, while reminding the audience that the idea of such a museum dated back to the first days of independence with President L.S. Senghor,  insisted on the fact that the Museum was created to promote and vindicate the active presence of Africa and the black man in world history while stressing the necessary interactions with other continents and other human groups in the past, the present and the future.

The opening was followed, on Saturday December 8th, by an inaugural colloquium on the topic “Reclaiming Black Civilizations. Finishing the Decolonization Process”. Many specialists from the United States, Europe and the African continent attended and made insightful contributions to the colloquium.


HIGHLIGHT: Book Presentation and Dedication

Macky Sall: Le Sénégal au Coeur (Editions Cherche-Midi, Novembre 2018)

The West African Research Center was recognized and honored when its Director was called upon for a critical reading and presentation of the book recently published by the President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall, who, according to his words, need to engage in a one-to-one conversation with the senegalese people and the rest of the world to better represent his personality and the content of his character to them. The essay is titled: Le Senegal au Coeur (Senegal in my heart and soul).

In the book, as the Director of WARC noted on Tuesday, December 11th at the Terrou Bi hotel, the venue of the event, the author appears in three postures: the political leader (less conspicuous), the head of state (challenging himself about his mission and also the burden of power and responsibility) but, most importantly, the private person as a father, a husband and a citizen (closer and rather likeable).

As agreed with organizers, the Director of WARC did not discuss debatable political issues (the essay does not include many of those) but dwelt, rather on those aspects reflecting the personality of the President as a private person and as a family man and member and underscored some moving chapters in the essay: when Macky Sall, in his “long march”, (after being sacked as Prime Minister and subsequently as President (Speaker) of the National Assembly), engaged in long and trying peregrinations to the four corners of deep Senegal to experience challenging circumstances under which senegalese people (specially rural populations) lived in their hamlets and villages with no electricity, no running water and far away health care units.

The Director of WARC also elaborated on the narrative style of the essay: simple sentences, ordinary vocabulary, hardly any circumvoluted phrases and expressions. Just a conversational style to engage in a dialogue with readers.

The presentation was completed by the other two panelists who explored and analyzed political issues and such as reflected in the essay.

The event was attended by no less than 600 people including diplomats, high-level officials of the senegalese government, political leaders and reporters.


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: 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 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:  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

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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.