Highlight: Black History Month 2018

Black History Month 2018 at WARC: Wrap Up
The four events featured for the celebration of Black History Month in February 2018 at the West African Research Center (WARC) were very well attended with a total of 189 filling up the conference room which hosted the events.
The screening of the film Selma registered a full house and ignited very insightful questions and comments from the audience. The second event on The African American Community and the American Dream made the day for students at UCAD specializing in American literature and culture.

From left to right: Pr Ousmane Sène, WARC Director & Pr Wendy Wilson Fall, Lafayette College

From left to right: Pr Ousmane Sène, WARC Director & Pr Wendy Wilson Fall, Lafayette College

The President of WARA, Professor Wendy Wilson-Fall, currently on sabbatical in Senegal, also carried the day with a brilliant and thought-provoking talk on US African Immigrants and Contested Black Identities: 21st Century Questions. Wendy’s seminal and challenging ideas on identity were much appreciated and discussed at length with the audience.
Finally, the last topic on La Casamance: Entre Repli Identitaire et Integration Nationale drew more people than the room could actually contain and some of the attendees literally sat on the ground. A good reason to encourage the Center to initiate such gatherings for useful and fruitful exchange of ideas.

Sud Quotidien  Jeudi 1er Mars 2018 Page 9

Sud Quotidien
Jeudi 1er Mars 2018
Page 9

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HIGHLIGHT: Le Cheikh des Deux Rives

HIGHLIGHT:  Book Launch: Le Cheikh des Deux Rives: Actes du Colloque International sur le Centenaire du Rappel a Dieu de Cheikhna Cheikh Saad Bouh (1917-2017)

(Presses Universitaires de Dakar, Sénégal, 2017)


In 2007, the great grandson of Cheikhna Cheikh Saad Bouh, Cherif Mouhamdoul Mamoune Haidara, along with his muslim followers, decided to commemorate the centennial of his great grandfather in 2017.


The panel featuring from left to right: Pr Ibrahima Lo (Ministry of Culture), Cherif Haidara, Rector Thioub & Pr Sène , WARC

On December 23rd, 2016, the West African Research Center (WARC) hosted the first meeting of the steering committee. On March 23-24, 2017, the Colloquium was held at University Cheikh Anta Diop with the participation of scholars and academic from african, european and american universities and on December 23rd, 2017 the loop was looped with the decision of Cherif Haidara to launch the book resulting from the proceedings of the colloquium at WARC where, according to him, everything started and, on a good foot.


A view of the audience

The various presentations consigned in the bood focus on Cheikh Saad Bouh’s contribution to the dissemination of Islam on the two banks of the Senegal River, on his fine diplomatic skills in negotiating peace and peaceful neighbourliness with the colonial forces in these parts of West Africa and his staunch opposition to the military and coercive dimension of jihaad. This is amply illustrated with his famous epistle to Ma El Ainin (his own brother) titled Nasiihaa in which he strongly and unreservedly cautioned him against the use of any armed force for the cause of Islam, among others with his celebrated phrase: “Those who take up arms steer away from virtue” (the word virtue to be understood in its etymological meanings of fortitude, courage and manhood) .

The book launch ceremony presided over by Rector Ibrahima Thioub, Cherif Mouhamadoul Haidara and the Director of WARC was attended by 91 people.
Following the panel, a documentary on the colloquium was shown and can be accessed at https://youtu.be/p1BYUvXzWRA

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Highlight Help Save the Children

HIGHLIGHT :  Celebrating five years of “Help the Street Children” activities

In 2014-2015, with funding from the Youth Action Network and Unesco-Dakar, the West African Research Center (WARC) launched the JETS project (Jeunesse, Entreprise et Transformation Sociale) to help young senegalese with potential for leadership and entrepreneurship initiate sustainable and grassroots-based activities. Among the recipients of the awards made available by the JETS project was a young man by the name of Edouard Waly Ndiaye who is also the founder and

A view of the audience

A view of the audience

president of the Help the Street Children Association established on December 27, 2012 and officially recognized as a youth organization engaging in actions and activities meant to preserve the good health and good nutrition status of street children, to provide schooling and vocational training to street children and koranic school kids and to chart out ways and means to facilitate the social reintegration of such children.

The Help the Street Children association convened at WARC on Wednesday, December 27 to celebrate its five years of activities, an event which was attended by over 50 people including officials from donors such as the US Embassy in Dakar.

.Flyer made by the association (with WARC among sponsors)

.Flyer made by the association (with WARC among sponsors)

It should also be noted that WARC made its premises available to the Association free of charge to support initiatives from young west africans in Senegal and other countries. Among many youth associations, WARC is now known and recognized as an institution always ready and prepared to lend a helping hand by making its office and meeting space available to them on a pro bono basis.

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Highlight Aminata Diaw Cissé

HIGHLIGHT:  COSEF, UCAD and WARC pay tribute to the late Professor Aminata Diaw Cisse

In April 2017, Aminata Diaw-Cissé, an activist, feminist, distinguished member of the Senegalese civil society, eminent don in the department of philosophy, University Cheikh Anta Diop and friend and invaluable resource person for the West African Research Center, passed away and was sorely lamented by academic and intellectual circles in Senegal, Africa and the rest of the world.DSC_0238

That is why on Wednesday December 20th , the premises of the West African Research Center(WARC) were crowded by members of the Conseil Sénégalais des Femmes (Senegalese Women’s Council or COSEF), colleagues from University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) to pay a warm tribute to Aminata whose name and intellectual achievements and contributions will be permanently associated to efforts for the advancement of women’s rights, democracy and good governance in Senegal and Africa.

A view of the panel

A view of the panel

Aminata Diaw-Cissé was closely associated with WARC and was a very competent and articulate resource person always available for researchers, students and academics affiliated to the Center. Over 145 people attended the event
May Her Soul Rest in Peace.

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Highlight Leigh Swigart

HIGHLIGHT:  Public Lecture by Dr Leigh Swigart, Brandeis University: Global Court, Local Languages: How the International Criminal Court Pursues Multilingual Justice
Dr. Leigh Swigart of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Brandeis University, on November 30, 2017 in the afternoon at the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar, offered an insightful talk on efforts made by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure that “languages of lesser diffusion” can play an effective role in its proceedings. The speaker, a former Director of WARC, is currently conducting an ethnographic research project on how the ICC addresses challenges raised by

Dr Leigh Swigart , Brandeis University

Dr Leigh Swigart , Brandeis University

multilingualism, especially those associated with African languages. In her remarks, Dr. Swigart described how the ICC is bound to respect the rights of accused persons, including their right to communicate in a language they understand and speak well. The Court has generally extended this right to witnesses and victims in its efforts to bring accountability and justice to countries affected by war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other crimes under its jurisdiction.
In their various contributions, members of the audience pointed out the fact that the Court’s use of languages of lesser diffusion was a great opportunity for the promotion of African languages and their role in international fora. They also commended Dr. Swigart and the ICC for the visibility offered to African languages and efforts made to ensure fair trials for all.

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Le Samedi 18 Novembre dans la soirée à l’hôtel Marriott Downtown de Chicago où se tenait la conférence annuelle de l’African Studies Association (ASA), le nom de Fallou Ngom a été prononcé à haute voix par le représentant du Jury chargé de désigner, chaque année, les récipiendaires du prestigieux prix Melville J.Herskovits.
Cette distinction qui est attribuée chaque année dans le cadre de la conférence Asa, la plus grande rencontre d’africanistes venus du monde entier, existe depuis 1965 pour reconnaître les meilleures publications dans les études africaines. De grands noms d’africanistes ont déjà été distingués par ce prix: Lansine Kaba (1975), Crawford Young (1977), Paulin Hountoundji (1984), V.Y. Mudimbe (1989), Kwame Anthony Appiah (2004), Simon Gikandi(2012), pour ne citer que ceux-là.

Le professeur Fallou Ngom figure parmi les récipiendaires triés sur le volet pour cette année en reconnaissance son excellente œuvre intitulée Muslims Beyond the Arab World: The Odyssey of Ajami and the Muridiyya – Oxford University Press, 2016(Des Musulmans hors du Monde Arabe: l’Odyssée de l’Ajami et de la Muriddiyya).

L’Ajami, communément appellé Wolofal au Sénégal, est ce procédé par lequel les Africains utilisaient et utilisent toujours les caractères de l’alphabet arabe pour transcrire des textes ou envoyer des messages écrits dans leurs propres langues (wolof, manding pulaar etc…). Tout le monde connait, au Sénégal, les célèbres textes de Serigne Moussa Ka ou de Khaly Madiakhaté Kala.

Après sa maîtrise brillamment soutenue à l’Université Gaston Berger en 1996, le jeune Fallou Ngom embarque pour les Etats Unis pour rejoindre l’Université du Montana et ensuite l’Université de l’Illinois à Urbana-Champaign où il soutiendra en 2002, et avec autant de brio, sa thèse unique(Phd) sur la problématique des emprunts lexicaux comme variables linguistiques à Saint Louis, Sénégal.
Ce natif de Ziguinchor, par la suite, entamera sa carrière universitaire dans l’état de Washington avant de se retrouver depuis quelques années maintenant comme Professeur et Directeur du Centre des Etudes Africaines à l’Université de Boston(Boston University).
La thèse favorite du Professeur Fallou Ngom est que l’écriture et l’art de l’écrit se sont installés en Afrique, et en Afrique de l’Ouest en particulier, bien avant la période

coloniale et l’adoption des langues européennes. En effet, l’alphabet arabe a judicieusement été adapté pour transcrire nos langues et engager les Africains dans des échanges épistolaires et autres dans nos propres modes d’expression. L’Ajami donc (Wolofal au Sénégal) a permis d’écrire des lettres, créer des poèmes, rédiger des pages d’histoire dans les langues africaines. D’ailleurs, le Professeur Fallou Ngom aime à raconter sa première expérience avec l’Ajami: après l’enterrement de son père, il a commencé à mettre en ordre ses affaires. Et là, il tombe sur un bout de papier avec une petite note en wolofal. C’était une reconnaissance de dette que le fils, Fallou, a pu honorer immédiatement pour assurer à son papa un repos paisible et tranquille dans l’au-delà.
Chez Fallou Ngom, la reconnaissance et la valorisation de l’Ajami sont un sacerdoce auquel il a littéralement fait don de sa vie comme le Baay Faal qu’il est.

Cette reconnaissance internationale de sa contribution majeure à l’avancement des connaissances sur l’Afrique est un rappel à tous les chercheurs quant à la nécessité de consacrer les efforts à la réécriture et à la revalorisation de tout ce que l’Afrique a créé et produit pour l’avancement de l’humanité, tant dans le passé que dans le présent.

Le parcours déjà fort riche du jeune Professeur Fallou Ngom a commence, ne l’oublions pas, à l’Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis. Sa distinction amplement méritée ce 19 Novembre à Chicago, et partagée avec une grande fierté nationale par tous les enseignants et chercheurs sénégalais qui étaient dans la salle, est aussi sans doute une validation du projet ambitieux du Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche du Sénégal d’implanter des institutions d’enseignement supérieur dans toutes les régions du Sénégal et de capter une part substantielle du budget national pour l’éclosion et l’épanouissement de la recherche et de l’enseignement universitaire dans le pays.

Ousmane SENE,
Directeur du WARC

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HIGHLIGHT Symposium Women’s Leadership in Senegal


Symposium: Women’s Leadership in Senegal: Historical Survey, Current Trends and Perspectives (A Tribute to Professor Aminata Diaw-Cissé)



The above event was held today Thursday, October 24 in the main conference room of the West African Research Center (WARC) and spearheaded by a civil society organization called “Le Mouvement Citoyen”.
The keynote lecture was presented by Professor Penda Mbow (founder of the Mouvement Citoyen) and currently senior advisor in the Senegalese President’s office. Professor Penda Mbow is a distinguished historian at University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) and, as such, she gave a full survey of women’s leadership in this country going back to the Signares in Saint Louis and Goree Island (during the colonial period) to more recent achievements of senegalese women leaders in the political sphere more specifically.

The late Pr Aminata Diaw Cissé

The late Pr Aminata Diaw Cissé

The symposium was also dedicated to late professor Aminata Diaw-Cissé who passed away a few months ago and who was a fine intellect, a prominent don in the department of philosophy, University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) and a major player in the administration of the Dakar-based Codesria (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa).
Other distinguished women intellectuals such as sociologist Fatou Sow-Diagne, the former director of the UCAD information and communication school (Cesti), Professor Eugenie Aw-Ndiaye and other prominent women figures in politics, the civil society etc….attended the event and made seminal contributions. Professor Eugenie Aw contributed a moving tribute to Professor Aminata Diaw-Cissé, which is attached hereunder.
No less than sixty (60) people attended the symposium which wrapped up around 2pm with a lunch in the WARC gardens.




A tribute to Pr Aminata Diaw Cissé written by Pr Eugénie Aw


J’ai titubé quand j’ai reçu la nouvelle de ton départ

Et puis j’ai demandé de quelle Aminata et j’ai titubé, j’ai frappé contre le mur.

Pourquoi le mot gentilhomme en français ne peut-il être transposé  en gentille dame

Pourquoi dit-on de toi que tu étais « un maître » et ne peut-on affirmer que tu étais «  une maîtresse » ?

En pensant à toi, les larmes aux yeux et ne voulant être consolée comme le dit le cri de la bible, je chante en même temps, je célèbre la vie pleine et entière que tu as incarnée, que tu incarnes à travers nous.

Philosophe, philosophe de la vie avais-tu décidé d’Etre car politique dans le sens le plus noble, dans le sens premier du terme : tu cherchais où se nicherait la démocratie, dans la violence contre les femmes, tu voyais une construction sociale comme une injonction de regarder notre société et comment chacun d’entre nous en était le fruit et était agent de sa propre libération et donc du changement politique ; tu interrogeais les logiques identitaires, celles qui inventant leur propre logique nourries de frustrations, de sentiment d’exclusion  sont devenues assassines

Aminata philosophe était un moment des Lumières.

Féministe sans voir à l’affirmer, encore que de temps en temps, face à la bêtise de ceux qui se croient intelligents tu envoyais dans le plexus une phrase-coup de poing qui réduisait les petits malins au silence. Les valeurs d’équité et d’égalité, justice et droits, qui devraient s’attacher aux femmes.

Philosophe, féministe, toute en finesse dans tes travaux, dans tes interventions, en plénitude, tu rendais naturelles le résultat de recherches qui étaient en fait ardues.

Sans tapage car tu étais en toi-même, plus qu’élégante, gracieuse tu voulais que le beau peuple, emplisse ta vie, le beau et donc le bien, le bon et le vrai.

Tu as donc aussi touché à la culture y compris dans un milieu universitaire, aujourd’hui tellement réfractaires à l’imaginaire du fait d’une instruction et d’une éducation parfois déficientes.

Aminata, nous t’offrirons des mélanges pour marquer ta présence avec nous, parmi nous, en nous. Nous célèbrerons, à cette occasion, ton œuvre, ta pensée, nous témoignerons d’ici et de partout pour que ton Souffle passe, et avec puissance.

Tu es vivante Aminata car en écoutant les Amérindiens, tu as ajouté de la Beauté au monde



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Highlight “Beyond Tombouctou”

HIGHLIGHT: Book Launch and Public Lecture: Prof Ousmane Oumar Kane
Au-delà de Tombouctou   Erudition Islamique et Histoire Intellectuelle en Afrique Occidentale   (CERDIS/CODESRIA, Dakar, 2017)
Ousmane Oumar Kane is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School and a specialist of Near Eastern Languages and Civilisations at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Every other year, he leads the Harvard University Study Tour in Senegal in collaboration with the West African Research Center (WARC).
The wrapping up of this year’s Harvard study tour at WARC was made to coincide with the launch of the French version of his book initially published in English with the title: Beyond Timbuktu: an Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa (Harvard University Press 2016)

The event took place on Wednesday August 16 at the West African Research Center and the various speakers including the author himself and other fine intellects and academics such as Professor Boubacar Barry, Dr Ebrima Sall (Codesria) and author Cheikh Hamidou Kane, amply demonstrated and elaborated on the fact that, prior to the colonial era, West African Muslim intellectuals have shaped the production, dissemination and content of Islamic knowledge in relation to the socio-political contexts in which they lived. They also documented the continuation of this trend in today’s West Africa.

All speakers agreed to the importance of this publication viewed as a major contributionSans titre-1 to erudition on, and knowledge of, the history of West Africa and the indigenous initiatives and efforts made to propagate the Islamic creed in this part of the continent.Sans titre-2

The book launch was attended by 130 people including students, researchers, academics, media people and established scholars of Islam in Senegal and West Africa.

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HIGHLIGHT: Dr Victoria Rovine


Dr Victoria Rovine, Art History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: “Africa, Fashion Design and Colonial History: The Surprising Power of Clothing”

An Associate Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Dr Victoria Rovine made this presentation at the West African Research Center on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, from 3pm to 4:30pm. The session was moderated by a young Senegalese woman filmmaker and design specialist, Mrs Fatou Kande Senghor.

From left to right: Fatou Kandé Senghor and Dr Rovine

From left to right: Fatou Kandé Senghor and Dr Rovine

The ironic but extremely inspiring high watermark of the event was that Fatou Kande has been working on style and design and integrating various components in her films and also her teachings based on the many articles and the books written by Professor Rovine she has been reading over all these years and the two of them discovered the hidden and unknown connection while sitting and exchanging during and after the presentation.
Dr Rovine’s presentation and research publications generated a high level of interest among attendees because of the importance of dress, dressing and clothes in West Africa in general, and in Senegal in particular but also because of the colonial origins of a number of materials (wax, fancy) regularly used by Senegalese and other west african women and so expertly acclimatized here to the point of passing as local production.

A partial view of the audience

A partial view of the audience

The presentation was followed by lively and insightful exchanges between the UNC Chapel Hill faculty member and the audience.

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HIGHLIGHT : Chef Pierre Thiam Senegalese and West African Cuisine

Chef Pierre Thiam

Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl

On Wednesday June 7th, the WARC videoconference room hosted a lively presentation on Senegalese and West African cuisine and on efforts to valorize and further market local produce, cereals, vegetables and fruits. The gathering was jointly organized by the Dakar Women’s Group (professional women expatriates or diplomats’ spouses) and the West African Research Center (WARC).


The speaker of the day was Chef Pierre Thiam. Chef Thiam, who is known around the world as the ambassador of West African cuisine, headed up the 2017 Tastes of West Africa Culinary Institute that took place in Senegal in February.  His restaurant, Nok at Alara, in Lagos continues to receive rave reviews.IMG_5427

The session opened with questions from Professor Barbara Syrrakos, of City College of New York. Presently on sabbatical in Senegal and also a member of the Dakar Women’s Group. In his answers, Chef Thiam retold the story of his leaving Senegal in the mid-seventies to go and try his luck in US higher education institutions. He ended up working in a restaurant as a waiter, became fascinated by cooking and the art of the cook, and ended up becoming a chef. Chef Thiam spoke eloquently about Senegalese cuisine and the need to preserve traditional recipes, which are particularly healthy. He also insisted on the re-introduction and valorization of local produces, vegetables, fruits and roots for their nutritional quality and richness but also as an effort to keep people healthy.


The session was attended by a very eager public who raised many interesting questions expertly fielded by Chef Thiam.

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