The University of Georgia is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its African Studies Institute. The two-week celebration being held in the first half of November will include an international conference, theater performances, film screenings, lectures, and other campus events focused on Africa.
The conference, entitled “Africa and Its Diaspora: Expressions of Indigenous and Local Knowledge,” will bring diplomatic ambassadors from the African nations of Lesotho, Cote’ D’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mozambique, Senegal, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania to campus. The keynote address will be delivered by Tanure Ojaide, professor of Africana studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The celebration will also include Africa Family Day on November 3 and a culinary fair entitled “Taste of Africa.”
The Africa Studies Institute, founded in 1987, now has 60 affiliated faculty members from nearly every school and college at the University of Georgia. The institute offers a minor degree program in African studies and supports the African language and literatures program which is housed in the department of comparative literature.
Akinloye Ojo, director of the institute and associate professor of comparative literature, stated, “The political, economic and cultural importance of Africa continues to grow, which makes this an especially opportune time for faculty, staff and students as well as community members to learn more about the continent and its people.”
In discussing the impact the institute has had on the university and its students, Professor Ojo said, “Our programming has provided the realization, especially through study abroad, that Africa provides one of the best venues to study the impact that interactions between humans and nature, particularly with regard to urbanization, deforestation, soil erosion, climate change and wildlife conservation, amongst other things, are having on the continent.”