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UGA to mark 25th anniversary of African studies with conference, cultural and family events


The university will mark the 25th anniversary of its African Studies Institute with two weeks of events beginning Nov. 1. The celebration will include an international conference, theatrical performances, film screenings, lectures and other events to showcase the richness and diversity of the continent.

“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,” said Akinloye Ojo, director of the African Studies Institute and associate professor of comparative literature and African studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The 25th anniversary celebration will include an international conference, “Africa and its Diaspora: Expressions of Indigenous and Local Knowledge,” Nov. 8-10 in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The conference also will bring several ambassadors from African nations—including Cote D’Ivoire, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe—together to discuss the African continent and the African diaspora on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in Masters Hall of the UGA Hotel and Conference Center. Renowned poet and scholar Tanure Ojaide, professor of Africana studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will deliver the keynote address on Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Russell Special Collections Building.

The anniversary celebration opens Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. with University Theatre’s The Darker Face of the Earth, a play by former Poet Laureate Rita Dove that examines the reality of slavery. The play, directed by Freda Scott Giles, an associate professor of theatre, continues its run through Nov. 11. Many other anniversary events also are part of UGA’s Spotlight on the Arts festival, to be held Nov. 3-11.

Additional 25th anniversary events, all of which are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted, include: 

• Africa Family Day will be held Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon at the State Botanical Garden and will include storytelling, dance and music plus special stations featuring African plants, instruments and snacks.

• Taste of Africa: African Cuisine will be held Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. in  Reception Hall of the Tate Student Center.

• Africa in Cinema will be held Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. in Room 150 of the Miller Learning Center with a screening of Has God Forsaken Africa? and discussions led by Karim Traore, associate professor of comparative literature and African studies, and Rachel Gabara, associate professor of Romance languages. 

• Live, Learn and Travel in Africa: Study Abroad Fair will be held in conjunction with the Office of International Education’s study abroad event Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Tate Student Center plaza. 

• “Peace Corps in Africa: 50 Years of Service” will be held Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. in Room 480 of the Tate Student Center.

• APERO Africana Lecture: “The Disproportionate Impact of Climate Change on the African-American Community” will be held Nov. 7 at noon in Room 407 of Memorial Hall and will be given by J. Marshall Shepherd, a professor of geography in Franklin College.

• “Artful Conversation: 7 Steps by Radcliffe Bailey” will be held Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Georgia Museum of Art galleries.

• The ASI Past Directors Forum will be held Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. in the Russell Building auditorium.  

• Johnstone Lecture:People and Plants: Aloes, Ecosystem Health, and Livelihoods in Kenya will be held Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Gardenside Room at the botanical garden and will be given by Elizabeth King, an assistant professor in the Odum School of Ecology and Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

• African Languages Cultural Awareness Event will be held Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. in Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center.