Longman Publishes Memory and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda

By pdquella
August 10th, 2017 in Center News.

Timothy Longman, Associate Professor of International Relations and Political Science and Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, recently published Memory and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda (Cambridge University Press, July 2017). Bringing 25 years of research in Rwanda to the table, Longman focuses on the current Rwandan government’s social engineering project and how the population has responded while broadly analyzing the government’s social policies.


Tanzania Education Corp Seeks Program Coordinator

By pdquella
May 12th, 2017 in Center News.


Tanzania Education Corp is seeking a Program Coordinator to live in Karatu, Tanzania

and work at Tumaini Schools. We are seeking a new staff member to join our team on the ground and work in close collaboration with the existing Program Coordinator sharing all key responsibilities as described below.

Tanzania Education Corp (TEC) supports high-quality education in Tanzania through partnership with locally-run schools. This support is both financial and programmatic — through initiatives such as student sponsorship, cross-cultural learning opportunities, international volunteer programs, library development, computer science classes, professional development and more. TEC was established to support Tumaini Junior School (TJS) which was founded by a Tanzanian couple, Modest and Lightness Bayo, in their own home. From these humble beginnings with only 17students, TJS is now the top school in the district and in the top 0.7% of all primary schools in the nation. In order to address the need for a high-quality secondary education for TJS graduates, TEC and Tumaini Schools founded Tumaini Senior Secondary School (TSSS) in 2016 and has implemented innovative programs there such as computer programming and project based learning classes. TEC continues to work with the all-East African staff at Tumaini Schools to ensure that all 1,000 students currently enrolled receive the highest quality education possible.

The Program Coordinator is responsible for managing all on-the-ground projects being implemented by TEC at Tumaini Schools across all three of its campuses. The role encompasses a wide range of duties spanning from our sponsorship program, communications and marketing strategies, social media, volunteer coordination, and M&E efforts. The role requires communicating with many people of diverse ages, roles, and backgrounds including students, teachers, administration, volunteers, international school groups, and visitors.

Boston African Diaspora Roundtable, April 27

By pdquella
April 19th, 2017 in Center News.

Read a review of the event held April 27, cosponsored by Boston University’s African Studies Center, Harvard Medical School’s Global Health Catalyst and Constituency for Africa here.

NEW: Land Mortgage Working Group’s Collaborative Research Report

By pdquella
March 24th, 2017 in Center News.

Front Cover LM Report


Boston University African Studies Center’s Land Mortgage Working Group introduces a collaborative research report “Mortgage across Cultures: Land, Finance, and Epistemology,” edited by Daivi Rodima-Taylor and Parker Shipton. The Working Group studies the novel potentials and challenges that surround land mortgage, aiming to achieve a human-centered view of expanding rural financialization.


Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century

By Alix L Saba
January 17th, 2017 in Center News.

Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century
The US-sponsored plot to kill Patrice Lumumba, the hero of Congolese independence, took place 50 years ago today

Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja
Originally published by The Guardian, Monday 17 January 2011

Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was assassinated 50 years ago today, on 17 January, 1961. This heinous crime was a culmination of two inter-related assassination plots by American and Belgian governments, which used Congolese accomplices and a Belgian execution squad to carry out the deed.
Ludo De Witte, the Belgian author of the best book on this crime, qualifies it as “the most important assassination of the 20th century”. The assassination’s historical importance lies in a multitude of factors, the most pertinent being the global context in which it took place, its impact on Congolese politics since then and Lumumba’s overall legacy as a nationalist leader.
For 126 years, the US and Belgium have played key roles in shaping Congo’s destiny. In April 1884, seven months before the Berlin Congress, the US became the first country in the world to recognise the claims of King Leopold II of the Belgians to the territories of the Congo Basin.
When the atrocities related to brutal economic exploitation in Leopold’s Congo Free State resulted in millions of fatalities, the US joined other world powers to force Belgium to take over the country as a regular colony. And it was during the colonial period that the US acquired a strategic stake in the enormous natural wealth of the Congo, following its use of the uranium from Congolese mines to manufacture the first atomic weapons, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.
With the outbreak of the cold war, it was inevitable that the US and its western allies would not be prepared to let Africans have effective control over strategic raw materials, lest these fall in the hands of their enemies in the Soviet camp. It is in this regard that Patrice Lumumba’s determination to achieve genuine independence and to have full control over Congo’s resources in order to utilise them to improve the living conditions of our people was perceived as a threat to western interests. To fight him, the US and Belgium used all the tools and resources at their disposal, including the United Nations secretariat, under Dag Hammarskjöld and Ralph Bunche, to buy the support of Lumumba’s Congolese rivals , and hired killers.
In Congo, Lumumba’s assassination is rightly viewed as the country’s original sin. Coming less than seven months after independence (on 30 June, 1960), it was a stumbling block to the ideals of national unity, economic independence and pan-African solidarity that Lumumba had championed, as well as a shattering blow to the hopes of millions of Congolese for freedom and material prosperity.
The assassination took place at a time when the country had fallen under four separate governments: the central government in Kinshasa (then Léopoldville); a rival central government by Lumumba’s followers in Kisangani (then Stanleyville); and the secessionist regimes in the mineral-rich provinces of Katanga and South Kasai. Since Lumumba’s physical elimination had removed what the west saw as the major threat to their interests in the Congo, internationally-led efforts were undertaken to restore the authority of the moderate and pro-western regime in Kinshasa over the entire country. These resulted in ending the Lumumbist regime in Kisangani in August 1961, the secession of South Kasai in September 1962, and the Katanga secession in January 1963.
No sooner did this unification process end than a radical social movement for a “second independence” arose to challenge the neocolonial state and its pro-western leadership. This mass movement of peasants, workers, the urban unemployed, students and lower civil servants found an eager leadership among Lumumba’s lieutenants, most of whom had regrouped to establish a National Liberation Council (CNL) in October 1963 in Brazzaville, across the Congo river from Kinshasa. The strengths and weaknesses of this movement may serve as a way of gauging the overall legacy of Patrice Lumumba for Congo and Africa as a whole.
The most positive aspect of this legacy was manifest in the selfless devotion of Pierre Mulele to radical change for purposes of meeting the deepest aspirations of the Congolese people for democracy and social progress. On the other hand, the CNL leadership, which included Christophe Gbenye and Laurent-Désiré Kabila, was more interested in power and its attendant privileges than in the people’s welfare. This is Lumumbism in words rather than in deeds. As president three decades later, Laurent Kabila did little to move from words to deeds.
More importantly, the greatest legacy that Lumumba left for Congo is the ideal of national unity. Recently, a Congolese radio station asked me whether the independence of South Sudan should be a matter of concern with respect to national unity in the Congo. I responded that since Patrice Lumumba has died for Congo’s unity, our people will remain utterly steadfast in their defence of our national unity.
• Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is professor of African and Afro-American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History

Philip Rotz: “Sweetness and Fever? Sugar Production, Aedes aegypti, and Dengue Fever in Natal, South Africa, 1926–1927”

By Tatiana
December 15th, 2016 in Center News.

BU Graduate student, Philip D. Rotz, wrote an article titled “Sweetness and Fever? Sugar Production, Aedes aegypti, and Dengue Fever in Natal, South Africa, 1926–1927” which was the winner of The Southern African Historical Society’s student essay prize in 2015. It was more recently published in the Special Conference Issue of the South African Historical Journal (Vol. 68, issue 3).

You can access this article through the link below:

Graduate student, Lilly Havstad, publishes article addressing racial and class dimensions in the colonial capital of Mozambique

By Tatiana
December 15th, 2016 in Center News.

Lilly Havstad recently wrote an article titled “Multiracial Women and the African Press in Post-World War II Lourenço Marques, Mozambique” which has been published in the Special Conference Issue of the South African Historical Journal (Vol. 68, issue 3) available online and in print. Lilly is currently studying history and recently went abroad to the South African History Association conference. Based on original research of the biweekly publication of the women’s pages in Lourenço Marques’ only ‘African’ newspaper, O Brado Africano, her article addresses racial and class dimensions of urban ideals of feminine modernity in the colonial capital of Mozambique.

The article was pre-published online in September, and is available here:

Forging Meaningful Connections: Diaspora Studies Initiative Holds Workshop On Networking And Fundraising

By pdquella
December 13th, 2016 in Center News.

Networking and fundraising issues were discussed at the BU African Studies Center on December 7, 2016.  The Diaspora Studies Initiative (DSI) of the BU ASC held a workshop “Networking, Fundraising and Philanthropy:  How to Build Meaningful Relationships for You and Your Organization” that was attended by members of the BU community and DSI diaspora partners.  The presenter, Dr. Martin Russell (DiasporaMatters, Ireland), is a scholar and speaker with global expertise on networking and fundraising strategies.  The workshop was introduced by the Consul General of Ireland, Ms. Fionnuala Quinlan, who highlighted the importance of seeking creative and innovative solutions for facilitating connections in the current era of growing global mobility.  Participants were also welcomed by Associate Vice President for Development of Boston University Stephen Witkowski, Director of the ASC Prof. Timothy Longman, and Dr. Daivi Rodima-Taylor of the DSI, the organizer of the workshop.

048The discussions explored the skills and ideas for building and managing professional networks, developing meaningful relationships, and using networking skills for effective fundraising. “I met interesting people engaged in community building and fundraising, and I learned a lot in the process,” said Elizabeth Amrien, Assistant Director of the BU Center for the Study of Europe. “I appreciated very much the discussion of networking as a skill and the introduction to the concept of ‘smart power.’”  “The international, inter-ethnic, and interracial composition of the group, the choice of speakers, and the openly collaborative content and tone of the conversations were definite assets to this innovative workshop,” remarked Prof. Parker Shipton of BU ASC and Anthropology.

The event provided an opportunity for DSI diaspora partners from several nations of Africa and Europe to share their experience in building connections and mobilizing resources. “The workshop was an excellent introduction to networking and fundraising for diaspora organizations with very practical and useful advice and tools which any organization can use to enhance its fundraising,” said Mark Kosmo, Chair of the Massachusetts Albanian American Society. He added that the event was attended by a cross-section of diverse diaspora and migrant organizations and provided useful insights to learn from the experience of others.

There is a growing global recognition that diaspora can be an important agent in development of both the countries of origin as well as destination. “The concept of diaspora is about self-identification and intentionality – the intentionality to forge and maintain certain types of connectedness,” said Rodima-Taylor.  “The growing interest in the subject of diaspora is fascinating,” remarked Dalitso D. Mwanza, President of the Zambian Association of New England. “This engaging workshop helped me understand the essential networking and fundraising skills that are vital to community development.” Similar opinions were voiced by other local African diaspora leaders.  “The African Union considers the African diaspora to be the 6th region of the continent. When it comes to remittances, tourism promotion, education and economic development, the diaspora matters,” said  Voury Ignegongba, President of Africans in Boston. “We were very much delighted to be part of the interactive workshop on diaspora and community building that took place today at Boston University. As we continue setting up a regional and national platform for Africans in the diaspora, we are encouraged and reminded of the importance of our work.”

Workshop participants also discussed the meaning of belonging to the diaspora, and the commitments and expectations entailed in that concept.  Dr. Dhimitri Skende stated that Albanians have a long history of migration and have retained some type of connection or sense of affiliation with their country of origin. In recent years, however, the diaspora-homeland relationship has shifted, partly in connection with the ‘new wave’ of Albanian migrants of the 1990s post-socialist transition. Skende suggested that to understand the new realities, more discussions, research and engagement is needed to examine the myriad ways in which the country impacts, and is impacted by the diaspora.  Reflecting on the history and integration of the Albanian migrants in the United States, Franklin Zdruli pointed out that vibrant cultural gatherings, church activities, and social involvement of the Albanian migrants help them forget the times spent in total isolation and hardship during the communist regime.  The biannual Albanian Festival that he co-organizes at St. Mary’s Church in Worcester draws thousands of participants from all over the U.S., including people of diverse heritage. Activities such as this oldest and largest Albanian festival in the country help build cohesion among the diaspora, while also enacting a positive change in the host community. “The Albanians in the diaspora are often described as the best ambassadors Albania can have, as they strive to keep their best values while gaining the best from the society where they live,” said Zdruli.  “Our migrants proudly proclaim their love for America, while keeping alive their heritage and vibrant traditions.”044

The central role of cultural and social activities in diaspora engagement was also highlighted at the Roundtable gathering at the Consulate of Ireland on October 17. The forum was convened by the BU Diaspora Studies Initiative and the Consulate of Ireland, and attended by a number of Irish American diaspora organizations and actors. The discussions revealed the important role of cultural activities in consolidating diaspora networks and stimulating engagement – including language classes, folk dance sessions, concerts and performances. Such joint activities would often function as a catalyst for diaspora engagement, effectively reaching those more vulnerable and marginal.  Providing help to other diasporas in need can also consolidate the diaspora community – examples were drawn from joint projects with African diaspora members.   Generational differences in diaspora engagement were highlighted, including the disconnect between more established diaspora members and the newly arrived.  The Irish American diaspora organizations discussed effective strategies for engaging diverse diaspora groups and the importance of keeping alive ties with home communitiesthrough cultural and educational exchange.

The Irish diaspora is one of the largest in the New England area and could be seen as a success story in engaging its members through a variety of cultural, social, and economic activities and networks. “Diaspora’s role in fostering the peace process in Ireland in the 1990s should not be underestimated,” said Prof. John Harris of Boston University. “This is an unusually longstanding and successful diaspora, comprising 5-6 generations of Irish Americans.” A long-time leader of the oldest Irish organization in North America, the Charitable Irish Society, Prof. Emerita Catherine Shannon highlighted the historically central role of civil society organizations in supporting the Irish diaspora in New England and facilitating diaspora contributions to the development of the communities in Ireland.  She pointed out that civil society engagement can significantly impact the peace process and post-conflict reconstruction. Diaspora organizations can contribute to these processes by providing neutral venues and common activities for mediating and resolving painful memories and contentious issues.

These forums were part of the ongoing activities of the BU ASC Diaspora Studies Initiative on studying and facilitating diaspora engagement in post-conflict and forced migration contexts. The December 7 workshop was co-sponsored by BU ASC, BU Research, Center for the Study of Europe, and African American Studies.

Connell Rethinking Eritrea at Atlantic Council

By pdquella
December 10th, 2016 in Center News.

On Thursday, December 8, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center launched two new publications on Eritrea. The first, Eritrea’s Economy: Ideology and Opportunity, authored by fragile states expert Seth Kaplan, examines the nexus between the ideology of Eritrea’s leadership and the country’s struggling economy. The second, Eritrea: Coming In from the Cold, authored by Africa Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton, examines the US-Eritrean relationship and makes the case that now is the time for the US to reengage with Eritrea. 

Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham welcomed participants to the panel discussion and introduced Bruton, who laid out the findings of her report before turning the microphone over to Kaplan. The following panel discussion featured Anthony Carroll, senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program and vice president of Manchester Trade Limited, and Dan Connell, visiting scholar at Boston University’s African Studies Center. The event concluded with a question and answer session with the government.

Watch the recording of the event here

Call for Applications: Working with African Arabic Script Manuscripts

By pdquella
November 17th, 2016 in Center News.

CFA Working with Arabic Script Mss. August 2017	v11.10.16_Page_2CFA Working with Arabic Script Mss. August 2017	v11.10.16_Page_3