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

“Trump’s Africa Policy: Creating a ‘Useful’ and a ‘Useless’ Africa”

By pdquella
November 16th, 2016 in Center News.

By Abel Djassi Amado (Simmons College)

“So much of what Trump may, or may not, adopt as official US foreign policy towards Africa is uncertain. One of the things that will, however, influence what impact a Trump White House has on African countries will be the ability of African leaders to astutely define their own national interests.”

Following last week’s US presidential elections in which Donald J. Trump won 290 to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 232 electoral college votes, much focus has rested on President-Elect Trump’s domestic strategy, but few are clear on the outlines of Trump’s foreign policy. This lack of clarity is particularly acute with regards to what might constitute America’s Africa policy under a Trump presidency. Although the results in the Midwestern state of Michigan are still to be called, there is no escaping the fact that the world will have to contend with, and make preparations for, a Trump White House.

More here

Photo credit

Special Event, Dec 7–Networking, Philanthropy and Fundraising: How to Build Meaningful Relationships for You and Your Organization

By pdquella
November 15th, 2016 in Center News.

Networking, Philanthropy and Fundraising: How to Build Meaningful Relationships for You and Your Organization

December 7, 4-6 p.m., 232 Bay State Road, Rm. 505, Boston, MA 02215

Special event of the BU African Studies Center and Diaspora Studies Initiative

Co-sponsored with BU Research and the Office of Alumni Affairs

The ability to be a world-class networker has never been more important in helping to shape your professional career and institutional development. In this session, we will share strategies and practices that can help develop your networking capacities. As increasing pressure continues to grow on institutions, universities, and civil society organizations from a funding perspective, the workshop will explore also the linkages between networking, philanthropy and fundraising. It will share insights on emerging trends in these sectors and equip participants with skills and ideas to build meaningful relationships to meet the professional and institutional challenges.

  • Learn how to build and manage your network
  • Gain insight into nurturing meaningful professional relationships
  • Pick up tips and skills to help with your career development
  • Explore emerging potentials of philanthropic giving
  • Learn best practices on varied fundraising methods

BU faculty, staff and students, civil society organizations and our diaspora community are welcome!

The event is facilitated by Diaspora Matters, a global consultancy and training firm based out of Dublin, Ireland which provides services in areas of networking, fundraising, and diaspora engagement in development. Since its inception, Diaspora Matters has researched, written and spoken extensively on how different countries are engaging their diaspora communities. It has worked globally in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, and North America with clients including institutions such as Accenture, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, EU, Google, HSBC, KPMG, UBS, United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI), USAID and World Bank.

Dr. Martin Russell is an experienced scholar and consultant on the topics of networking, fundraising, and philanthropy. He has written on a range of topics relating to diaspora strategies including the role of government in diaspora engagement, representation rights, diaspora media, diaspora networking, and conflict transformation. Publications to date include “Diaspora Engagement through Representation: A Discussion” and “Diaspora Strategies: Explore the Role of Government,” Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit. He has spoken at numerous international conferences engaging several key stakeholders active in the diaspora engagement process, ranging from academic conferences to public speaking at organisations such as Fulbright.

Please RSVP to

Africa Diaspora Initiative & Africans in Boston Event Raises Issues of Governance and Politics

By pdquella
November 14th, 2016 in Center News.

The Boston University African Studies Center co-hosted the first ever African Diaspora & Governance Symposium at Boston University last Saturday. The event brought together African diaspora activists from the greater Boston area to discuss the issues of diaspora organizing and networking for effective participation in governance and political life.  The Symposium, co-hosted with Africans in Boston, featured Dr. Sylvester Okere, President of the United People for African Congress (UPAC), and Attorney Candice McKinley, the Vice-President of UPAC and a civil rights and education attorney.Africans in Boston Diaspora-Governance Symposium-

Dr. Okere stated that the community of African immigrants is one of the most educated, dynamic and diverse communities in the United States, “We have the people, talents, skills, experience, values and unique culture that distinguish us. Let’s come together and change the narratives that have been dragging us down. In order for the ethnic African community in the United States to become relevant and be fully integrated into the American political system, we must first be organized.” Dr. Okere called for ethnic Africans in the U.S. to overcome the scars of colonialism, discrimination, and marginalization, and work towards creating solidarity to transform the local immigrant communities as well as those of the African motherland. Dr. Okere was the first immigrant to fill Africa’s seat of the National Democratic Party to represent the African diaspora, and first African immigrant to speak on a national platform on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial.

Attorney Candice D. McKinley, an African American attorney, political strategist and gender activist, urged African immigrants to understand their heritage, and to be selfless, purposeful, and intentional in their struggle to unite the diaspora to achieve their dreams. “I come from down South where we had the same issues of mistrust among different African American groups from different regions, but we managed to overcome these and now speak with one voice,” said the young mother and former teacher who spent time in Tanzania working for women empowerment and Rwanda genocide cases.  Atty. McKinley highlighted the important role of women in diaspora work: “Women must know their worth, purpose in the world, and intend to be change agents. Society has engrained in men to be leaders rather than women. While women currently make up 51% of the American population, we are still not seen as an equal to men. Including and encouraging women to be at the political table would help to garner systemic change that will benefit future generations.”Africans in Boston Diaspora-Governance Symposium-11

The ethnic African organization UPAC is a non-segmented body committed to mobilizing the estimated 3 million African immigrants in the United States for empowered participation in the social and political lives of the communities in the U.S. as well as for the development of their motherland.  The organization serves all ethnic Africans in the diaspora. Recent initiatives include the struggle to involve African immigrants in relevant high level policy discussions, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, as well as engaging their active participation in the 2016 presidential elections.

Mr. Voury Ignegongba, President of Africans in Boston and convener of the event, said that he was overjoyed by dozens of African immigrants from different African countries living in Boston who attended the symposium, demonstrating that Africans have the desire to put their differences aside and unify for a common cause while far from their homelands.  Africans in Boston is an organization that fosters the socio-economic and educational development of its members by offering a platform that connects the African diaspora in the greater Boston area and in the state of Massachusetts.

“It is very refreshing and encouraging to see a group of African immigrants come together here today in search of better lives,” remarked Harrison Maina from Kenya (Boston University Metropolitan College). “Since UPAC has taken the lead to organize the highly disjointed and scattered African communities in the diaspora, it is up to us to join in and render our talents and skills. Let all African community organizations that are genuine about their intent to make Africans more united and respected now consider joining UPAC.”  These calls were echoed by several other participants of the Symposium. The attendees included Geoffrey Nsereko of Radio Uganda Boston, Pastor Isaac Balinda of Uganda, Rev. Christine Nakyeyune of the Ugandan Anglican church in Waltham, Chioma Nnaji of Africans for Improved Access, and Dorothy Sebbaka of Women of Purpose International.

“In the present era of ever-growing migration and mobility, diaspora contributions to the development of their countries of origin are crucial,” said Dr. Daivi Rodima-Taylor of BU ASC Diaspora Studies Initiative. “We are proud to contribute to creating a forum for local African diaspora communities to discuss strategies for productive diaspora engagement and empowerment.”

Photos by: Harrison Maina, Ajabu Africa News

Susanne Mueller in NY Magazine: Comparing the Potential for Election Violence in Kenya & the US

By pdquella
November 7th, 2016 in Center News.


It’s understandable why some people are concerned that there will be violence during or immediately after tomorrow’s presidential election. After all, for the entire final stretch of the campaign, Donald Trump has been pre-complaining that the results of tomorrow’s election will be “rigged,” and has repeatedly refused to say that he will accept the results, full-stop (well, he did say he’ll accept them if he wins). And while one can’t necessarily take the craziest things a given candidate’s supporters say at face value, some of his supporters have spoken openly and excitedly about the possibility of violence and revolution.

“People are both vastly and incorrectly overstating the prospects for electoral violence here,” Susanne Mueller said in an email. Mueller is a political scientist currently based at Boston University’s African Studies Center, and a widely publishedexpert on the Kenyan political system, which produced one of the more infamous recent examples of election violence.


Nov 14: Eradicating Poverty, Sharing Prosperity: Effective Policies for Equitable Societies

By pdquella
November 4th, 2016 in Center News.

Bostonia: Machozi’s Calling (please support the scholarship effort)

By pdquella
October 30th, 2016 in Center News.

Machozi’s Calling

The priest’s return to the people of eastern Congo surprised few of his friends. His murder surprised no one.

By Art Jahnke
here was one thing about Father Vincent Machozi that worried his religious superiors in the Brighton, Mass., house of the Augustinians of the Assumption. Machozi, a contemplative priest from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), operated a website, Beni Lubero Online, where he posted grisly iPhone photos of victims of violence in the DRC province of North Kivu, as well as reports that often identified the killers as military or government agents. Machozi (STH’15), who was working toward a PhD at BU’s School of Theology, hoped that the photos of dead and dismembered bodies would galvanize site visitors to help end the violence. His superiors, on the other hand, feared that they would invite the revenge of the warlords and militias who controlled the lawless province, and who could easily direct their retaliation at some of the 150 Assumptionist priests working in schools and orphanages in eastern Congo. They asked that Machozi never link the site in any way to the Assumptionist order.