Archive for December, 2013

Spirit of the Drums: New Orleans Meets Dakar

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The audience enjoying themselves to the sound of New Orleans beat

The audience enjoying themselves to the sound of New Orleans beat

A Performance/ Workshop at WARC

On December 12th, 2013, the West African Research Center hosted a presentation by Mr Kamau Philips and his wife, Mrs Binta Betty McDaniels, on the culture of New Orleans.

Mr Philips and Mrs McDaniels, through a display of various objects used during street rituals and celebrations, musical instruments, pictures, books and short videos, allowed people who attended to experience cultural New Orleans.

Mr Philips commenting on some of the artefacts on display

Mr Philips commenting on some of the artifacts on display

The event was wrapped up with a live performance. Mrs McDaniels showed the audience dance moves while Mr Kamau played on a “Jembe” or tambourine different rhythms played at occasions such as funerals or to show the historical relationship between African Americans and Native Americans.

Both artists showed, through songs, music and dance rhythms of New Orleans, the connection between New Orleans and Africa.

The event was attended by 15 people, all of whom very much appreciated the performance and enthusiastically danced to this music that sounded so familiar.

Trois Romanciers Sénégalais devant l’Histoire: Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Abdoulaye Elimane Kane, Boubacar Boris Diop

Friday, December 20th, 2013

From left to right: Pr Mbow, Pr Ly & the author Pr Thioune

From left to right: Pr Mbow, Pr Ly & the author Pr Thioune

by Birahim Thioune

(L’Harmattan-Sénégal, 2013)

This book, which focuses on three Senegalese writers whose works combine philosophy and literature, can be viewed, according to Professor Fallou Mbow, who presented the author and expertly commented on the book, as a summary literary history of Senegalese letters. At the same time, each of the authors under examination in Professor Thioune’s book presents a discourse opening vistas on sustainable development as well as the cultural, political and economic relations of Africa with the rest of the world.

Professor Thioune’s essay evinces many qualities which were noted by the panelists as well as the members of the audience. According to the many observers who took the floor, the book is well-written while offering a pedagogical slant which will help many readers better understand the messages of Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Abdoulaye Elimane Kane and Boubacar Boris Diop who now feature as three household names in Senegalese and African letters.

The event was attended by 64 people including writers, members of the civil society, scholars and students.

A view of the audience

A view of the audience

Misremembering Dr King:

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
by Jennifer J. Yanco

(Indiana University Press, 2014)

Pr Ousmane Sène , WARC Director & Dr Jennifer Yanco, author of Misremembering Dr. King, and WARA  Director

Pr Ousmane Sène , WARC Director & Dr Jennifer Yanco, author of Misremembering Dr. King, and WARA Director

On December 11, Jennifer Yanco made a presentation on her forthcoming book at the West African Research Center. The book will be released by Indiana University Press in early January.

Introducing the writer, the chair of the event, Dr Ousmane Sene, director of the West African Research Center and professor of American literature and civilization at University Cheikh Anta Diop, commented on Dr. Yanco’s longstanding commitment to social justice through her anti-racism work and community engagement.

Dr. Yanco’s book addresses the unfortunate amnesia concerning Dr. King’s work. The purpose of the book, according to Dr. Yanco, is to remind readers that Dr. King was in fact a radical truth teller and outspoken critic of the policies of his own country. He warned us all against what he termed the ‘giant triplets’ of militarism, materialism,

A view of the audience

A view of the audience

and racism and their corrosive effects on the body politic.

Through the discussions which ensued many speakers concurred with the author and congratulated her for drawing attention to these key issues which, most of the time, are left out of the record.

Indeed, while in the popular memory of Dr. King the emphasis is frequently laid on the struggle for civil rights and selected passages from his famous speech “I have A Dream….”, the three –isms—Militarism, Materialism, and Racism– about which he spoke and wrote extensively are more often than not completely absent.

Dr Yanco’s approach in her book was said to be so inspiring that a professor present in the room called the attention of his graduate students to at least five new research topics inspired by the author’s work.

The exchanges between the writer and the audience were lively and substantial enough to consider the book as a major contribution to further and better understanding Dr King’s vision.

The 41 people who attended the event were invited to a friendly reception offered by WARC in honor of the WARA Director and writer of the book, Dr Jennifer Yanco who was also awarded a certificate of appreciation by the staff of the West African Research Center.

 

To order the book, click here.

DAART Fellow Evariste Aohoui- PARO Wins Award

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Evariste at WARC in Dakar, Senegal

Evariste at WARC in Dakar, Senegal

WARA would like to congratulate DAART Fellow Adidjangnimou Evariste Aohoui of Programme Assainissement- Recyclage Ordures (PARO) in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. Mr Aohoui and his organization PARO have been chosen from among hundreds of submissions as a winner for innovation and creativity.

Forum Africa 2013 has awarded PARO for their unique and original contribution to sustainable development on the continent. Information on his organization will be publicized among the Forum Africa 2013 participants, companies, NGOs and donors. PARO will also participate in the network Africa of Forum for Innovation, which allows them access to technical and financial instruments for entrepreneurship and innovation on the continent.

PARO is an organization that works in the environmental field, more specifically in recycling in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. They teach about pollution and recycling. They employ youth to clean up their communities and to recycle; in turn the youth develop a sense of investment in the community and take ownership of the work by keeping their neighborhoods clean. They believe that this is only the beginning, that this investment will manifests itself in mobilizing youth around other issues in their neighborhoods. They hope to grow their organization to disseminate their message more effectively, to allow their community to have environmentally safe products, and to teach community awareness.

The Dakar American Applied Research Training (DAART) program brought together eleven young leaders throughout West Africa for two months in 2012 for capacity building training and workshops. Selected from some one hundred applicants, the young leaders are engaged in the realization of a range of projects aimed at improving their communities. During their two-month training program, they received hands-on workshops on developing and using social media for change; financial management; proposal writing and development; technology tools; gender analysis; and evaluation theories and techniques. The eleven DAART fellows hail from Senegal (5), Togo (1), Cape Verde (1), Burkina Faso (1), Niger (2), and Guinea (1).

WARA congratulates Mr. Auhoui and PARO for their continued energy and effort towards a new direction for the continent of Africa.

TIPS ON APPLYING FOR WARA FELLOWSHIPS

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Copy of WARA_Logo_Black

GENERAL

Ensure that your application is complete and that all of the requested materials are submitted by the due date. While your proposed research project, internship or residency may be compelling, the fellowship committee cannot fully assess an incomplete file. The secretariat does its best to ensure that applications are complete, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their referees and universities send in materials on time.

 

QUALITY OF RESEARCH STATEMENT

Describe clearly the nature of the project or residency that you will be undertaking. For residencies, how will these enhance the African pedagogy/scholarship in your institutional curriculum and the scholarly development or career of the resident scholar.  For post-doctoral applications, explain whether the research project will lead to the completion of an article, book chapter, artistic or creative performance or a discrete part of a larger project.  For pre-doctoral applicants, avoid sending proposals that are at the very early stages of conception, especially ones that do not convey a concrete sense of the direction that the dissertation is heading.

Make sure that you communicate very clearly the larger significance and relevance of your proposed project. Ask yourself: Why should the committee or anyone care about this project? The committee usually wants to see how the project speaks to ongoing concerns and debates in the applicant’s discipline and in broader multidisciplinary terrain of West African studies. The applicant should be able to convey clearly and concisely to reviewers from an array of disciplinary backgrounds how his or her research will nuance standing debates or help us rethink them altogether.

Projects should be feasible in its scope, proposed research locations, and its activities. Are the regions and countries that are you proposing to conduct your research reasonably accessible, stable, and secure? Can the research activities that you have outlined be conducted successfully in the places that you have specified?

Be explicit about the relevance and your knowledge of the different languages necessary for the successful conduct of your project. The committee looks favorably on candidates who have or are making effort to acquire the requisite language skills. If you do not have the language skills, discuss the nature and cost of the arrangements you have made or will be making for language services.

 

BUDGETS AND TIMELINES

Make sure that your budget is carefully outlined, reasonable, and can support the field, archival or artistic/creative project(s) that you have planned. Note that the upper limit of the grant support to pre-doctoral and post-doctoral grants is $6,000, with airfare set around $2,500, and the rest for board, lodging and other research costs. Excessively high or low budgets will signal that your project is not feasible within the guidelines established by WARA.  If you have applied, are applying, or plan to apply for additional sources of support for your research, let WARA know.  This will not adversely affect the competitiveness of your proposals.

Develop a realistic timeline. The grants are not being given for very short trips or long-term field research. Plan to spend two to three months in the region.

Use the West African Research Center as a resource to help you with establishing contacts and helping you with other information regarding research in West Africa.

 

WARA GRANT APPLICATION LINK

 

 

Book presentation at WARC

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

warc

Le pouvoir de Wade. Autocratie, impunité et perte de valeurs

by Mandiaye Gaye

On Wednesday, November 22, WARC hosted a book presentation with a panel discussion featuring commentary by Magueye Kassé and Bouba Diop. The panel was moderated by Mody Niang.

Mandiaye Gaye is a prolific political columnist and his articles are often published in the local Senegalese newspapers. He thinks of himself as a sentinel whose mission is to denounce the abuses of the power in place and to raise consciousness among his readers. This is in fact the reason why he wrote his last book, Le pouvoir de Wade. Autocratie, impunité et perte de valeurs,  which is a scathing critique of the 12 years Abdoulaye Wade spent in power after having been in the opposition for 25 years.

In this book, the author traces the advent of « Alternance » and the disillusionment people went through after they elected Abdoulaye Wade. He describes in detail the things that tarnished Wade’s regime: embezzlement, oligarchy, violence, injustices, incoherent policy, manipulation of the constitution, and the Diola shipwreck among other things. He also talks about the evil consequences Wade’s two terms brought to the Senegalese people. According to him, during this period counter-values instead of positive, moral and progressive values were promoted: theft, lying, money laundering, unethical practices, false promises, and a double-standard (“wakh wakhet”).

The book dedication ceremony provided the occasion to rekindle the debate on the reconstruction of our institutions and on how to create a link between democracy, institutions, and human responsibility. It also allowed them to stress the fact that it is necessary to have people such as Mr. Gaye play the role of “sentinel” (whistleblower) in order not only to prevent a family style management of our country, but also to stay vigilant since counter values such as “transhumance” still proliferate under the current regime.

The conclusion drawn at the end of the debates was that Senegalese people need to do their self criticism, take responsibility where they should, and draw lessons from the past so as not to repeat the same mistakes.  The event was attended by 47 people.