Archive for July, 2014

Saharan Crossroads Publication

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014



Saharan Crossroads: Exploring Historical, Cultural, and Artistic Linkages between North and West Africa counteracts the traditional scholarly conception of the Sahara Desert as an impenetrable barrier dividing the continent by employing an interdisciplinary lens to examine myriad interconnections between North and West Africa through travel, trade, communication, cultural exchange, and correspondence that have been ongoing for several millennia. Saharan Crossroads offers a unique contribution to existing scholarship on the region by uniting a diverse group of African, European, and American scholars working on various facets of trans-Saharan history, social life, and cultural production, and bringing their work together for the first time. This trilingual volume includes eleven chapters written in English, five chapters in French, and three chapters in Arabic, reflecting the multicultural nature of the Sahara and this international project. Saharan Crossroads explores historical and contemporary connections and exchanges between populations living in and on both sides of the Sahara that have led to the emergence of distinctive cultural and aesthetic expressions. This contact has been fostered by a series of linkages that include the trans-Saharan caravan trade, the spread of Islam, the migration of nomadic pastoralists, and European colonization. The book includes three major sections: (1) history, culture, and identity; (2) trans-Saharan circulation of arts, music, ritual performance, and architecture; and (3) religion, law, language, and writing. While the gaze of international political analysts has turned toward the Sahara to follow problematic developments that pose serious threats to human rights and security in the region, it is especially timely to recall that the people and countries of the Sahelo-Saharan world have maintained long histories of peaceful coexistence, interdependence, and cooperation that are too often overlooked in the present.

Learn more at the link below.

The Story of a Citizen Revolution

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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Chronique d’une Revolution Citoyenne

On June 23, 2011, the Senegalese people rallied at the National Assembly, Place Soweto in Dakar, to challenge former President Abdoulaye Wade’s bill aimed at changing the Constitution. It would have introduced in the Senegalese executive system the position of a vice-president to second the elected president. The move was perceived and interpreted as President Wade’s attempt to secure an official position for his son and to, subsequently, devolve full executive powers to him.

This prompted the Senegalese civil society and many youth organisations to stage sit-ins and demonstrations around the Senegalese legislature to prevent Senegalese members of parliament from passing the bill.

The initiative was successful and President Wade withdrew his bill. This was a landmark victory for democracy in Senegal and a strong harbinger of President Wade’s subsequent defeat in the 2012 presidential election.

Several key actors of the June 23 movement, called M23, made contributions to the book, M23, Chronique d’une Revolution Citoyenne, which is a collection of essays on the events and also on the status of democracy in the country. The book was presented at WARC on Monday, June 23, 2014—the third anniversary of M23.

Recently, WARC has been the scene of a number of other book presentations, as well. On June 20, WARC hosted the launch of a collection of poems written by Professor Adama Sow Dièye (UCAD), entitled Sarinagara, Nouvelles d’une autre Vie (Editions Athena, 2014), and the presentation of a collection of essays published by the Réseau Africain pour le Dévelopment Intégré (RADI, a development NGO) entitled Accès à l’Eau pour les Agricultrices Sahéliennes: Enjeux pour une Démocratie Inclusive.

An excerpt from the story published on the M23 event by the Senegalese daily Sud Quotidien , July 23rd , P 11

An excerpt from the story published on the M23 event by the Senegalese daily Sud Quotidien , July 23rd , P 11

On June 26, Professor Iba Der Thiam, a distinguished historian from UCAD presented his book on local communities and municipalities and their role in entrenching democracy in Senegal, Histoire des Communes et leur Rôle dans la Construction de la Démocratie Sénégalaise et dans l’Emergence d’un Leadership Indigéne. The event was presided by the Senegalese minister of local communities and the mayor of the city of Dakar was perfectly timed since the whole country was in the throes of campaigns for the municipal elections which took place on Sunday June 29th.


US Universities’ Summer Study Tours rally at WARC

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

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From May 5 to July 2, WARC has hosted five different study tours organized by WARA member universities. These summer programs are designed to develop faculty capacity to teach Africa content, and to broaden the horizons of student participants. Some programs also include teachers in institutions and schools that are neighbors to the sponsoring university. The increasing number of universities taking advantage of WARC’s expertise in organizing such summer programs is a testimony to WARC’s place as the premier venue and partner for the preparation, management and implementation of study tours in Senegal and other West African countries.

The Ohio State University Summer Program in Senegal came in first with 13 students, followed by South Dakota State University with 11 students and two faculty.  WARC was responsible for almost all aspects of this project abroad. Participants left a thank-you-note attesting to the fact that WARC rose up to their expectations.

pic 4On May 16, 5 students and one faculty came in from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This university has been a long-time partner of WARC in terms of summer study tours, which over the years have been conducted to the mutual satisfaction of both WARC and UNC.  This year was no exception: the leader of the program is already making plans for the summer 2015. Texas A & M also arrived on May 16 with 3 graduate students in a faculty-led research program which was completed on June 30.

On June 2, participants in the Georgia Tech Curriculum Development Program in Senegal flew in. The group includes 11 teachers coached by 2 faculty members. The program ends on July 2. Discussions with faculty have assured us that the group will go back to the States better-informed and better-equipped to assure the best education for their students.

Goree Island’s Henriette Bathily Women’s Museum Hosts a Week-long Exhibit at WARC

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

From May 31 to June 6, the Henriette Bathily Women’s Museum, one of the landmarks on the celebrated Goree Island, held an exhibit at the West African Research Center (WARC). The exhibit was entitled “Two Generations of Women, One Mission” (“Deux Generations de Femmes, une Vocation”).

L to R :  Anette Mbaye D’Erneville,  Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye,  and Penda Mbow

L to R : Anette Mbaye D’Erneville, Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye, and Penda Mbow

The week-long event started with an opening ceremony attended by over 200 people and presided by the Senegalese Minister of Pastoralism and a long-time political leader, Mrs. Aminata-Mbengue Ndiaye.

The exhibit displayed the portraits and profiles of various women leaders (young and old) and, each day, hundreds of schoolchildren flocked to WARC to hear about the lives and stories of these celebrated women.

On the same occasion, the works of celebrated Senegalese women artists, Germaine Anta Gaye, Adama Boye, Kiné Aw, La Rey and Yoni Ndiongue were also on display and offered for sale, with the proceeds going to support the Women’s Museum.

The week-long event ended with a closing panel on the theme “Speaking Out and Taking Action: Violence against Girls and Children” (Osons en Parler pour Mieux Agir: Les Violences faites aux Jeunes Filles et aux Enfants”).

pic 2The panel was moderated by the former Senegalese Minister of Health and former director general of UN International Organization on Migrations, Professor Ndioro Ndiaye. Panelists included Professor Fatou Kiné Camara, Professor Babacar Samb, Dr. Jeanne Diaw and Mrs. Fatou Sow-Dember, each of whom offered valuable insights on the issue.