West African Research Center (WARC)

WARA’s overseas office, the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar, Senegal, is a vibrant hub of intellectual activity. It is the location of regular lectures, roundtables, book signings, film screenings and exhibits. It provides a point of contact for researchers from the US, West Africa, and beyond, encouraging the intersection of their respective research traditions and fostering collaborative research efforts.  WARC provides an institutional presence and lends continuity and stability to programs sponsored by postsecondary U.S. institutions.

WARC seeks the active participation of both West African and US-based scholars in order to identify and meet the needs of both communities. WARC specifically aims to:

  • Encourage collaborative research between US-based and West African researchers, universities, and relevant institutions through its lecture series and throughthe organization of colloquia, seminars, and workshops on topics of both general and scholarly interest.
  • Make available to West African and visiting researchers a research library, computer facilities, and a computer network capable of sustaining significant research efforts on West Africa and the Diaspora.
  • Provide a forum in which both local and foreign researchers may conduct and share their work, and create a transnational community of scholars and researchers.
  • Gather, catalog, and disseminate the results of research on West Africa.

WARC plateauThe West African Research Center (WARC) opened in 1993 (pictured in this 1993 photo). Its first home was in this modest space in downtown Dakar. WARC’s first director, Dr. Eileen Julien (1993-1995), worked miracles, transforming this ordinary venue into the kind of dynamic space for which WARC is now so widely  known.

In 1995, Dr. Leigh Swigart took over as WARC Director, a position which shWARC Fanne held into 1997. It was during her tenure that WARC moved to the spacious venue in Fann Residence, not far from Universite Cheikh Anta Diop. This initially quite bare space (seen in this 1997 photo) has blossomed into a center of excellence, remarkable both for its beauty and for the wealth of resources it offers to the communities of scholars that make it their home. This WARC of today is a long term project built of the dedication and skill of a series of visionary directors who followed Drs. Julien and Swigart, making WARC the very welcoming place it is today!

Dr. RobeDSC_0528rt Mortimer (1997-1998)
Dr. Fiona McLaughlin (1998-1999)
Dr. Wendy Wilson-Fall (1999-2004)
Dr. Ousmane Sène (2004 – present)

WARC is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and is supported by the Government of Senegal, which generously grants us use of the WARC site, and by grants from the US Department of Education and the Educational and Cultural Affairs bureau of the US State Department, and through the generosity of its membership.

In 2014, WARC underwent a comprehensive external evaluation and came out with flying colors. Read the full report here:
WARC 2014 Evaluation – Final