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 and cooperation 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 a program of research fellowships and the 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 by providing up-to-date data and information 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.
  • Promote interdisciplinary approaches and considerations of gender in the study of West Africa and the African Diaspora.
  • Gather, catalog, and disseminate the results of research on West Africa.

    New terrace entryway at WARC

The founding director of WARC was Dr. Eileen Julien (1993-1995). She was followed by

Dr. Leigh Swigart (1995-1997)
Dr. Robert Mortimer (1997-1998)
Dr. Fiona McLaughlin (1998-1999)
Dr. Wendy Wilson-Fall (1999-2004)
The current center director is Dr. Ousmane Sène, Professor of African and African-American Literature at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar.

The Center is a project of The West African Research Association/Association de Recherche Ouest Africaine, which has members – both institutional  and individual – throughout the US and West Africa.

WARC is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and is supported by the Government of Senegal 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.

The WARC site in Dakar was granted to WARA by the Government of Senegal. The Center opened its doors at an initial location in downtown Dakar in 1993, and in 1997 moved to its current location in the beautiful Fann-Residence neighborhood. In that time, WARC moved quickly to establish itself as a regional research center of excellence in West Africa.

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

Important notice

As of July 1, 2013, the government of Senegal will require all visitors to the country to purchase an entrance visa.. Visitors must apply for the visa electronically at http://www.snedai.sn and pay a 50 Euro (approximately $67) fee either at the same website or in person at the airport. All visas must be collected at Leopold Sedar Senghor Airport (Dakar) or at the Senegalese missions located in Washington DC and New York City.

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