Welcome Back from ASC Director Mike Woldemariam

in Center News
September 3rd, 2021

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the BU African Studies Community, 

I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome you back from what I hope was a restful summer. This is the first such note I am writing as ASC Director, having taken over the role in July. As BU returns to all in-person classes this fall, the ASC is working hard to facilitate a safe and productive return to normal operations. Towards that end, we appreciate in advance your adherence to all of BU’s Covid-19 related protocols. While these are still uncertain times, I genuinely look forward to seeing students, faculty, and staff around the Center in the coming days, weeks, and months. Please do say hello when you see me. 

At this early stage, there are a few events I want to draw to your attention and encourage you to attend. On Thursday, September 9th at 5pm the Pardee School will hold its annual welcome event at Towers Lawn. The ASC’s Rodney Seminar is slated to continue, with Professor Mai Hassan of the University of Michigan joining us via Zoom as our first speaker on September 13th. Those interested in the Sudanese revolution, and the study of contentious politics in Africa more broadly, will find this first lecture to be particularly rewarding. You can register for free here. Finally, the ASC will host a mixer for faculty, affiliated and visiting researchers, and graduate students at 5pm on Thursday, September 23rd, which will give many of us an opportunity to greet old friends and welcome new faces. Stay tuned for more information. Other events for the fall are in the pipeline, and as details become available they will be announced in our Weekly Brief and posted to our calendar.

I’ll have more to say about my strategic vision for the ASC once I’ve had time to learn the lay of the land and tap the collective wisdom of our vibrant community. But for now, I can say this: the ASC has been a leading African studies institution for decades and I am committed to keeping it that way. The strong standing of the ASC is testament to many who came before me, including my immediate predecessors Professors Tim Longman and Fallou Ngom, who have led the Center in stellar fashion since I joined the BU faculty a decade ago.

A special thanks also goes to the wonderful ASC staff, Eric Schmidt, Natasha Patel, Elsa Wiehe, Michael DiBlasi, and Sandi McCann—their hard work and institutional memory have been vital in bringing me up to speed these last few weeks. My appreciation also extends to our faculty members, especially Zoli Mali and the African Language Program, who are eagerly gearing up for a new semester in the classroom. Beth Restrick, Gabe Adugna, and Rachel Dwyer of the African Studies Library deserve recognition for their efforts as well. And finally, a thank you to our students, whose passion for African studies has been, and will continue to be, the foundation of the ASC.

 See you soon. 

Mike Woldemariam

Director of the African Studies Center