From the Director
From UCLA African Studies Center Director - Allen F. Roberts
Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2007
...and for me, one of the greatest privileges and joys of serving as director of the James S. Coleman African Studies Center over the last six years has been the chance to wear so many hats."
Aside from the rich complexity of African lives that we all find so inspiring, the aspect of African Studies that I have always found most exciting is its multi-disciplinarity. Because of the concentration on substance that is the hallmark of all area studies programs, we have an unusual opportunity to learn and share each other’s methods and theories; and for me, one of the greatest privileges and joys of serving as director of the James S. Coleman African Studies Center over the last six years has been the chance to “wear so many hats.” Just this past week, for example, a very distinguished public health official from
Another great pleasure is working with dynamic UCLA student activists. On April 20th, Diana Essex and the FORGE campus group she directs sponsored Baridi Night. _Baridi_ means “cold” in Swahili, and the long evening event brought attention to the basic needs of Zambian refugees—that is, beginning with blankets and warm clothing. Live music, Ethiopian cuisine, and a raffle made the evening celebratory without losing sight of inspiring purposes. We can all be proud of such efforts (with our Darfur Action Committee in mind as well), led by the next generation of ardent Africanists.
Lots is going on for the rest of Spring quarter. We began the term with an interesting and affecting presentation by two poets from the Saharaoui Democratic Arab Republic—a nation still riven by strife, occupation, and exile. In May we shall be honored by the visit of Njabulo Ndebele and Thandabantu Nhlapo, respectively Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the
Another compelling event to be held in May will be an African Immigrant Community Coalition-Building Forum that the center is co-sponsoring (again through the good work of Azeb Tadesse and Sheila Breeding) with the UCLA African Activist Association, composed of dynamic student get-goers, the African Federation, and USA for Africa as led by our wonderful colleague Marcia Thomas. A first session on the 18th will be held at the Lucy Florence Coffeehouse, to bring the conversation to community constituencies, and then a second at UCLA on Saturday the 19th. And then on the 25th and 26th, the African Activist Association will hold a conference of students, faculty, and community members to consider “Multi-Mediating Africa: Emerging Artistic and Technological Re/presentations.”
Enough to make one’s head spin! But that is what the