The anniversary event on April 17 will feature a concert by Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal.
By Letisia Marquez for the UCLA Newsroom
THE JAMES S. COLEMAN African Studies Center at UCLA will celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday, April 17, with an 8 p.m. concert at Royce Hall presented by UCLA Live and a post-performance gala reception featuring popular Senegalese musician Baaba Maal.
Since its founding in 1959, the center has been dedicated to teaching, research and public outreach related to Africa and the African diaspora and today is recognized as one of the preeminent institutions of its kind in the world.
"Teaching Americans about Africa presents a unique challenge because of the history of racialized stereotypes that still circulate through the media," said Andrew Apter, director of the center and a professor of history and anthropology.
"Africa is, in fact, emerging as a major theater of economic investment, with China taking a leading role," he said. "America needs to wake up and get more involved on the African continent and with the African diaspora overseas. UCLA provides an ideal resource to further this agenda."
The concert and reception will raise money for the center's numerous activities. Attendees will have the chance to win several prizes, including two airline tickets to Africa with luxury accommodations.
Tickets are $150 and can be obtained by calling 310-825-9796 or visiting www.international.ucla.edu/africa/50years.
About the James S. Coleman African Studies Center
The African Studies Center oversees a master of arts program and a minor in African studies, and its staff assist students who participate in education abroad programs in countries such as Egypt, Ghana and South Africa. More than 70 faculty members across the UCLA campus teach courses on Africa and African languages.
The center has a strong partnership with the UCLA African Activist Association, a student group dedicated to education and activism in the realm of African social, cultural and political issues.
In addition to publishing several journals, including African Arts and the international journal of African studies Ufahamu, the center was responsible for organizing and overseeing the Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project, an internationally acclaimed archival initiative that compiled volumes of letters, speeches, pamphlets and other documents penned by the noted early 20th-century pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey.
In Africa, the center runs various research initiatives, including projects focused on sustainable development and eco-village design in Senegal, gender-equity and entrepreneurship in Ethiopia, and Congolese refugees in Zambia.
The center features speakers from around the world with expertise on Africa at its lectures, symposia, conferences and public education forums, and hosts an annual lecture in honor of its founder.
This summer, for the second time, the center will lead a group of American teachers to Morocco as part of a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program. For five weeks, the teachers will be immersed in the Arabic language and culture. The project's goal is to cultivate a better understanding of Morocco's place in Africa, North Africa and the wider world.