The 2014 Achebe Colloquium on Africa — African Literature as Restoration: Chinua Achebe as Teacher will be held at Brown University, Providence, R.I. USA, from May 1-3, 2014.
An International gathering of scholars, artists, musicians, writers, and officials will gather at Brown University May 1-3, 2014, to discuss and celebrate the cultural contributions of Chinua Achebe, the late Nigerian novelist and the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies at Brown, who died in March 2013 at the age of 82. Achebe started the colloquium in 2009 to bring attention to issues affecting Africa.
On Thursday May 1, 2014, Elizabeth Donnelly, Assistant Head and Research Fellow, Africa Program, Chatham House, – The Royal Institute of International Affairs- London, Great Britain; will deliver the opening address at the Colloquium. Her talk will “focus on Boko Haram -what is known, what is not known, and the implications and what can be done.” The event begins at 5:30 p.m.
According to the Washington Post
“More than 1,500 people have been killed so far this year in attacks blamed on the Nigerian radical group Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language. The terrorist network’s mission is to force an Islamic state on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of some 170 million people divided almost equally between Muslims living mainly in the north and Christians in the south.”
Following Ms. Donnelly’s address, she will join a panel discussion Perspectives of Security: Networks, trafficking and Terrorism in Africa with Ambassador Walter Carrington, Former US Ambassador to Nigeria and Senegal; Ambassador John Campbell, Former US Ambassador to Nigeria and a U.S. State Department Representative.
The Moderator, Professor Donna A. Patterson, is a scholar of Africana area studies at Wellesley College.
The evening will showcase performances by singers from the Sri Chinmoy Centre; Ohafia war dancers from Abia State; a poetry, music, and song collage by South Africa’s Sindiswa Seakhoa.
Thursday’s opening event will usher in high level intellectual discourse on contemporary issues facing the African continent while examining the impact of the late Chinua Achebe’s writings on modern African literature and world literature as a whole. The deliberations will take place in List Art Center auditorium, 64 College St, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.
Speakers at this year’s colloquium include Lynn Innes, professor emerita of English at the University of Kent and author of an analysis of Achebe’s works; Simon Gikandi, professor of English at Princeton University; Bernth Lindfors, professor emeritus of English at the University of Texas–Austin and a leading scholar of African literature; Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangaremgba; Giyatri Spivak, literary theorist and professor at Columbia University; David Palumbo-Liu, professor of comparative literature at Stanford University; Michael Thelwell, Jamaican novelist and author of The Harder They Come; and Vijay Kumar, professor of English at Osmania University in India.
Brown President Christina Paxson will deliver a welcome address and Alhaji Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, executive governor of the Kano State in Nigeria, will give Saturday’s closing keynote address. Abena P.A. Busia, associate professor of English and co-director of the Women Writing Africa Project at Rutgers University, will serve as Mistress of Ceremony throughout the colloquium.
Sessions include a roundtable reflection on Achebe’s life by his close friends and colleagues, the impact of Achebe’s writing on the world; the conflict between poet and emperor as reflected in Achebe’s writings, Achebe as a crusader of social justice and a panel discussion on Achebe’s influence on hip hop music.
Over the three day event other significant performances from Nigerian playwright Tess Onwueme; Afro roots musical group Eme and Heteru; and power poetry by Ikeogu Oke with instrumentalist Osuji Ngozi Michael will be featured.
This will be Brown’s fifth Achebe Colloquium on Africa. The 2012 colloquium focused on governance, security and solutions to peace in Africa. The 2011 colloquium explored several challenges facing the region, including the Arab Spring and the crisis in Darfur. The 2010 colloquium focused attention on three African nations — Rwanda, Congo, and Nigeria — and the crucial issues impacting the countries, the continent, and the world. The inaugural 2009 colloquium addressed the problems and prospects of the 2010 Nigerian elections.
Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.
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