2017 AFRICA CONFERENCE REPORT
The 17th Annual Africa Conference held at The University of Texas at Austin, from March 31 – April 2, 2017. As in previous years, the conference attracted over 200 scholars and practitioners from all over the world. The theme of this year's conference was Rupturing Colonial Legacies: Colonialisms and Decolonizations in Africa and the African Diaspora. Over the three-day period, there were 51 different panels focusing on different sub-themes, with over 160 individual paper presentations.
The Conference Keynote was delivered by Prof. Fallou Ngom of Boston University. Prof. Ngom took conference participants along to the fulfilling journey of unearthing one of the world's original languages and writings and literature – the Ajami manuscripts. He hopes to help train the first generation of American scholars to have direct access into the wealth of knowledge still left largely unexamined in West African Ajami literatures, as well as the historical, cultural, and religious heritage that has found expression through this forum.
The Conference Banquet speech was delivered by Prof. Bessie House-Soremekun, Associate Dean and Professor of Political Science at Jackson State University. The Founding Director of the Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development at Indiana University, held the audience spellbound with a thrilling account of her innovative research and work with African American entrepreneurs during the past several years.
Two outstanding graduate students received awards at the conference. These included:
1. The Barbara Harlow Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, set up in honor of late Prof. Barbara Harlow. The award went to Elizabeth Jacob of Stanford University.
2. The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Award. This award is intended to recognize and reward a graduate student whose research and scholarship already stands out for innovation, originality of thought, potential to contribute significantly to her/his discipline, and leadership. The award went to Ben Weiss of The University of Texas at Austin.
The following distinguished scholars were honored at the conference for their various works and contributions towards the advancement of knowledge:
1. Prof. Oladele Balogun
2. Prof. Fallou Ngom
3. Prof. Michael Sharp
4. Prof. Egodi Uchendu
5. Prof. Samuel Zalanga
The conference came to a close on Sunday, April 2 with a farewell dinner.
The 2018 Conference with the theme Leadership and Institutions in Africa has been scheduled for March 29 – 31, 2018 at The University of Texas at Austin. Please watch out for the Call for Papers.