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“Innovation, transformation and sustainable futures in Africa” Conference Highlights

The African Studies Association (ASA), American Anthropological Association (AAA), Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and the West African Research Center  (WARC) are happy to launch the inaugural joint conference of the ASA and AAA, entitled, “Innovation, transformation and sustainable futures in Africa” (www.dakar2016.org). The conference was held in Dakar, Senegal on June 1-3, 2016 and hosted by local partners WARC and CODESRIA.

This joint conference in Africa presented an interdisciplinary occasion to focus research attention on transformations as they relate to Africa’s future. The ASA knows that many of our members often have to choose between attending the AAA and ASA conference each year, and is excited we were able to partner with AAA on this initiative.

The conference will itself model innovation and creativity in its presentation formats and its location. Dakar, now a city of more than two million people, exemplifies these dynamic changes — developing into a modern, global city while maintaining its rich cultural roots and identity. The response to the CFP was outstanding and lead to the creation of a rich and multifaceted program – you can review the preliminary program at www.africanstudies.org/conference-program.

To facilitate participation in the conference, the ASA Board of Directors authorized the creation of a special travel fund to provide subsidies to conference attendees. The ASA awarded travel grants to 14 participants, most of whom are emerging scholars. This support would not have been possible without the generosity of ASA members, and the African Studies Association thanks all who have donated to the endowment and other ASA initiatives.

There are many conference highlights to showcase!

The Welcome Reception for the 2016 Dakar Conference was hosted by the West African Research Center on the evening of Wednesday, June 1 from 6pm to 8pm. This fabulous evening of festivities served as a kick-off and the official start of the conference in the beautiful WARC facilities. The Welcome Ceremony was presided by His Excellency Mary Teuw Niane, Minister of Higher Education of Senegal, and included welcome messages from Professor Ibrahima Thioub, Rector, University Cheikh Anta Diop; US Ambassador to Senegal, James P. Zumwalt; Prof. Ousmane Sene, Director of WARC; Prof. Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary of CODESRIA; Prof. Dorothy Hodgson, President of the ASA; and Prof. Ed Liebow, Executive Director of the AAA.
 
The official Dakar 2016 Gala Dinner was held on Thursday, June 2 at 7 pm at the fabulous Lagon I restaurant. This unique restaurant, located on a pier stretching into the ocean provided the perfect venue for a night of festivities and a beautiful view of the sun setting over Goree Island.
 
ASA President Dorothy Hodgson moderated the roundtable, “Feminist Futures in Africa?” which included participants Fatou Sow, Ousseina Alidou, Aminata Diaw Cisse, Ayesha Imam, and Omotayo Jolaosho.

If you are not attending the conference but are interested in following the conversation, make sure to follow the conference organizers on twitter: @ASANewsOnline, @AmericanAnthro, @CODESRIA, and @wara_warc, and the official conference hashtag, #dakarfutures2016.


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