USAO Hosts Public Africa Symposium March 27
CHICKASHA -- While many eyes are on the U.S. economy, a handful of scholars, researchers and faculty are planning an event that puts the focus on someplace halfway across the globe: Africa. USAO's Symposium on Africa explores the economy, politics and global impact of the continent March 27 at the University of Science and Arts.
Participants will discuss issues in Africa's past, present and future that relate to the continent's development and its relationship to the rest of the world. The central question of concern is, " what is the way forward?"
Beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the USAO Student Center Ballroom, poster presentations will be on display, followed by the symposium from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The symposium is free and open to the public.
" The purpose of the symposium is to provide information on African issues and research to students and members of the Chickasha community," said Dr. Stephen Kandeh, assistant professor of sociology. " In a globalizing world where everyone is connected to everyone and everything, it behooves us to learn accurate information about Africa."
" The symposium is intended to bring to our community people who actually do research on a continent about which very little is known or talked about in our liberal arts curriculum," he said. " This is intended as a first step towards building a forum that will continue to provide timely and relevant information to students and members of our community about Africa and the opportunities and challenges it presents to the United States."
A panel of specialists is scheduled to speak during the morning symposium, including faculty members from universities across the state.
Special guests include history lecturer John Mooney from the University of Oklahoma; Dr. Jonathan C. Odo, chair of the department of criminal justice and sociology at Cameron University; Dr. George Acquaah, associate vice president for academic affairs and chair of the department of agriculture and natural resources at Langston University; Dr. Ginger Elliott-Teague, assistant professor of political science at OU; Dr. Maxwell Kwenda, assistant professor of sociology at Cameron; Dr. Alex Lewis, dean of the graduate program in the school of education at Langston; Dr. Darryel Reigh, professor of chemistry at USAO, as well as Kandeh.
" Africa's future is extremely relevant, both to our campus and the U.S. society as a whole," said Kandeh, who is from Sierra Leone. " Many of our students may, in time, be faced with policy making, investment or research opportunities that may have something to do with Africa."
Potential subjects for the morning include Africa's history, language and territorial violence, biotechnology, demography, African universities' global roles, socio-economic development and more.
To Kandeh, Africa's fate is tied closely to America's own.
" As a society, it is important to know that U.S. policy is never complete without Africa," he said. " An emergent constituency in the U.S. claims close ties to this continent, forcing legislative consideration at all times. But more importantly, African resources are crucial to our world economy and daily living here in America."
Kandeh hopes students, in particular, will attend the symposium and leave with greater knowledge and appreciation for the continent and its future.
" I hope that students will learn that Africa is a place of great diversity and complexity," he said. " I also hope that the symposium will heighten our interest in learning about Africa, and maybe alleviate some of our misconceptions, fears and antipathy. As academics, our students' education is partial without a well-rounded knowledge about every corner of our world society, and Africa is a big chunk of this world, whether we like it or not."
More information is available from Stephen Kandeh by phone at (405) 574-1243 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.