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The second conference organized by the student group Africans Creating African Consciousness and Interest Abroad (ACACIA) will focus on “Aid, Debt, and Dependency: An African Addiction?” Friday-Sunday. The theme reflects ACACIA’s desire to understand whether and how Africa can progress with the debilitating debt that has marred the continent’s history and continues to cripple its resources.

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“We hope that through this conference, a number of Lafayette students and students from other colleges can become engaged in discussions that will further our understanding of the complex issues facing Africa,” says Martha Osier ’06(Nairobi, Kenya), a double major in economics & business and international affairs and president of ACACIA. “We hope that the Lafayette community will gain insight into the available solutions that can be applied to alleviate the continent’s dire economic circumstances.”

Though not required, ACACIA requests that those who plan to attend the conference register at its web site.

This year’s conference was inspired by the G8 Summit hosted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Gleneagles, Scotland and the Live 8 concerts in major world cities. It will feature a keynote address by Peter Delp, three special topic sessions, and an African banquet.

The conference will begin at 4 p.m. Friday with a screening of 500 Years Later, a movie with a screenplay written by award-winning author Molefi K. Asante Jr ’04, in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104. Asante is pursuing his MFA at University of California at Los Angeles. His first book, Like Water Running Off My Back, won the American Poetry prize.

Delp will deliver the keynote address 7 p.m. Friday in Oechsle Hall. Senior adviser and de-facto deputy to the director of the Millennium Challenge Account Secretariat in USAID’s Bureau for Policy and Program Coordination, Delp is the author of Systems Tools for Project Planning. As supervisory program officer in Ethiopia, he wrote two country strategies and increased development assistance and child survival and health accounts by $96 million. He has worked in the Asia and Near East and Africa Bureaus of USAID. In the late 1970s, he was an adviser to Kenya’s Ministry of Finance. He earned his doctorate in industrial engineering and operations research from University of California at Berkeley.

ACACIA’s first conference on Africa, “Turning Our Impediments Into Stepping Stones,” featured a keynote talk by acclaimed Jamaican screenwriter and playwright Trevor Rhone.

An Open Mic night 9 p.m. Friday at Gilbert’s will showcase poetry, spoken word, and song with Asante. Audience members also are encouraged to perform. A signing for his latest book, Beautiful. And Ugly Too, will follow the event.

The topic discussions will be held Saturday in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104. “The Question of African Leadership” begins at 9:30 a.m. with guest speaker Samuel Quainoo, associate professor of political science at East Stroudsburg University and chair of its chapter of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Frederick Douglass Institute. This session will explore the psychology of African leaders to understand why they have often failed their people. Quainoo received his bachelor’s degree from University of Ghana and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Binghamton University. He is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers.

“Trade vs. Debt Relief” will begin at 11:30 a.m. with speaker Rexford Ahene, co-chair of Africana studies and professor of economics and business. The discussion will focus on the trade imbalances between Africa and the rest of the world. Ahene was the principal architect of the Land Policy of Tanzania in 1995 and the Malawi National Land Policy of 2002. He serves as the land policy adviser to the Malawi government and has worked as a consultant on African structural adjustment and land tenure issues for more than 12 years. Ahene is the author of Privatization and Investment in Africa and Valuation Procedures and Practice in Tanzania. He holds a doctorate from University of Wisconsin.

“Creating Healthy Nations” starts at 2 p.m. Shobana Shankar, assistant professor of history, and Sally Guttmacher, professor of community public health at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, will discuss the health crisis caused by AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other preventable and curable diseases. Shankar earned her doctorate in African history at University of California at Los Angeles. Her research interests are on Hausa and Hausa-speaking communities in northern Nigeria. Prior to joining Lafayette, she worked at the United Nations and UNICEF. Guttmacher earned her doctorate in public health at Columbia University. She has conducted much of her primary research on risk factors for sexually transmitted infections in adolescent populations at Cape Town, South Africa. She recently returned from working in The Gambia, located in western Africa, where she evaluated the HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives of a nongovernmental organization focused on women’s health and development.

Each session will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Students will lead a final discussion to review the information from all three panels at 3:50 p.m. An African banquet will be held at 7 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room, Marquis Hall. The conference will conclude with a brunch 10 a.m. Sunday in the Faculty Dining Room.

The conference is sponsored by ACACIA, the Africana studies program, and the Dean of Studies Office. For more information, email any of the officers: Osier; vice president Rufaro Mukogo ’07(Harare, Zimbabwe), a dual degree candidate in chemical engineering and international studies; secretary John Mumo ’08(Nairobi, Kenya), an electrical and computer engineering major; treasurer Nii Adjei ’08(Tema, Ghana), a chemical engineering major; or Nangula Shejavali ’06(Windhoek, Namibia), president of International Students Association and a double major in international affairs and Africana studies

The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and United States met at the G-8 Summit this past July to discuss debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. Africa is home to 32 of the 38 most indebted nations. G8 promised to double aid to Africa, increasing financial support by $25 billion per year by 2010. This is part of an estimated $50 billion per year in extra aid worldwide by 2010, of which around $16 billion will be available in 2006.

Bob Geldof, the force behind 1985’s Live Aid concert to benefit African famine relief, organized the Live 8 concerts in Philadelphia, Paris, London, Berlin, Toronto, Rome, Moscow, Johannesburg, and Barrie to precede the G8 Summit and to demonstrate widespread support for debt relief. The free concerts drew some of the entertainment industry’s biggest acts and boosted awareness of the extreme poverty in Africa.

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