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The Umoja Conference is an annual program created by a network ofAfrican groups and organizations in the Midwest. The word "Umoja" is aSwahili word that means "Unity". The purpose of the Umoja Conference isto discuss pertinent issues concerning the African continent and Africanstudents particularly in the diaspora.
This year the African Caribbean Student Union of Grinnell College isproudly hosting this conference.
Date: April 27 - April 29, 2012
It’s late on a Monday night. I rush down the dark stairs to the basement of Main Hall and pull open the door to Bob’s Underground Café. The wail of a trombone echoes from down the entryway, the piano and bass comp cool through the changes to “So What,” and each slap of the high hat matches my footfall.
The presiding officer’s heavy wooden gavel comes smashing down on the table as the opening theme to Lady Gaga’s new single blares from my computer speakers. My friend and I flinch, sigh, and exit the YouTube window, shaking our heads at yet another failed attempt to spice up the beginning of the Joint Board meeting between the Student Government Association cabinet and senators. We’ve got three new resolutions on the table and four budgets to approve, so we know it will be a long Wednesday night. With hours of debate ahead of us, why not start off with a catchy song?
Grinnell, IA - Africa’s current and future roles in the international arena will be the focus of a week-long symposium at Grinnell College, Apr. 9-13, sponsored by the college’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights. A former ambassador to Ethiopia, scholars of African politics and economics, and a recent leader of Africare will share first-hand experiences about the continent.
“Africa is a continent of contrasts that has tremendous importance for the rest of the world—international relations, economic growth, cultural affairs,” said Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program. “We want to get at that importance by taking a look at Africa’s regional issues, as well as its effective relationships with the rest of the world.”
The week-long symposium will include the following free, public events to be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell campus (unless otherwise noted):
- Mon., Apr. 9, 8 p.m.: Lahra Smith, assistant professor in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, will discuss “Old Trade-Offs and New Realities: Challenges of Economic Development and Political Reform in Africa” in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302.
- Tues., Apr. 10, 4:15 p.m.: Boniface Dulani, a member of the faculty at the University of Malawi, will consider recent political movements in “Neither Consolidating nor Fully Democratic: The Evolution of African Political Regimes, 1999-2008.”
- Wed., Apr. 11, 4:15 p.m.: Africa’s place in the arts world will be the topic for Kelly Askew, associate professor of anthropology and Afroamerican/African Studies at the University of Michigan, in “Poetry and Politics along the Indian Ocean Littoral.” Askew is also director of Michigan’s African Studies Center.
- Wed., Apr. 11, 8 p.m.: Ambassador David Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, will compare “China and Africa: An Evolving Relationship.” Shinn is adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.
- Thurs., Apr. 12, 11 a.m.: Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow Julius Coles will deliver the Scholars’ Convocation on “Prospects for Africa in the 21st Century.” Coles, the former president of Africare, is director of Morehouse College’s Andrew Young Center for International Affairs.
- Thurs., Apr. 12, 4:15 p.m.: The role of women will be the topic of a talk by Pearl Robinson, associate professor of political science at Tufts University, in “African Muslim Women and Civic Islam.”
- Fri., Apr. 13, noon: The symposium will close with a lecture in South Lounge of the College Forum by Assefa Mehretu, professor of geography at Michigan State University. Mehretu, who is also director of the Center for Integrative Studies in Social Science at Michigan, will discuss “The Rise and Decline of America's Soft-Power in Africa: The Case of Ethiopia.”
The African and Caribbean Students Union will host a film festival in connection with the symposium, offering “Umkhungo” at 8 p.m. on Apr. 12; “Teza” at 7 p.m. on Apr. 14; and “Ties that Bind” at 4:15 p.m. on Apr. 15. All films will be shown in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302.
For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or email@example.com.
Grinnell, IA - Writers@Grinnell will open its fall semester program with a reading from novelist and essayist Natalie Bakopoulos on Thurs., Sept. 13. All readings will be in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center on the Grinnell College campus at 8 p.m. unless noted.
"We have an incredible group of writers coming this year," said Dean Bakopoulos, assistant professor of English, who is directing this year's program. "Some of the most entertaining readers and engaging teachers of writing in the country are coming to Grinnell this year. I'm excited for our students."
Natalie Bakopoulos will hold a roundtable discussion in Room 226 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center at 4:15 p.m. Bakopoulos recently released her first novel "The Green Shore," which paints a finely-etched portrait of one family, whose heartbreaking stories of love and resistance play out against the backdrop of the late 1960s Greek military dictatorship. She has also written essays for "Granta," "Salon," and "The New York Times" about Greece's current economic crisis. She is the sister of Dean Bakopoulos, who will join her for the roundtable discussion entitled "Sibling Rivalry: Writing About Family Without Getting Disowned."
Historian, biographer, and journalist Sam Tanenhaus, a 1977 Grinnell College graduate and visiting faculty in English, will give a presentation on Thurs., Sept. 27. Tanenhaus is the editor of "The New York Times Book Review" and the author of "The Death of Conservatism" and "Whittaker Chambers: A Biography."
On Oct. 4, author Charles Baxter, acclaimed fiction writer, critic, and one of the nation's most beloved creative writing teachers, will read from his most recent story collection, "Gryphon: New and Selected Stories," recently published by Pantheon/Random House. Baxter is also the author of a dozen other books, including the National Book Award finalist "The Feast of Love."
May-lee Chai, a writer, educator and 1989 graduate of Grinnell College, has participated in past Writers@Grinnell series and will be back on Thurs., Oct. 11 to lead a roundtable discussion on "Writing after Grinnell" at 4:15 p.m. in Room 226 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. Following the roundtable, Chai will read from her new memoir "Hapa Girl." This event will be held at the college's Faulconer Gallery at 8 p.m.
On Thurs., Nov. 1, Ronald Wallace, will read from his poetry, including selections from "Long for this World" and "For a Limited Time Only." Wallace will also lead a roundtable presentation on formal poetry at 4:15 p.m. in Room 209 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. Praised as "one of our liveliest, most readable poets" by Charles Harper Webb, Wallace's trademark warmth and wit makes poetry lovers out of the form's sworn enemies.
Brothers Davy and Peter Rothbart began FOUND Magazine in 2001. The magazine spawned the 2004 bestseller "Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World," as well as two other collections in 2006 and 2009. On Sun., Nov. 11, Davy will read selections from his new essay collection "My Heart is an Idiot" and will be accompanied by musical selections composed and performed by Peter. True performers, the Rothbart brothers have sat on David Letterman's interview couch and have been featured on the radio show "This American Life."
Students of the Grinnell Review will round off the fall semester readings on Thurs., Dec. 6, with readings from the campus's literary journal, which is edited and designed entirely by Grinnell students.
The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center is located at 1115 8th Ave. on the Grinnell College campus. Faulconer Gallery is located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts at 1108 Park Street, also on the college's campus. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grinnell, IA - Writers@Grinnell expects to increase its RBI with a Feb. 16 reading by noted sportswriter Marty Dobrow. The author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream” and “Going Bigtime: The Spectacular Rise of UMass Basketball” will read from his books and talk about his lifelong passion for sports at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus. During a 4:15 p.m. roundtable discussion with Grinnell students, Dobrow will talk about the sportswriting craft for which he has received numerous national awards.
On Feb. 24, fantasy and short story writer Kevin Brockmeier will read from his published works which include two children’s novels, two fantasy novels, and two story collections. The Little Rock, Ark.-based writer is teaching a short course in fiction writing at Grinnell, as well as teaching at the University of Iowa this semester. Brockmeier will read at 8 p.m. in Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.
In April, Writers@Grinnell will continue with weekly activities featuring Shakespeare, novelists, poets, and memorists. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or email@example.com.
Grinnell, IA - Writers@Grinnell will open its fall semester program with a reading by novelist and faculty member Dean Bakopoulos on Thurs., Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus.
Bakopoulos’ latest novel, “My American Unhappiness,” was reviewed this summer by the Los Angeles Times and Wall St. Journal and listed as the “#1 Title to Pick Up Now.” He is currently at work on a television series based on his first novel, “Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon,” set in his hometown of Detroit. Bakopoulos is a member of the Grinnell English faculty and also teaches in the creative writing and environment program at Iowa State University.
Poet Nell Regan will read on Sept. 13 from her debut collection, “Preparing for Spring,” reviewed as a “stingingly clear outdoor light.” Regan has also published historical biography in “Female Activists: Irish Women and Change.” Regan will read in Room 102 of Alumni Recitation Hall.
On Sept. 29, author Ed Pavlic will read from his most recent books, “But Here Are Small Clear Refractions,” “Winners Have Yet to be Announced,” and “Labors Lost Left Unfinished.” Pavlic’s works have drawn recognition from the African American Review, the American Poetry Review, and the Georgia Writers Association.
Non-fiction writer Susanne Antonetta will discuss her work in the fields of environment, mental health, diversity, spirituality, and the sciences during a reading on Oct. 6 co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies concentration. Antonetta is the author of “Body Toxic,” a New York Times Notable Book, as well as four books of poetry under her legal name Suzanne Paola and a soon-to-be released book on adoption titled “Inventing Family.”
All Writers@Grinnell events will be held at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 1115 8th Ave. on the Grinnell College campus, unless otherwise noted. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grinnell, IA - 2010 World Food Prize laureate Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, will deliver a public lecture at Grinnell College on Wed., Oct. 12 about her experiences in leading the world hunger assistance organization. Her lecture, “Listening, Learning, Leading on the Global Stage,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Center Cinema on the Grinnell campus. A light buffet dinner will precede in the Harris Center atrium. At 6:30 p.m., following the lecture, there will be a public reception in the atrium with music by Too Many Strings Band.
Luck served as president and CEO of Heifer International from 1992 to 2010, and director of international programs from 1989 to 1992. Under her leadership, the organization, which brings food- and incoming-producing livestock to impoverished families, grew from 20,000 to 500,000 supporters and expanded scope of efforts throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe.
Grinnell has hosted World Food Prize lecturers for more than six years as part of a World Food Prize outreach program at Iowa educational institutions during the week the prize is awarded. The 2011 World Food Prize will be awarded at the state capitol Oct. 13 to John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, who led significant hunger and poverty reduction efforts in their respective countries.
Luck’s lecture is sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave. on the Grinnell campus. For more information about the Rosenfield Program, contact Sarah Purcell, email@example.com, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.