Category Archives: Africa

zp dala, Thursday October 20, 2016

picture1“Sister Wives: Female Comrades in South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Struggles”

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South Africa’s long struggle to transcend Apartheid has been widely documented, both pre- and post-democracy (1994), with an enduring focus on figures such as the late Dr. Nelson Mandela and the late Dr. Walter Sisulu. Less well-known are the stories of the women comrades of the African National Congress, activists or loyal wives, or both, whose lives and losses have drawn too little notice. Such is the case with the personal story of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, “Mother of the Nation,” whose multiple arrests, extended time in solitary confinement, and torture at the hands of the governing National Party took an enormous toll. And there are many Winnies who built the history of modern South Africa. Author zp dala will explore their stories.

zp dala is a physical therapist, a psychologist, and a writer. Her first nove, What About Meera, won the 2015 South African Minara Debut Prize, was shortlisted for the Etisalat Literary Prize, and made the top 15 African Novels of 2015 list. A second novel, The Architecture of Love, is forthcoming in 2017. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Women's Issues

Christopher D. Roy, Thursday September 1, 2016

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“Continuity and Change in the Political and Cultural Life of a Small West African Country”

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The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council presents an expert in the field of African art, Professor Christopher Roy. In his myriad of adventures throughout the past 45 years in Burkina Faso, he has observed a multitude of changes in the cultural life of the Burkina. Professor Roy will lead a discussion on how the Burkina culture reacted to bloodshed, change of governance and development.

Christopher Roy has been teaching about art and life in Africa at the University of Iowa for 38 years. He also teaches about the art of ancient Mexico, Native American art and the art of the Pacific Islands. For many years he served as Curator of the African collection at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, and was deeply involved with Maxwell Stanley and Elizabeth M. Stanley in the creation of the Stanley collection. He is currently teaching an online course on African Art that has an enrollment of 300 undergraduates.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Past Events, War & Conflict

Mandela Washington Fellows: Tochukwu Ikpegbu, Ameth Diallo, and Stephennette Taylor, Tuesday July 12, 2016

mandela washington fellowship“China’s Emerging Influence in Africa”

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The U.S. State Department’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, started in 2014
as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative created by President Obama, empowers young people from Sub-Saharan Africa through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. This year the Fellowship is providing 1,000 young ambassadors with the opportunity to hone their skills at U.S. higher education institutions. The Iowa delegation of Fellows will spend six weeks in Iowa taking entrepreneurial classes and touring the state.

speaker 1Tochukwu Ikpegbu is a mechanical/production engineer from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka with over seven years experience in pork production. He has won two national awards and hopes to apply his experience into growing local businesses to reduce youth unemployment.

speaker 2Ameth Diallo is a PhD student in African and Comparative Literature at Université Gaston Berger. In 2014 he ventured into an agricultural-based project in the Senegalese River Valley which earned him the Jeunes Agriculteurs prize and a grant from the US Agency for International Development. Diallo is currently working on a project he hopes to implement in his home village of Koalack.

speaker 3Stephennette Taylor holds a Master of Business Administration in Accounting and a postgraduate diploma in Procurement Management. Taylor has several years experience as a manager at New World Finance and envisions establishing a microfinance bank to support agricultural products and rural emerging markets.

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Filed under Africa, China & East Asia, Economics, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Summer 2016

Theodore Powers, Tuesday April 19, 2016

Theodore Powers“Milestone Breakthroughs in the Fight Against AIDS in South Africa”

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Theodore Powers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa and Research Associate with the Human Economy Program at the University of Pretoria. His research focuses on the politics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in post-apartheid South Africa. The aim of this work is to better understand the relationship between pathogens and social change in the contemporary phase of global integration.

The South African HIV/AIDS epidemic is the world’s largest in both absolute and relative terms with 6.8 millions infections and 18.9% of the adult population living with the disease. The epidemic has produced both a complex political history and the world’s largest treatment program. The presentation will briefly review the exponential growth of the epidemic and the key milestones in reaching universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment in 2012. Finally, the challenges ahead in ending the South African epidemic will be reviewed.

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Filed under Africa, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016

Craig Just, Tuesday March 29, 2016

Just Craig Photo“Rural Water Sustainability: Good Intentions Revisited”

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In April 2009, Dr. Craig Just addressed the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council with his talk titled “To Hell With Good Intentions?: Reflections on the Consequences of ‘Saving the World'”. Since then, Dr. Just has continued his work in developing countries, focused mostly on sustainable water resources development projects. But, increasingly, the issues faced by communities in developing countries parallel the challenges rural communities face in developed countries like the United States. In this talk, Dr. Just will revisit his “good intentions” toward achieving rural water sustainability both locally and abroad.

Dr. Just has served the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa since 1993. He earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994 and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and science from the University of Iowa in 2001. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an assistant research engineer at IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering. Dr. Just teaches Design for the Developing World, an interdisciplinary course targeted toward upper class students interested in advancing sustainable development in resource-poor countries. Dr. Just was awarded the University of Iowa, President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008 for creative utilization of service-learning and for engaged scholarship through teaching. Dr. Just is the faculty adviser for the University of Iowa, Engineers Without Borders USA student chapter and for the Bridges to Prosperity student chapter.

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Filed under Africa, Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Melissa Tully, Thursday March 3, 2016

Picture1“We Are One Kenya: Representations of the Nation, Leadership & Identity on Reality TV”

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Melissa Tully studies digital media technologies, international communication with a focus on media in developing countries, and philanthropy and nonprofit communication. Tully has conducted research in Kenya, Ghana, and Burundi. Generally, her research focuses on the use of digital media by a variety of actors in civil society. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her presentation will focus on Uongozi, a massive multimodal civic education campaign in Kenya that culminated in the Uongozi reality television show. Tully’s analysis suggests that Uongozi framed and promoted a version of leadership that is tied to an idealized progressive, youth leader despite the lack of quality youth “candidates” on the show. The campaign also endorsed a message of national unity and identity, articulated through the promotion of a non-ethnic collective Kenyan identity. Uongozi contributed to a larger pre-election narrative promulgated through mass media efforts that encouraged Kenyans to move beyond ethnicity in their voting and participate in a peaceful election.

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Filed under Africa, Past Events, Spring 2016, Technology

Carol Moss, Wednesday February 3, 2016

Picture1“Dissemination of the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program in the Guercif Province, Morocco: A Community Approach”

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Carol Moss is a Research Associate in the UI Department of Family Medicine and a recent graduate of the UI College of Public Health (MS, Epidemiology) with a Graduate Certificate in Global Health Studies. She is interested in alternative cervical cancer screening strategies in low resource settings, primarily in the countries of Guatemala, Cuba, and Morocco. She received a UI Global Health Studies Travel Award in 2015 to conduct work in Morocco where she has established ties over the past thirty years.

In 2010, a national program for early detection of cervical cancer in women aged 30-49 was implemented in Morocco. The program is under the auspices of the Foundation Lalla Salma, a non-governmental organization (NGO), and also encompasses a breast cancer screening component. The program initially covered five of sixteen regions of the country but was expanded to additional regions in subsequent years. The aim of the present study, conducted over a two-week period, was to both determine knowledge of the NGO and the indigenous peoples it served as well as increasing general awareness of the NGO and cervical cancer screening programs.

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Filed under Africa, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Ron McMullen, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

McMullan, Ron

 “Elephants, Ivory & Yao Ming”

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Africa’s remaining elephants are being machine-gunned so China’s burgeoning middle class can buy ivory knick-knacks for their living rooms.  Can 7’6” former center of the Houston Rockets, Yao Ming, save the day? Ambassador McMullen will explore the fate of Africa’s elephants in the hands of a former NBA star.

McMullen, currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, served as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Eritrea.  Ron has over 30 years of diplomatic experience and has lived, worked, or traveled in 91 countries.  In Burma he worked closely with Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy groups.  While posted in Fiji he helped prevent civil conflict after an armed takeover of parliament.   He was shot at during a riot in Sri Lanka and helped train mongooses to detect heroin.  He survived a voodoo curse in the Dominican Republic and took Hillary Clinton on a tour of South Africa’s Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.  Between foreign assignments, Ron served for three years as Visiting Professor at the Military Academy at West Point, where he taught International Relations and Comparative Politics.  He was Diplomat-In-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin 2010-2012.  He has authored many scholarly works and is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.  A native of Northwood, Iowa, he earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa.

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Filed under Africa, China & East Asia, Economics, Fall 2014