African Diaspora conference opens in Accra 


The 11th Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of the African Worldwide Diaspora (ASWAD) has opened in Accra.

The four-day conference, which commenced with an opening ceremony at the University of Ghana (UG) is on the theme: “Repatriating African Studies.”

It is in collaboration with the Institute of African Studies (IAS), UG.

It has brought Africans in diaspora especially those in academia together to celebrate the intellectual and political immunity of the field of African studies and to reflect on contemporary realities and future destinations of Africans in diaspora.

It is also intended to help them engage in vibrant discussions, share valuable insight, and forge collaborative part towards a comprehensive understanding of the African diaspora.
President of ASWAD, Professor Robert Trent Vinson, in a speech, indicated that the event would help bring back the Pan-African spirit and unity that the African in diaspora yearned for.

“That is why we are coming back. We, the children in the diaspora are coming back to reconnect,” Prof Vinson said.

He said the Conference would also afford them the opportunity to learn more about Africa so they could repatriate well.

Prof Vinson said most of the stories Africans in diaspora heard about Africa were on slave trade and that he believed there was more to Africa than just the stories on slave trade.
In her keynote address, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Ghana, Professor Akosua Keseboa Darkwa, said there was the need for people to learn about themselves, so they did not face identity crisis.

Director of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, Mr Akwasi Awua Ababio, said the government was dedicated to improving diaspora engagement throughout the continent.
He said the need to know more about one’s ‘roots’ was very important because it helped in repatriation and that government was very committed to creating opportunities for Africans in the diaspora to learn.

Mr. Ababio said that commitment led the President to set aside the year 2019 as the “Year of Return”.

“It was one major thing we did to honour our commitment towards making sure that the mindset is set for people to know that there is the need to return to Africa.”

Prof Samuel Ntewusu, the Director, Institute of African Studies (IAS) ,  said the Institute was honoured to host the Conference because the theme resonated with the Institute’s core duties and mandate to provide a reinterpretation and a new assessment of the factors, which made up the African past and provided blueprint for the future by ensuring that African studies flourished and devoid of western influence.

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