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IAS holds the 11th Biennial Conference of ASWAD

  • Prof. Akosua Adomako speaking


In a momentous gathering that brought together international scholars and researchers, the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana recently played host to the 11th Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD). Taking place from August 2 - 5, 2023, at the Cedi Conference Centre within the University of Ghana's Legon campus, this conference marked a significant milestone in the pursuit of greater understanding and appreciation of the African Diaspora.

ASWAD, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the scholarly exploration of the African Diaspora, convened its historic 5th Conference in Accra, Ghana, back in 2009. Notably, this event was the first held on the African continent and carried the theme "Africa Diaspora and Pan-African Agendas." The choice of location was a tribute to the Pan-African Conference of 1900 and the Pan-African Congress of 1919, underlining their profound impact on the continent's history. By selecting Accra, ASWAD acknowledged Ghana's pivotal role in nurturing the ideals of freedom and justice through its commitment to Pan-African struggles.

The 11th Biennial Conference of ASWAD holds even more significance as it marked the inauguration of The Sixth International Congress of African and African Diaspora Studies (ICAADS). Spanning multiple locations throughout 2023, this congress pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) and the 50th anniversary of the Third International Congress of African Studies. Anchored by the theme "Repatriating African Studies," this conference serves as a focal point for meaningful discussions and collaborative efforts to recalibrate the study of African and African Diaspora affairs.

This transformative event brought together experts from various corners of the globe to deliberate on the vital task of repatriating African studies. By revisiting the event's themes, its historical context, and its resonating significance, the conference uncovered the rich tapestry of ideas that emerged during this remarkable conference.

Professor Robert Trent Vinson, the outgone president of ASWAD stressed on his expectation of this conference bringing back the Pan-African Spirit and the unity hoped for by the African Diaspora. The Professor Akosua Keseboa Darkwah in her opening keynote, discussed the importance of Africans learning about themselves and avoiding identity crisis. She further mentioned some African and more specifically Ghanaian scholars who have promoted Pan-Africanism in their works such as Professor Emerita Takyiwah Manuh and Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo among others.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo in her closing keynote, touched on various issues, one of which includes the politics of publications and citation within the context of socio-linguistics. The importance of where African scholars publish and how they are cited were central to her closing address. Altogether, the 11th Biennial conference created the platform for fruitful exchanges and to also think about Pan-Africanism, Repatriations and reparations.