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16th All African Students’ Conference at UWI, Mona

Hundreds of students of African descent from around the world are expected to attend the 16th All African Students’ Conference (AASC) to be held at the University of the West Indies, (UWI) Mona Campus May 20-22, 2004. The theme of the Conference will be “The Bicentenary of Haitian Independence and the Historical Significance of the Haitian Revolution; Prospects, Possibilities and Perspectives”.

Conference Coordinator, Allan Bernard said the theme serves not only to celebrate the Bicentenary of Haiti’s independence but also to observe 2004 as “The International year for the Commemoration of the Struggle Against Slavery and its Abolition.”
He explained that the objectives of the conference include creating an agenda for the promotion of understanding among youth and students beyond the confines of ethnic, gender, generational and national differences; exchanging ideas and information aimed at promoting sustainable development in Africa and the Diaspora; and emphasizing the crucial contribution that African students and their counterparts in the Diaspora can make to the development of Africa.
Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Hon. K.D. Knight, will officially open the conference at a ceremony at the Undercroft, Senate Building at 6:00 p.m. on May 20th.
The conference sessions on May 21 and 22 will be held in the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Social Sciences.

Consecutive panels will emerge from such themes as “Historical Background and Significance of the Haitian Revolution”, “Post Revolution Haiti”, “Reparation and Debt”, and “Haiti in the Contemporary Caribbean”.
Among the distinguished presenters will be Professor Verene Shepherd and Professor Brian Meeks, who will deliver two plenary sessions. Verene A. Shepherd is Professor in the Department of History at UWI, Mona and a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society. Brian Meeks is Professor of Social and Political Change. He was recently The Claudia Jones Visiting Professor at Florida International University. Students will also deliver a variety of presentations on the sub-themes.
Bernard, who is also research assistant at the Centre of Caribbean Thought at UWI, Mona noted that the conference has traditionally been held at black universities in North America and Canada. “Last year was the first time the conference actually came out of North America and it was the best conference,” he added.

The conference will close with a gala dinner at the Rex Nettleford Hall on the Mona Campus on Saturday 22nd at 7:00 p.m. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Obika Gray of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Professor Gray is a well knowned Political Scientist who has written on the politics and sociology of Jamaica.

The 16th All African Students’ Conference will be attended by participants from universities in Europe, North America, the Caribbean and Africa. Students from secondary and tertiary institutions in Jamaica are being encouraged to participate in this historic event. Conference registration fee is $600 which covers the conference package and participation in all events. For further information and conference schedule please call 977-5935, 927-2592, 313-6949 or email all_african_students_conference@yahoo.com.


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