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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 3, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 28
JHU's Africa Experts Update Each Other on Research

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Faculty and students from across Johns Hopkins will convene on April 7 on the Homewood campus to discuss a particular subject that ties them all together, Africa.

The 20th annual Hopkins All University Seminar on Africa will feature presentations from 15 experts in the fields of anthropology, economics, engineering, history, medicine, political science and public health. The university divisions represented will be the schools of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Public Health and Advanced International Studies.

The seminar, which kicks off at 8:20 a.m., will be held in Levering's Great Hall.

I. William Zartman, the Jacob Blaustein Professor of International Organization and Conflict Resolution and former longtime director of African Studies at SAIS, founded the all-day seminar in 1985 in an effort to bring together the wealth of Africa expertise scattered throughout the university.

Jane Guyer, professor of anthropology, is convener for the event on behalf of the host institution for this year, the Krieger School's Center for Africana Studies. She said that from its inception, the seminar has been about forging an academic community.

"The original idea centered on the fact that we have so many people doing research on Africa at Johns Hopkins, but they are spread over several different schools, so they hardly know what each other is doing," Guyer said. "Professor Zartman thought we should have one day devoted to those who wanted to present their research to others and gain a broader sense of how JHU was engaging with Africa."

The seminar, whose theme this year is "Imagining African Futures," will feature two morning panel discussions: HIV/AIDS, and Building Nations and Mediating Conflict. Following a lunch and poster session, faculty will give presentations in two areas: Language Studies, and Migration, Health and Natural Resources.

Specific topics to be addressed include "Ethnic Quotas and the Engineering of Peace in Burundi," "Long-term Research on HIV/AIDS: Past Achievements and Future Goals" and "Engineers Without Borders and Water Projects in Kwazula, Natal."

The day concludes with talks on institutional initiatives in Africa and an African students' forum on training for work in African health. All participants and visitors are also welcome to join a tour of the Baltimore Museum of Art's African collection from 5 to 6 p.m.

Guyer said the seminar offers participants a unique perspective to see the interrelatedness of disciplines.

"Government conflicts and wars, for example, have a tremendous impact on public health. In a conflict, oftentimes it's difficult just to transport medicine from one town to the next," she said. "This event is an opportunity to see and make those connections and for the greater Hopkins community to network with each other."

The seminar, which is free and open to all Johns Hopkins affiliates, is sponsored by the Center for Africana Studies and the Provost's Office.

The Krieger School established the Center for Africana Studies in 2003, and the center offered its first courses a year later. The CAS is an interdisciplinary program organized around African-American studies, African studies and African diaspora studies. It offers an undergraduate minor and, beginning this year, an undergraduate major.

The location of the Hopkins All University Seminar on Africa rotates each year. Guyer said that there was no seminar in 2005 due to the ongoing formation of the Center for Africana Studies. Next year's, she said, will be held either at the Bloomberg School of Public Health or SAIS.


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