International Advisory Board
Dr. Nkiru Nzegwu, Professor of Africana Studies (Chair) & Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, founder of a major educational portal on Africa, AfricaResource.com, and Emmy award winning producer
Dr. Nkiru Nzegwu, philosopher, art historian and the current chair of Africana Studies Department has taught for over ten years at State University of New York at Binghamton. Professor Nkiru Nzegwu introduced first-ever courses at Binghamton University such as Philosophy of Orisha Worship, Hip-Hop I and Hip-Hop II. Among Dr. Nzegwu's areas of expertise are African aesthetics, philosophy, African feminist issues, multicultural studies in art, and digital publishing. She had managed Onira Arts Africa gallery in Ottawa, Canada, and had been a producer for a very popular radio program, Voice of Nigeria. She has received numerous major research fellowships and grant including the Senior Humanities Fellowship of the Institute for the Study of Gender in Africa at UCLA; The Getty Senior Research Grant; the Cornell University Society For The Humanities Fellowship; SUNY Research Foundation Fellowship and Project Grant; the Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellowship; University of Ottawa Merit Graduate Scholarship, and the Nigerian Federal Government Scholarship. She is author of Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006), and the editor of both Contemporary Textures: Multidimensionality in Nigerian Art, (Binghamton: ISSA, 1999) and Issues in Contemporary African Art, (Binghamton: International Society for the Study of Africa [ISSA], 1998); editor-in-chief of Ijele: Art eJournal of the African World, editor of award-winning publications, West Africa Review, and JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, as well as author of numerous articles in academic journals and books. Nkiru was one of the executive producers of Nigerian Art - Kindred Spirits (1996), the Emmy award winning Smithsonian documentary. She is a member of a number of professional organizations. Nkiru Nzegwu often gives talks and workshops on gender issues, art and on publishing. She is on the board of International Consortium for Alternative Academic Publishing [ICAAP].
Babacar M’Bow, International Program and Exhibit Coordinator, Broward Library
Babacar M’Bow is the International Program and Exhibit Coordinator for the Broward County Libraries Division in Florida, and focuses on cultural studies with emphasis on African and African Diaspora art. In this estimable position, M’Bow curates international art exhibitions, develops museum management policy for the African-American Research Library and supervises international conferences and symposiums. A graduate of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa, M’Bow focuses on cultural studies with emphasis on African and African Diaspora art, memory and cultural retentions in African Diaspora cultures, cultural institutions building, and community cultural patrimony. His most recent exhibitions and catalogues include: Splendors of Trinidad & Tobago: the Art of Carnival, 2000, Haiti: From a Legacy of Freedom to an Explosion of Cultures, 2001, The Soul of Black Folk: African & African Diaspora Contemporary Art, 2002, Oriki: the Idea of Modernity in Contemporary African Art, 2003, The Descent of the Lwa: Journey through Haitian Mythology, 2004, and Bukishi: The Concepts of Knowledge in African Arts.
Amadou Mahtar M'Bow, former Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 1974-1987
Amadou Mahtar M'Bow is the first Black African to lead UNESCO in its history. Born in 1921. After completing his higher education in Paris, he taught history and geography in Senegal, where he directed basic education from 1952 to 1957. Minister of Education and Culture during his country’s transitional period of internal autonomy (1957-1958), he resigned in order to engage in the struggle for independence. After this had been achieved, he became Minister of Education (1966-1968) and then of Cultural and Youth Affairs (1968-1970) and was a member of the National Assembly of Senegal. Elected to the Executive Board in 1966, he became Assistant Director-General for Education in 1970. Appointed Director-General in 1974, he was reappointed for a second term of office in 1980. He is currently the chairman of the International Scientific Committee for UNESCO's "Slave Routes" project. He has been awarded numerous civic awards such as BLANK, and honorary doctorates from universities worldwide UNESCO has published several of his books, including his most recent, UNESCO: Universalité et Coopération Intellectuelle Internationale and Choisir l'espoir (Choose Hope).
Dr. Carole Boyce Davies, Professor of English and African-New World Studies, Florida International University
Carole Boyce Davies is Professor of English and African-New World Studies at Florida International University. Recruited to build the African-New World Studies Program at FIU, she served as its director for nine years, moving the program to international recognition. She has held distinguished professorships at a number of institutions, including the Herskovits Professor of African Studies and Professor of Comparative Literary Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. She is author of numerous monographs, edited books, and articles, Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (1994), Left of Karl Marx. Claudia Jones, Black/Communist/Woman (2007), Ngambika. Studies of Women in African Literature (1986); Out of the Kumbla. Caribbean Women and Literature (1990); the two-volume Moving Beyond Boundaries (1995), and Decolonizing the Academy: African Diaspora Studies (Africa World Press, 2003). She is co-editor with Isidore Okpewho and Ali Mazrui of The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities (Indiana University Press, 1999) as well as the general editor of a 2-volume The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (forthcoming, 2008). Currently, Dr. Boyce Davies is writing a series of personal reflections called Caribbean Spaces. Between the Twilight Zone and the Underground Railroad, dealing with the issue of transnational Caribbean/American black identity, and is preparing an edition of the writings of Claudia Jones, Beyond Containment: Claudia Jones, Activism, Clarity and Vision.
Jerry Jeremiah Rawlings, former president of Ghana (1976-2000)
As leader of Ghana since 1981, President Rawlings has transformed his country from a condition of economic crisis to a model of self-reliance, consistently focusing on the need for increased food production. During the implementation of a structural adjustment program, Ghana -- under Rawlings' leadership -- has been at the forefront in recognizing the impact of the austere measures required. To lessen the social hardships endured by those most vulnerable to structural change, Rawlings has launched initiatives to bolster employment, and to provide housing, sanitation, safe water and health care to rural populations. With a view to strengthening people's participation in the development process, Rawlings has increased communication between the government and rural farmers. He has also supported the formation of cooperatives and women's organizations. Rawlings spoke of Ghana's path toward self-reliance: "Our national recovery program depends on restoring the small-scale farmer to the center, not only of our agricultural and economic policy, but also of our social and political affairs." Rawlings' vision is reflected in tangible results: Overall food production has steadily increased in the past decade, and Ghana has achieved self-sufficiency in three staple crops: maize, cassava and yams.
Chinwe Uwatse, General Manger of Bang and Olufsen (Nigeria) and Artist
Chinwe Uwatse is a painter. She works full-time as the general manager of Bang and Olufsen, Nigeria Limited. Despite her heavy administrative schedule, extensive social commitments and diverse professional obligations, she has worked very hard to maintain her profile as an artist. Living in Nigeria, Chinwe Uwatse's central objective is to assist in the preservation of the female ethos in uli design forms. To this end, she has worked with a number of artists to transfer the decorative ethos of these ancient forms and motifs into contemporary styles and usages. By this means, they have kept decorative element of uli very much in national focus. Chinwe Uwatse studied Fine Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in painting. It was in Nsukka that she came in contact with such masters as Obiora Udechukwu, Chike Aniakor, Late Chike Amaefuna and El Anatsui, who were her lectures and have greatly influenced her. Upon graduating from Nsukka, Uwatse worked from 1982 to 1994 with the National Council of Arts and Culture as a visual arts officer, before going into self employment. She works mainly in oil on canvas, acrylic on board and water colour. In The Best is Yet to Come, Chinwe Uwatse offers samples of the range of works she has created in the past ten years. Since 1982, she has had five solo exhibitions and has been featured in numerous group exhibitions. Primarily a painter, Uwatse moves confidently between painting in acrylic and painting in watercolor. In the process, she has produced two very distinct painterly styles that have received critical review from her collectors. Her style is dictated by the technical qualities of her medium as well as by the formal elements of uli design. On the one hand, her acrylic paintings are bold colorful statements whose compositional style rests on a skilful blending of brushstrokes, uli logic of design, and sharp engaging colors. On the other hand, her watercolor paintings display a haunting luminosity and translucency. Uwatse's watercolors have been described as "demonstrating a lyrical and exquisitely ephemeral quality that hints at unseen energy fields and forces that influence the everyday realities of the material world, and are themselves modified by the thoughts and actions of this realm" (Maurice Bryant, Earthy Treasures Gallery, Ottawa, 1992).
Dr. Onyile Bassey Onyile, Associate Professor of Graphic Design & 2D Foundations
Onyile Bassey Onyile is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at Georgia Southern University. He received his Ph.D from Binghamton University in 2004, and his dissertation title is Ekpu Oro: The Spirits of the Living Dead as an Expression of Oron World View, 1894-1940. He got his MFA from the University of Memphis in 1982. Dr. Onyile's research focuses on African Art, Colonial and Gender Studies. His recent publication, Ancestral Spirits Embodied in Ekpu Figurines of the Oron People was published in 2007 by Mellen Press. His past design portfolio and exhibition includes: American Corporate Identity/5 Program, Nigerway Chemical Ltd, Carver's Art Medieval Sculpture in Ivory, Bone and Horn, Jane Voorhees Zimmmerli Museum, Rutgers University, NJ, New Collages on Paper, Cinque Art Gallery, NYC, New York, Solo exhibition at Tate Galleries, London, England, Collages on Paper, Montclair State Collage, Upper Montclair, NJ, and Recent Collages, Mercer County College, Trenton, NJ.
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