Let's Talk Africa

Upcoming Talk:

November 16th, 2017 - 4217 WWPH - 12pm - 1:30pm

Kenya: Maturing or Democracy in Crisis?

Prof. Joshua M. Kivuva    

For decades, Kenya had been considered the hope of Africa’s democracy. After holding competitive elections with regularity not experienced in the continent and remaining an island of peace in a region in turmoil, not many foresaw the violence being experienced in the country. The peaceful reintroduction of the multiparty system and presidential term limits in 1990 promised a smother democratic process. Unfortunately, Kenya’s democratization, characterized by the opening up of political spaces to more participants, more political parties, more and freer media outlets, free expression of views and other rights, seems to be accompanied by what are clearly anti-democratic features. Violence, manipulation and rigging of elections, political exclusion, intolerance and blatant attempts to close the very political spaces for some groups, have been on the increase.

Despite the over three decades of democratization, the transition does not seem to have yielded significant changes in the institutional composition of the country, even after the promulgation of a new Constitution, which enjoyed widespread popular support. The politics that have characterized its implementation and the increased tensions and conflicts that have emerged in pursuit of the very rights and freedoms that it (the Constitution) has provided, threaten not just Kenya’s democratic project, but the very existence of the nation-state. While the boldness with which Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the Presidential elections points to a democracy that is consolidating, the violence that has characterized Kenya’s elections since 2007 and the opposition’s boycott of the repeat 2017 general elections, point to a democracy that is in serious trouble.

The University of Pittsburgh’s African Studies Program invites you to this very informative discussion on Kenya’s future under the Let’s Talk Africa Series. The Discussion will be led by Prof. Joshua M. Kivuva, a Visiting Scholar from the University of Nairobi’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Prof. Kivuva is also a Research Fellow with the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi.

 

2017/2018 Series:

Protecting Children in a Fragile State: the Case of Liberia

Prisie Badu

Monday, September 11 - 12:15pm -4217 WWPH 

Prisie Badu presented about the systematic challenges that fragile states like Liberia face when working with child and family programming. She also discussed opportunities for student internships and advice for entering the nonprofit sector in Africa. Prisie is the Director of Playing to Live - a 501 c 3 non-profit organization that works to meet the psychosocial and mental health needs in low-resource, high trauma communities globally. The organization partners with local community based organizations to ensure the cultural relevance and sustainability of programming. Mrs. Badu has 25 years’ experience in social welfare, psychosocial and child programming. She works with ministries of government, universities, and nonprofit sectors to help support marginalized and vulnerable children.

 

Internships and Volunteer in Africa

Thursday October 20 - 12:00 – 2:00 pm - 4217 WWPH

A roundtable discussion on internships and volunteer opportunities in Africa featuring various practitioners from the field of development focused on Africa.

Victoria Nalongo, Bright Kids, Uganda
Hanifa Nakiryowa, Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence   CERESAV), Uganda
Jenny Roach, Hekima Place, Kenya
Justin Forzano, Founder & CEO, Cameroon FDP

 

Kenya: Maturing or Democracy in Crisis?

Dr. Joshua Kivuva

Thursday November 16 - 12–1:30pm - 4217 WWPH

For decades, Kenya had been considered the hope of Africa’s democracy. Unfortunately, Kenya’s democratization seems to be accompanied by what are clearly anti-democratic features. Violence, manipulation and rigging of elections, political exclusion, intolerance and blatant attempts to close political spaces for some groups, have been on the increase. Despite the over three decades of democratization, the transition does not seem to have yielded significant changes in the institutional composition of the country, even after the promulgation of a new Constitution, which enjoyed widespread popular support. The violence that has characterized Kenya’s elections since 2007 and the opposition’s boycott of the repeat 2017 general elections, point to a democracy that is in serious trouble. Please join us as Prof. Joshua M. Kivuva, a Visiting Scholar from the University of Nairobi’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration, leads a discussion on this topic as part of the African Studies Program's Let's Talk Africa Series.

 

Identity, Culture & Education

Derrik I. Heck

Thursday November 30 12 – 1:30pm - 4217 WWPH

Derric I. Heck is a Graduate Research and Teaching Associate of the Center for Urban Education housed within the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Diversity Scholar as well as a K. Leroy Irvis Fellow. His research includes a focus on how teachers rationalize and navigate topics of race within the classroom; how the learning environment acts as facilitator of cultural dialogue; and how U.S. teachers engage and utilize the indigenous wisdom and various cultures within Africa as a teaching and learning too. He will discuss his research using case study examples from Kenya and Ethiopia

 

Gloabl 68-The Nigerian Civil War

Thursday, February 15th, 2018 - 4:00 -6:00pm - 4130 WWPH

The UCIS Gloabl 68 Series draws themes from events that took place around the world in 1968. As part of this series, the African Studies Program will be showing a documentary entitled "Biafra and Nigeria War 1967-1970". This will be followed by a panel discussion on the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War (July 6, 1967 - January 3, 1970). Our panel will discuss the causes, aftermath and legacy of the conflict and the lessons for independence, democracy and freedom. Our invited panel consists of Edmond Keller from UCLA, Joshua Forest from La Roche University and Moses Ochonu from Vanderbilt. 

 

Education in Ethiopia: Challenges Women Face in the Pursuit of Higher Education

Anna-Maria Karnes

Thursday March 22nd, 2018 - 12 – 1:30 pm Room 4217 WWPH

Anna-Maria Karnes will share her research work in Ethiopia exploring the challenges women face in Higher Education. The numbers of women enrolled at the higher education level are very low compared to men. For example, in 2011, only 27% of all students enrolled in a university were women(Ministry of Education, 2011).  In an attempt to increase access to higher education for women affirmative action provisions are being made to ensure equal rights in these universities. The government has also declared financial help to women who wish to pursue education (Prime Minister Office/women’s Affairs Sub Sector, 2004). Despite support from the UN and the Ethiopian government, women continue to face challenges of staying in school. According to Ethiopian academics. Anna-Maria will discuss her findings during her research tenure visiting Ethiopia and teaching in the university in the summer of 2016.

 

Hang Them! Popular Music and the Politics of Participation and Belonging in Homophobic Uganda

Dr. Charles Lwanga

Thursday April 4, 2018 - 12 – 1:30pm - 4130 WWPH

Dr. Charles Lwanga is a recent graduate of the School of Music He holds a Ph.D in Composition and Theory (2012) and a Ph.D in Ethnomusicology (2018) from the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently a visiting assistant professor of Music at Skidmore College in New York where he teaches theory and ethnomusicology. He will be sharing his research and work experience as a composer.