“The conference in Finland will promote the interest in Africa and also align to the focus on Africa in the development cooperation programmes of all Nordic countries”, says Carin Norberg, Director of the Nordic Africa Institute.
Growing from a biennale activity, traditionally hosted in Sweden, the event is now held every year and circulates among the Nordic countries. This year’s programme will see participants from more than 20 countries presenting over 135 papers. “We have seen an increase in participation during the last couple of years. This is an encouraging sign and I expect that we will see a further increase in the years to come,” Norberg said.
Scheduled keynote speakers in order of appearance over the two days are Dani Kouyaté, film director and activist from Burkina Faso, who opens the programme with insights into “The Evolution of African Cinema” and the showing of his film: Sia on Thursday at 10h00. Dr Joyce Nyairo, Cultural Analyst; Program Officer, Media & Civil Society at the Ford Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya, will present “Making Space: Alternative Voices and the Search for Public Virtue in Contemporary Kenyan Media” on the same day at 18h00.
“Human Rights: The African Experience and the Way Forward” by Professor Mahmood Mamdani from Columbia University is the highlight of the second day at 09h30. Mamdani is an expert on internal conflicts in Africa and a critical voice against genocide. He continues to write about and challenge negative perceptions about Africa.
“Should they stay or should they go? Secessionism and the Legacy of Colonial Partitioning in African and International Politics” will include Dr Paul Nugent, Director of African Studies; at the University of Edinburgh and is the final panel.
The Nordic Africa Days promises to give Nordic and African scholars and researchers an opportunity to renew their understanding of the complex issues facing Africa and Nordic countries. Others will have the chance to share some of their literary works.
Presentations listed are: Then role of African NGO’s in the development of the continent; Changing conceptions of space in natural resource management; Political legality-rule of law in Africa’s democratic transition. Other topics include Looking at the past and the future; Politics and sex – queer African politics; African articulation of global change: Reading perceptions of modernity; as well as Changing urban life in post-apartheid South Africa.
Multifaceted connections between the Horn of Africa and its’ diasporas; Social comments and critique through comics and cartoons; Governing African urban space; Re-regulation of urban water supply organisation; Global and domestic investment in food and energy production in Sub-Saharan Africa – benefits for whom?; The spatial turn and mediated popular culture; technology transfer and indigenous knowledge to the trade/development nexus and Africa.
Support from the host and organising institution Åbo Akademi University, the Nordic Africa Institute (Uppsala, Sweden), the Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The European Science Foundation, ABORNE (the Africa Borderlands Research Network) and the University of Turku have made this highlight of the Nordic-Africa calendar possible.
“It’s the first time the Nordic Africa Days are arranged in Finland and more than 200 participants have registered! Åbo Akademi University is proud to host the event,” said Professor Holger Weiss, professor of History at Åbo Akademi and chairperson of the event’s organizing committee.
Visit http://web.abo.fi/fak/hf/hist/nad2010/ for more information.