Newsroom

November 5, 1998

Middlebury College Presents 6th Annual Sub-Saharan Africa Symposium on Nov. 12-14: "African Health: Present Pain, Future Hope?"

"African Health: Present Pain, Future Hope?" is the topic of Middlebury College's sixth annual Sub-Saharan Africa Symposium, which will be held Nov. 12-14. Symposium events are free and open to the public.

"This year's topic was chosen to emphasize that a country or continent's most valuable asset is its people-healthy people," said Negar Ashtari, Middlebury College student from Botswana and member of the organizing committee. "It's a timely subject because the media is increasingly flooded with images of health in Africa. Many negative, some misconstrued," said Ashtari. "The symposium brings together diverse experts from Africa and the United States for lectures and panel discussions. Also, two cultural performances-one by a professional musical group from Kenya and the other by a group of our own students together with students from Mount Holyoke-will celebrate African music, dance, and drama."

Leroy Nesbitt, special assistant to the president and advisor for the symposium, believes this year's three-day symposium, like its predecessors, will enrich the study of Africa on campus and create a constructive discourse among experts. According to Nesbitt, "One of the best aspects of the symposium is its ability to provide both the campus and the broader community with access to outstanding resources in and about Africa."

On Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m., the symposium will begin in Dana Auditorium at the Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125) with opening remarks by Middlebury College student Fordam Wara from Kenya, and a presentation of African health-related images and information titled "So Doctor, What's the Diagnosis?" Following the presentation will be commentary by a panel of experts: His Excellency Theogene Rudasingwa, Rwandan Ambassador to the United States and pediatrician by profession; Eric Chinje of the World Bank; Dr. Seth Appiah-Opoku of the University of Vermont's International Development Planning Program; and Vera Cooper, a health administrator from Liberia. Middlebury College African Studies Lecturer David Eaton will moderate the panel.

On Friday, Nov. 13 at 12:30 p.m., four lectures will be offered at various locations on campus:

  • Rwandan Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Rudasingwa will address health issues in Rwanda in the 21st century. His talk will be in the library of the Geonomics House on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125);
  • Vera Cooper, a health administrator from Liberia, will share her experiences and insights on Liberian health issues at the Chellis House on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125);
  • Eric Chinje of the World Bank will talk in the Gifford Annex Lounge about the World Bank in 21st century Africa. Gifford Hall is on Hepburn Road, off College Street (Route 125);
    • Dr. Seth Appiah-Opoku, environmentalist and visiting assistant professor at the University of Vermont, will talk about the impact of structural adjustment programs on the health delivery system in Ghana, and the roles of indigenous healers. He will speak in Room 117 of the Science Center on Storrs Avenue, off South Main Street (Route 30).

To reserve a seat for any of the four lectures, call Middlebury College symposium coordinator Beth Whitney at 802-443-5936.

At 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Charles S. Finch III, M.D., director of International Health at the Morehouse School of Medicine, will give a lecture titled "African Science: Emerging from the Shadows," in the Geonomics House Library on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125). Finch has made more than 30 trips to Africa, undertaking USAID-funded public health projects and research as well as independent studies in African antiquities, comparative religion, anthropology, and ancient science. He has published more than a dozen articles, essays and books-his latest book is titled "The Star of Deep Beginnings: Genesis of African Science and Technology" (1998). Finch has lectured in more than 600 cities in the United States, Egypt, Senegal, England, Switzerland, Guatemala, Trinidad, and the Bahamas.

At 8:30 p.m. on Friday, the musical group Jabali Afrika from Kenya will perform in the McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road, off South Main Street (Route 30). A multifaceted band, Jabali Afrika musicians use an array of instruments for their own special fusion of African rhythms, blended voices, and dance . Originating from the Kenya National Theater Dance Troupe, the group has performed throughout Africa, winning the Best Traditional Adaptation Award in Kenya in 1994. Featured on the BBC, Radio France, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and Good Morning America, Jabali Afrika has also played in cities throughout Europe, Japan, and the United States-including the Marley Magic Tour in honor of the late Bob Marley. With two CDs available in Europe, the band has recently released its third, titled "Journey," in the United States.

On Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8:30 p.m., "Africa Night in the Green Mountains" will bring the symposium to a close. A dazzling evening of African and Caribbean dance, song, and drama, "Africa Night" will be presented by Middlebury and Mount Holyoke students in the McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road, off South Main Street.

For more information contact Beth Whitney at 802-443-5936.

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, Nov. 12

7:30 p.m. "So, Doctor, What's the Diagnosis?," a presentation of African health-related images and information with commentary by panel of experts: His Excellency Theogene Rudasingwa, Rwandan Ambassador to the United States and pediatrician by profession; World Bank representative Eric Chinje; Dr. Seth Appiah-Opoku of the University of Vermont's International Development Planning Program; and health administrator from Liberia, Vera Cooper. Moderator: Middlebury College African Studies Lecturer David Eaton. Dana Auditorium, Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125).

Friday, Nov. 13

12:30 p.m. Four lectures will be offered at various locations on campus:

  • Rwandan Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Rudasingwa, "Health Issues in Rwanda in the 21st Century," Geonomics House on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125);
  • Vera Cooper, health administrator from Liberia, "Experiences and Insights on Liberian Health Issues," Chellis House on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125);
  • Eric Chinje, World Bank representative, "World Bank in 21st Century Africa," Annex Lounge in Gifford Hall on Hepburn Road, off College Street (Route 125);
  • Dr. Seth Appiah-Opoku, University of Vermont environmentalist and professor, "Impact of Structural Adjustment on the Health Delivery System in Ghana, and the Role of Indigenous Healers," Science Center Room 117 on Storrs Avenue, off South Main Street (Route 30).

4:30 p.m. Charles S. Finch III, M.D., director of International Health at the Morehouse School of Medicine, "African Science: Emerging from the Shadows," at the Geonomics House Library on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125).

8:30 p.m. Jabali Afrika from Kenya, a special fusion of African rhythms, blended voices, and dance, at McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road, off South Main Street (Route 30).

Saturday, Nov. 14

8:30 p.m. "Africa Night in the Green Mountains," an evening of African and Caribbean dance, song and drama, at McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road, off South Main Street.