10/11/05 - Community Invited To "The African Story" Roundtable At Reinhardt College On October 20
College in Waleska, Ga., is inviting the community to learn more about
Africa by taking part in "The African Story" Roundtable on Oct. 20,
2005, from 2:30- 5 p.m. The event will be held on the Reinhardt campus
in the Funk Heritage Center, and the public is invited to attend free of
The roundtable is the third major event in the College's
Year of Africa, a year-long emphasis on African peoples, cultures,
geographies, history and issues. Year of Africa Steering Committee Chair
Dr. Elizabeth Garbrah- Aidoo is confident the audience will enjoy the
five diverse and dynamic speakers. "Through this presentation,
participants will learn of the rich contributions that Africa has
provided the world," she said. "Hopefully, they will leave with a better
understanding and an appreciation of the positive aspects of diversity
and of Africa as a whole"
Soumaya Khalifa, the
founder and executive director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of
Atlanta, will give an overview of Islam. She was born in Egypt and moved
to Texas as a pre-teen with her parents. With a bachelor's degree in
chemistry and an MBA, she is a human resources manager for an Atlanta
Fortune 100 company, and an experienced speaker and community activist.
Dr. Abdullahi An-Naï'im
will discuss "African Constitutionalism." A law professor at Emory
University, he holds numerous advanced degrees including a doctorate in
law from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He served as Executive
Director of Human Rights Watch/Africa 1993-95, before coming to Atlanta.
In addition to editing eight books dealing with human rights and
religion in Africa and the Arab world, he wrote Toward an Islamic
Reformation: Civil liberties, human rights and international law and has
published some 50 articles and book chapters on human rights,
constitutionalism, Islamic law and politics.
Dr. Samuel Abaidoo,
an academic department chair at Kennesaw State University, has
emphasized environmental sociology, social change, technology and
society, and urban/suburban sociology in his teaching, research, and
publications. On the panel, he will address how important elements of
African culture have changed as the country has grown more modern.
"Driven by different imperatives, the sense of community, filial piety,
mutual filial responsibilities in emerging Africa are being transformed,
some may argue, being eroded," he said. "In their place individualized
self-interested tendencies are emerging, especially in the rapidly
expanding urban communities."
Ruth O'Toole will
provide a very personal view of a public political struggle as she
addresses "Colonial Rhodesia to Independent Zimbabwe: A Missionary
Child's Perspective." "Zimbabwe is a country that has experienced much
change and upheaval in the last forty years," she said. "During those
years, marked by a brutal civil war, the deconstruction of colonialism,
and the first steps toward a true democracy, I had a worm's eye view
through the unique lens of a 'missionary kid.' I found myself living
with and between two opposing factions: the white, minority culture,
desperate to hold onto their tenuous grip of power; and the majority
blacks, seeking to free themselves of white rule, all while belonging to
Mohamed Camara, a Reinhardt
senior, will conclude the event as he speaks from personal experience.
His remarks will focus on ethnocentrism, the "habitual disposition to
judge foreign people(s) according to one's own culture" from a personal
perspective, he said. He believes that the average American views the
world in the very ethnocentric way. "The reason I choose to talk about
the American being ethnocentric is because I've been exposed to this the
most during my young adulthood," he said. "I will discuss factual
experiences that I've encountered. I will briefly touch on the
perspective of an outsider looking in and hopefully present some
persuasive ideas and advice to encourage people to support and embrace
diversity and not promote prejudice."