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Symposium will focus on Obama Administration's Africa policy

January 14, 2009

Judy Holmes
(315) 443-2201

Judy Holmes

Two days after President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office, Syracuse University will present "Obama and Africa: Which Way?" a multidisciplinary symposium sponsored by the Africa Initiative in the Department of African American Studies in SU's College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of African Studies at the University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana.

ObamaThe symposium-taking place Jan. 22 and 23-will begin with a keynote address by Patricia Rodney, professor and director of the Master of Public Health Program in the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Rodney will present "Towards a New Health Policy for Africa: Beyond the Limits of PEPFAR" Thursday, Jan. 22, at 5 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium. The lecture-which is free and open to the public-is co-sponsored by SU's College of Human Ecology. Rodney's lecture will critically review how the Bush Administration's health policies have affected Africa.

The symposium-which is free and open to the SU community-will continue at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 23, in the Global Collaboratory, Room 060 of Eggers Hall. Symposium registration is available at the door. Further information can be found on the Web at

The symposium will include a discussion and analysis of past U.S. policy towards Africa and the challenges facing the Obama Administration. Presenters include SU faculty members and invited guests, including Patricia Daley, geography professor at Oxford University; Peter Limb, professor of history at Michigan State University; Merle Bowen, director of African studies at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; William G. Martin, professor of sociology at Binghamton University; and Tolu Odumosu, visiting fellow in the Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Questions that will be addressed include: What does this election mean for oppressed and exploited people in the world? What does an Obama presidency mean for peace and reconstruction? How will Obama's stimulus package affect the global economic climate? Symposium participants will critically examine the new administration's transition plans in the following areas: foreign policy, international economic policy, health and human services, national security, and energy.

The Africa Initiative is a program of the Department of African American Studies in SU's College of Arts and Sciences that focuses on Africa as an important site of knowledge by highlighting teaching, research and publications by SU scholars representing a variety of disciplines, including the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

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