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African Students’ Union to host second politics colloquium

By Rosie Connor, For The Miami Student

The second annual African Politics Colloquium will take place at 5 p.m. Nov. 13 in Pavilion C of the Armstrong Student Center. Miami University's African Students' Union (ASU) has invited Charles Romain Mbele to speak about neoliberalism, development and poverty in the Central African country of Cameroon.

Mbele is the Chair of the Philosophy Department at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, a community graduate school in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.

"It is a great opportunity for students to listen to a new speaker about a new topic and have a completely new and enlightened perspective on the world," said Kimberly Agyekum, the special events chair of the ASU. "Usually people study abroad to become more culturally diverse, but now a piece of the study abroad experience is coming to you."

Last year, the Ambassador of Senegal visited campus for the inaugural African Politics Colloquium, but president of ASU Lorraine Kudayah decided to change it up this year and invite a professor to speak at the event.

To select the guest speaker, the president and the ASU faculty adviser, John Cinnamon, narrowed down the potential speakers and had the organization's executive committee vote for the final candidate. Cinnamon and Mbele worked closely together in Cameroon several years ago, which is how the ASU was able to host him at Miami this year.

In addition to the relationship between Cinnamon and Mbele, the help from the Family Special Events Fund solidified Mbele's visit to Miami.

"Professor Charles Mbele already had a trip planned to visit a conference in Indiana, so we asked him if he would like to make a pit stop while in America," Kudayah said. "We are very lucky to have him here."

The ASU has been on Miami's campus for many years and currently has over 40 members, including students from the U.S., China and Africa.

The organization works to promote awareness of the diverse cultures within the continent of Africa. The group strives to build bridges with other communities, organizations and programs to give students, staff and faculty the opportunity to discuss the issues of Africa, and host culturally rich events on campus.

"Joining the ASU is a great way to learn in depth about the politics, culture and people of Africa, while meeting new people from all over the world," Kudayah said.

Anyone with an interest in African affairs is welcome to attend the free event, Kudayah said; however, the ASU especially marketed the event toward the international studies, political science, French and black world studies departments.

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Kudayah said she hopes the second Annual African Politics Colloquium will promote cultural awareness to the Miami campus.

"I want people to attend the event because it teaches politics and shows new perspectives about Cameroon," she said, "but it also introduces topics about what is currently going on in the world along with the continent of Africa."