Every year, the Yale African Students Association (YASA) hosts Africa Week, an opportunity for Yale African students to connect with their home countries and share their passion for the continent with the broader Yale community.
This year, Africa Week will be held from November 6 -12, with the theme ‘Tomorrow in Africa’. The theme embodies the belief that imagining the future of the continent in an intellectual space will help us not only learn about current challenges, but also think about resolutions and opportunities for growth. Africa Week will feature guest speakers, panel discussions, trivia, an inter-collegiate cultural show and an exciting flash mob.
Othmane Fourtassi ’19, Vice President of YASA and chair of the Yale African Students Association’s 2017 Africa Week committee, reflected on the theme of this year’s Africa Week, their inspirations and hopes for the week-long event, and the role of Africa Week within the Yale community.
Can you talk about what Africa Week is, and the inspiration behind this year’s chosen theme?
Africa Week is an opportunity for Yale African students to connect with their home countries and share their passion for the continent with the broader Yale community. This year’s theme is Tomorrow in Africa. We believe that imagining the future of the continent in an intellectual space will help us not only learn about current challenges but also think about resolutions and opportunities for growth. We also hope that this theme will enable us to reflect on our past and dissect our present as a continent.
Africa Week will feature guest speakers, panel discussions, trivia, an inter-collegiate cultural show and an exciting flashmob.
What has been the most exciting and challenging thing about planning this event?
Having to plan and execute a full week of events over a short period of time has definitely been our biggest challenge. However, navigating the different departments at Yale to put the event together has been a great learning experience. I find it immensely exciting to work with the Yale African Students Association board and an external team of 7 committed members from different African countries on this event.
What event are you most looking forward to and why?
I am most looking forward to the diplomatic roundtable with African ambassadors. It is something that we have never done in the past and we look forward to hosting a fruitful discussion with diplomats from different regions on the future of African integration.
What do you hope attendees will take away from the week?
We do hope that Africa Week attendees get a chance to learn as much as possible about Africa as a diverse continent and as a land of opportunities and challenges.
Looking forward, what do you hope the role of Africa Week will be within the Yale Community?
We hope that Africa Week puts more emphasis on African history, culture and complexity in a narrative told by African students. We hope to share the diversity, the passion, the beautiful aspects of African culture that people wouldn’t usually get in the mainstream media. By showcasing cultural performances, we hope to look beyond the negative images of Africa and celebrate the culture. We also want Africa Week to provide the platform for substantial discussions on a wide range of topics relating to the continent.
Like the YASA Facebook page and visit the Africa Week website for a full schedule of events.
Sponsors of Africa Week include the Council on African Studies at the MacMillan Center, the Afro American Cultural Center at Yale, the Office of International Students & Scholars at Yale, and Dalberg.
Friday, November 3, 2017