Keynote Speakers

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante is Chair and Professor, Department of African American Studies at Temple University. Considered by his peers to be one of the most distinguished contemporary scholars, Asante has published 70 books, among the most recent are An Afrocentric Manifesto, The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony, Cheikh Anta Diop: An Intellectual Portrait, Handbook of Black Studies, co-edited with Maulana Karenga, Encyclopedia of Black Studies, co-edited with Ama Mazama, Race, Rhetoric, and Identity: The Architecton of Soul, Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation, Ancient Egyptian Philosophers, Scattered to the Wind, Custom and Culture of Egypt, and 100 Greatest African Americans. The second edition of his high school text, African American History: Journey of Liberation, 2nd Edition, is used in more than 400 schools throughout North America.  Asante has been recognized as one of the ten most widely cited African Americans. Asante was born in Valdosta, Ga., one of sixteen children.  He graduated from Oklahoma Christian College in l964 and entered Pepperdine soon afterwards, completing his M.A. there  in l965. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA at the age of 26 in l968 and was appointed a full professor at the age of 30 at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He chaired the Communication Department at SUNY-Buffalo from l973-1980. He worked in Zimbabwe as a trainer of journalists from l980 to l982. In the Fall of l984 Dr. Asante became chair of the African American Studies Program at Temple University where he created the first Ph.D. Program in African American Studies in 1987. He has directed more than 140 Ph.D. dissertations and written more than 300 articles and essays for journals, books and magazines. He is the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity.  In the 1990s, Black Issues in Higher Education recognized him as one of the most influential leaders in the decade. The Utne Reader called him one of the "100 Leading Thinkers" in America. In 2001, Transition Magazine said "Asante may be the most important professor in Black America." He has appeared on Nightline, Nighttalk, BET, Macnell Lehrer News Hour, Today Show, the Tony Brown Show, Night Watch, Like It Is and 60 Minutes and more than one hundred local and international television shows. He has appeared in several movies including 500 Years Later, The Faces of Evil, and The Black Candle. In 2002 he received the distinguished Douglas Ehninger Award for Rhetorical Scholarship from the National Communication Association. The African Union cited him as one of the twelve top scholars of African descent when it invited him to give one of the keynote addresses at the Conference of Intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora in Dakar in 2004. He was inducted into the Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent at the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University in 2004. Dr. Asante holds more than 100 awards for scholarship and teaching including the Fulbright, honorary doctorates from three universities, and is a guest professor at Zhejiang University.

Samia Nkrumah Yaba Christina Nkrumah is a Ghanaian politician and Chairwoman of the Convention People's Party. In the 2008 parliamentary election, she won the Jomoro constituency seat and recently became the first female to chair a political party in the country. The daughter of the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah and his Egyptian wife Fathia Rizk, she is considered one of the most popular African women leaders.  She was born at Aburi in the Eastern Region of Ghana in 1960, but was forced to leave Ghana with her mother and brothers on the day of the 1966 coup. They were resettled in Egypt by the Egyptian government, but returned to Ghana in 1975 at the invitation of General Acheampong's National Redemption Council government.  She however left the country again when her mother decided to return to Egypt in the early 1980s. She proceeded to London, later completing her studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London in the United Kingdom, where she obtained the degree of Bachelor Arabic Studies in 1991. She also completed a Master's degree at the same institution in 1993. Samia is an icon and role model for young people in the country, and she interacts with them frequently as a basis for engaging and influencing them on her “one nation, country first” approach.  She believes this will serve national cohesion, and thus ensure peace and stability in the long term. Parallels are already being drawn between her and "Yaa Asantewaa"-the fabled Ashanti Empire heroine, for her bravery, and in more contemporary times, Sonia Gandhi of the Congress party in India. An impressive public speaker, fluent in Arabic, Italian and English, Samia has long been put in the spotlight by the international press. . In an article about her, titled “The new Mandela is a woman” the prestigious American newspaper, the Huffington Post, describes and analyses Samia's impact on Ghanaian and African politics. She is one of the founders of Africa Must Unite which aims to promote Kwame Nkrumah's vision and political culture.

Jay Naidoo Naidoo is regarded as one of the top 100 most influential Africans according to the New African. He is Chair of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in Geneva.  He recently joined the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation established to promote African development through a focus on promoting good governance. He serves in an advisory capacity to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). From 2003 -2010 he served as deputy chair and trustee of ‘Lovelife’, a nongovernmental organization leading the fight to prevent HIV/AID through education and mobilization. From 1994 to 1999, Jay was the Minister responsible for South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in the Office of the President before becoming the Communications Minister in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet. He was the founding General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) where he served three terms (1985 to 1993). He was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid leading the largest trade union federation in South Africa. Jay Naidoo started studying a BSc at the University of Durban Westville in 1975 to be a medical doctor but his studies were interrupted by the political turmoil at the time because of student uprisings. He became active in SASO the South African Students Organization that was banned in 1977 just after its leader Steve Biko was murdered in police detention.  He has received many international awards.  He has recently returned to full time voluntary work. He recently published his autobiography, ‘Fighting for Justice’.  Married to Lucie Pagé, a French Canadian writer and journalist, Jay considers his three children, Shanti, Kami and Léandre, his greatest achievement.

Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh

Yvette M. Alex-AssensohYvette M. Alex-Assensoh is Dean of the Office for Women's Affairs (OWA) for Indiana University Bloomington and associate professor of political science and adjunct associate professor of African American & African Diaspora Studies. She holds a B.A. degree (Summa Cum Laude) from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana; M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, USA; and a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) law degree (with honours) from Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. She is a licensed Attorney in the State of Indiana. Professor Alex-Assensoh's research examines the impact of social and economic contexts on political behaviour. She teaches courses in the fields of political behaviour, racial and ethnic politics and urban politics. Her published books and edited volumes include Neighborhoods, Family and Political Behaviour (1998), Black and Multiracial Politics in America (2000) and African Military History and Politics (2001). Her research essays have been published in Journal of Politics; Urban Affairs Review; PS: Political Science and Politics, and also in edited volumes. Over the years, her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Spencer Foundation, National Academy of Education, and the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIE/Fulbright). An Alumnae of the Ralph Bunche Institute for Political Science, Professor Alex-Assensoh served, for three years, as the Book Review Editor for Urban Affairs Review and, currently, for the Netherlands-based Journal of African and Asian Affairs. She also served as an Executive Council Member of the American Political Science Association's Urban Politics and Race, Ethnicity and Politics sections. Currently, Professor Alex-Assensoh is serving as a member of the American Political Science Association's Committee on Civic Engagement as well as a member of the Committee on the Status of Blacks in the Profession. Her current research is a book project, which explores how social and economic contexts influence civic engagement among American youth, with an emphasis on high school seniors. Her forthcoming co-authored book, on immigration in the USA, is being published by University of Michigan Press.

George J. Sefa Dei

Ghanaian-born George Sefa Dei is a renowned educator, researcher and writer. He is a highly sought after academic, researcher and community worker who has appeared on several radio and television shows worldwide speaking about his work.  He is widely considered one of Canada’s foremost and pioneering scholars in the area of anti-racism and equity studies. He received his first degree at the University of Ghana, Legon (1978); MA at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (1980) and his PhD at the University of Toronto (1986). His professional and academic work has led to many Canadian and international speaking invitations in US, Europe and Africa. He has been a keynote speaker at several international conferences in North America, Europe and Africa. Currently, he is [Full] Professor of Sociology and Equity Studies, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT).  He served as Head of the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at the University from 2002 to 2007. For the 2007 – 2008 school year, and between June – December 2010, he was a Visiting Professor at the Centre for School and Community Science and Technology Studies (SACOST), University of Education, Winneba, Ghana and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Otto/Ijanikin, Lagos State, Nigeria.  He was been made an Honorary Fellow of SCOST in 2009.  Between 1996 and 2000 he served as the first Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the University of Toronto.  His teaching and research interests are in the areas of Anti-Racism, Minority Schooling, International Development, Anti-Colonial Thought and Indigenous Knowledges Systems. Professor Dei has published extensively in the area of anti-racism education, minority schooling, African education, international development and Indigenous Knowledges.  He has twenty-two books and over a hundred and fifty refereed journal articles and book chapters to his credit. In 2010 alone he released the following four books:  ‘Teaching Africa: Towards Transgressive Pedagogy’, Springer Publishers, New York, 2010;   ‘Fanon and Education: Pedagogical Challenges’, (co-edited with Marlon Simmons) Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 2010; ‘Fanon and the Counterinsurgency of Education’, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2010; and  “Learning to Succeed: Improving Educational Achievement for All’, Teneo Press, New York, 2010. In 2011 he released an edited International Reader on “Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education”, published by Peter Lang Publishing, New York, a book which continues to receive much international acclaim. His forthcoming book, ‘Contemporary Issues in African Science Education’is co-edited with Professor Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw, Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba and Professor Kolawole Raheem of the University of Finland and SACOST, University of Education, Winneba.

Dr. Hakim Adi

Dr Hakim Adi (Ph.D SOAS, London University) is Reader in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at Middlesex University, London, UK., and currently a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow. He is a founder member and formerly chair of the Black and Asian Studies Association. Hakim is the author of West Africans in Britain 1900-60: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Communism (Lawrence and Wishart, 1998) and (with M. Sherwood) The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited (New Beacon, 1995) and Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (Routledge, 2003). He has appeared in documentaries and radio programmes, and has written widely on the history of Pan-Africanism, the African Diaspora, and Africans in Britain, including three history books for children.

D. Zizwe Poe

Professor D. Zizwe Poe is a social scientist and historian by academic training.  He earned a PhD and an MA from Temple University in  Africalogy.  He also earned his BA in Afro-American Studies and an MA in Social Sciences Interdisciplinary from San Jose State University (SJSU).  His Temple University PhD dissertation focused on Kwame Nkrumah and his specific contribution to the development of Pan-Africanism as a movement.  This dissertation was later published as a book first by Routledge and in a later paperback edition by the University of Sankore Press (2009).  After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Poe became a professor at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, Nkrumah’s Alma Mata. There, Poe continued to publish articles on Nkrumah and Pan-Africanism while teaching African and African-American history. Dr. Poe has written seven chapters in scholarly books, 14 encyclopedia entries, and six articles in scholarly journals.  He currently sits on the board of two scholarly journals and has served as an on-screen consultant for the History Channel’s, The Spanish American War: First Intervention. Dr. Poe also worked for Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s brainchild, the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, for more than a quarter of a century after being introduced to the organization by the late Kwame Ture. While in that organization, Dr. Poe spent the majority of his time working within its Political Education Committee.. Poe has also participated in a number of African Union conferences and other Pan-African conferences organized by the Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement.

AB. Assensoh

AB. AssensohAB. Assensoh is Professor of African-American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS) at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. At the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (UMES), he held the Richard A. Bernstein Professorship for 2003–4. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from New York University, USA. Also, for three years (2004-2007), Dr. Assensoh served as Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions in the AAADS Department at Indiana University. He did postdoctoral work in peace studies at the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, UK.  His published books are about Ghana's late President Kwame Nkrumah; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the USA civil rights movement; human rights; decolonization in the Third World; and peace studies. He and Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh serve as book review editors for African and Asian Studies Journal, of Leiden, The Netherlands. Their most recently-coauthored book is African Military History and Politics, 1900–Present (New York: Palgrave Division of St. Martin's Press, 2001). He is also the Book reviews Editor of Africa Today Journal (Indiana University Press publication). Articles by A.B. Assensoh and Alex-Assensoh have appeared in the Journal of Politics, West Africa Magazine, American Historical Review, the Journal of Black Studies, Proteus and New African Magazine of London, UK. Currently, Dr. Assensoh is working on a book on Ralph Bunche and the UN's Decolonization Committee.

Handel Kashope Wright

Handel Kashope Wright has been variously Canada Research Chair of Comparative Cultural Studies and David Lam Chair of Multicultural Education and is currently Professor and Director of the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education, University of British Columbia   Prof. Wright is co-editor of the book series African and Diasporic Cultural Studies (University of Toronto Press), Associate Editor of the media and cultural studies journal, Critical Arts and serves on the editorial board of several cultural studies and education journals including the International Journal of Cultural Studies, the European Journal of Cultural Studies, Topia,  the Canadian Journal of Education and  Postcolonial Studies in Education.  He is the author of A Prescience of African Cultural Studies (Peter Lang Publications, 2004) and has published extensively on continental and diasporic African cultural studies, cultural studies of education, critical multiculturalism, anti-racist education, qualitative research and curriculum theorizing.  His most recent co-edited books include Africa, Cultural Studies and Difference (co-edited with Keyan Tomaselli, Routledge, 2011); Transnationalism and Cultural Studies (co-edited with Meaghan Morris, Routledge, 2012) Precarious International Multicultural Education (co-edited with Michael Singh and Richard Race, Sense Publications, 2012)His current work is on youth and belonging in (post)multicultural communities and issues of African and Black identity and identification and includes The Promised Land: History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent and Beyond (co-edited with Boulou de B’beri and Nina Reid Maroney, in press, University of Toronto Press) and Black British Columbia: Past and Present (co-edited with Afua Cooper,  forthcoming, Fernwood Press).

Dr. Kofi Anyidoho

Poet, literary scholar, educator, and cultural activist, Kofi Anyidoho is Professor of Literature, Director of the CODESRIA African Humanities Institute Program, former Ag Director, School of Performing Arts and former Head of the English Department, University of Ghana. His published works include five collections of poetry in English, a children’s play in Ewe and English, two CD & cassette recordings of his poetry in Ewe. His GhanaNya CD presents Anyidoho as a poet-singer, his voice alternating with that of his late mother, Abla Adidi Anyidoho, herself a poet-cantor in the Ewe oral tradition. Author of many scholarly essays, he has edited major books on African literature and culture. Anyidoho has won many prizes for his poetry. Other distinctions include visiting professorships at various colleges and universities, among them Barnard College, Columbia University, Colorado College, Swarthmore College, Indiana University – Bloomington, Northwestern University, and El Colegio de Mexico - Mexico City. He has performed his poetry and lectured in many parts of the world. A Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and past President of the North America-based African Literature Association [ALA], he was recently appointed first occupant of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies at the University of Ghana.

Boulou Ebanda de B’béri Ebanda de B’béri is the Founding-Director of the Audiovisual Media Lab for the study of Cultures and Societies ( and a Professor of Communication, Media, Cultural Studies at the University of Ottawa. Some of his recent publications includeGlobal Perspectives on the Politics of Multiculturalism in the 21st Century (with F. Mansouri), Routledge, 2014; The Promised Land: History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent’s Settlements and Beyond, (with N. Reid-Maroney & H. K. Wright), University of Toronto Press, 2014; Le Verbe au CinemaAfricAvenir-LAMAC&S, 2013;The Afropessimism Phenomenon (with & E. Louw, CRITICAL ARTS. Vol. 25(3) Routledge/UNISA, 2011; and Les "Cultural Studies" dans les mondes francophones.  University of Ottawa Press, 2010. Prof. Ebanda de B’béri is the Principal Investigator of the Promised Land Project, a million-dollar research, funded by the Social Science and Humanity Research Council of Canada, focusing on studying the impact of black history in Canada’s nation building.