International activists, academics gather in Richmond to discuss big ideas

Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Richmond, B.C. –  Next week, scholars and students from around the world will share their ideas on how to develop intellectual, social, economic and cultural opportunities for people of African heritage, and how to engage the global African community to make those opportunities happen.

The third biennial Kwame Nkrumah International Conference (KNIC) – named after Ghana’s first president who helped lead the country to independence – will have anti-apartheid activists sharing their front-line experiences, and world-renowned academics weighing in on the state of South Africa today.

Among them is Dr. Thabo Msibi, a South African gay rights activist, who will discuss homophobia in Africa. The talk is timely given recent media coverage of people in Africa and Eastern Europe being persecution because of their sexual orientation.

UBC Professor Emerita Dr. Kogila Moodley and SFU Professor Emeritus Dr. Heribert Adam will also present their recent research on xenophobia in South Africa, Germany and Canada.

The event will be held over the course of three days, August 20-22 at the Melville Centre for Dialogue on Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Richmond campus. It will also showcase cultural performances by an international drumming group and singing from a former member of the renowned Soweto Gospel Choir.

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the conference will also include an inaugural Nelson Mandela lecture by Jay Naidoo, a minister in Mandela’s cabinet who was at the forefront of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid. He was also recently voted one of the top 100 most influential Africans.

The talk is part of a special “Tribute to Mandela" which will take place next Thursday, and is sponsored in part by the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA).

“As someone rightly noted, Nkrumah was the Mandela of the ‘60s. Both leaders symbolize two different, yet interconnected phases of African liberation and independence. While Nkrumah spearheaded the African independence struggle in the sixties, Mandela inspired the anti-Apartheid movement, which led to South African independence 20 years ago,” said Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, chair of KPU’s department of sociology.

“Both were international statesmen who fought for human dignity, social justice and equality for all, irrespective of colour, ethnicity, religion, gender or country. Both were Pan-Africanists who sought to unite people of African descent in their struggle for political, economic, and cultural development and empowerment. It is therefore only proper and fitting that we the organizers decided to honour and celebrate Mandela and the country he led to independence at this conference, the theme of which is: 'Re-engaging the African Diaspora: Pan-Africanism in the Age of Globalization.'

The tribute will include anti-apartheid activists and scholars who will discuss Mandela's legacy, as well as share their experiences in exile and prison.

“Mandela has inspired oppressed people throughout the world, and become a universal symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation. This conference attempts to understand his historical role, and critically analyze his legacy of greatness and limitations, and their impact on post-apartheid South Africa,” explained conference co-chair Dr. Wendy Royal.

Jointly organized by KPU, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, one of the goals of the event is to continue to build bridges between the global South and North, and between academics and non-governmental organizations.

This year’s conference follows the highly successfully inaugural Kwame Nkrumah International Conference (KNIC) held at KPU in 2010, also funded by SSHRC. The second biennial KNIC was held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Sciences and Technology in Ghana in 2012.

WHERE: Melville Centre for Dialogue, KPU Richmond, 8771 Lansdowne Road
WHEN: August 20- 22
INFO: Ticket and conference information can be found at

WHERE: Melville Centre for Dialogue, KPU Richmond, 8771 Lansdowne Road
WHEN: Thursday August 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
TICKETS: Tickets are $25 for the morning session (9a.m.-1p.m.) or $40 for the full day plus lunch.
INFO: For more information, visit To reserve tickets, contact Dr. Wendy Royal ( or Dr. Charles Quist-Adade ( 

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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