VCU Celebrates Mali Independence, Raises Awareness of Humanitarian Crisis
University Public Affairs
Grammy nominated Malian artist Cheick Hamala Diabaté and Malian rap artist Super Nova will perform at Virginia Commonwealth University on Saturday, Sept. 22, in celebration of Mali Independence Day.
The artists will perform in the Richmond Salons of the University Student Commons, 907 Floyd Ave., beginning at 4:30 p.m., followed by an address from His Excellency Almaamoun Baba Lamine Keita, ambassador to the United States, on “The Global Security Situation in the Sahel Region” at 6:15 p.m.
Earlier in the afternoon, lectures will be held in the Student Commons Theater on “Social Justice and Humanitarian Efforts in Mali,” presented by Patricia W. Cummins, Ph.D., professor of French, and “Conflict in North Mali and Religious Issues Across National Borders,” presented by Robin E. Poulton, Ph.D., senior fellow of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, at 1 p.m. Both lectures will be delivered in English and in French with handouts provided by Cummins’ French 300 class.
Saturday’s array of events marks the 52nd anniversary of the West African nation’s independence from France in 1960. After decades of social and political stability, an insurgency began in January 2012, led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a political and military organization based in northern Mali, which led to a coup d’état in March by seizing control of the country’s presidential palace. To date, more than 320,000 civilians have fled the nation seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
Aside from celebration, this event aims to raise awareness and donations for the humanitarian crisis in Mali. It is free and open to the public.
Malian Independence Day Event is hosted by VCU’s School of World Studies and the College of Humanities and Sciences' Department of African American Studies in partnership with the nonprofit organization, Virginia Friends of Mali.
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