The Chinua Achebe Foundation has announced that on December 10, 2013, at Bard College, United States of America, President John Dramani Mahama of the Republic of Ghana will deliver the first Chinua Achebe Leadership Forum Lecture, a statement posted to The Neighbourhood Wednesday by Dr. Chidi Achebe, President and CEO at African Integrated Development Enterprise Inc, said.
The Chinua Achebe Leadership Forum is being organized as a high profile international platform to discuss Africa's challenges in keeping with Professor Chinua Achebe’s life’s work. The theme for the gathering this year is Africa's Future: Hopes and impediments – inspired by Professor Achebe's work. President John Dramani Mahama’s lecture is entitled: "Women in Africa: How the Other Half Lives."
Immediately after the lecture there will be a round table discussion with the President, Honourable Nana Oye Lithur, who is the Republic of Ghana’s Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection; and three other panelists including the moderator. Title/Subject of the round table discussion is “The Role of Women in the Development and Democratization of Africa.”
The statement said in part, “this important event will tackle clearly one of the great challenges facing the African continent.”
President Mahama's lecture is sponsored by Bard College President's Office, Bard College Center for International Affairs and Civic Engagement, the Achebe Center at Bard and the Chinua Achebe Foundation
About Chinua Achebe and the Chinua Achebe Foundation
“One of the great literary voices of all time, Professor Chinua Achebe was also a beloved God-fearing husband, father, uncle and grandfather, whose wisdom and courage are an inspiration to all who knew him.”
Professor Chinua Achebe was born in eastern Nigeria on November 16, 1930, to Isaiah Okafor Achebe and Janet Achebe. His father Isaiah Okafor Achebe was a catechist for the Church Missionary Society and along with his wife travelled throughout Eastern Nigeria to spread the gospel. That Christian upbringing would not only later mold Professor Achebe’s thinking and worldview, but would profoundly inspire these writings.
After an early education in British styled public schools and university in colonial Nigeria, Professor Chinua Achebe became an author of over twenty books – poetry, novels, children’s books, essays, and political as well as literary criticism. He is probably best known internationally for the trio of novels globally recognized as “the African Trilogy” – “Things Fall Apart, No Longer at ease and Arrow of God.” Of the trio, “Arrow of God” is considered his magnum opus, and his first novel “Things Fall Apart” – the most widely read book in modern African literature - which depicts the collision between British rule and traditional Igbo culture in his native southeast Nigeria; is considered a world literary masterpiece and is studied across the globe in high schools and colleges. In 2012 he published his memoirs There was a country – which earned him a spot on Foreign Policy magazine’s list of Top 100 Global thinkers of 2012[iii] for “forcing Africans to examine their demons.”[iv]
Professor Achebe is credited as the major 20th Century Literary voice to bring African culture and literature to the rest of the world. A statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South quoted Nelson Mandela as referring to Professor Chinua Achebe as a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down.” Professor Achebe established the Chinua Achebe Foundation in the early ‘90s. Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the foundation has worked tirelessly to promote peace through the arts; showcase Africa complex cultural heritage to the world while recapturing lost components of African fine art, literature and languages.
Through his work as the editor of the African Writers Series, published by England’s Heinemann publishers, “the series served as a vehicle for whole generation of African writers, ensuring an international voice to literary masters including Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Steve Biko, Ama Ata Aidoo, Nadine Gordimer, Nuruddin Farah, Buchi Emecheta and Okot p'Bitek.”
For intermittent periods, Professor Achebe lived and worked as a professor in the United States, lecturing widely and teaching in universities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York - at Bard College for over fifteen years - and most recently at Brown University in Rhode Island.
During his long and distinguished career, “Achebe was the recipient of over 40 honorary degrees from universities in England, Scotland, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and the United States, including Brown Univesity, Dartmouth College and Harvard University. He has been awarded the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, an Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1982), a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2002), the Nigerian National Order of Merit (Nigeria's highest honor for academic work), the St. Louis literary award, and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade amongst others. The Man Booker International Prize and The Medal of Honor of The National Arts Club both in 2007 and the 2010 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize are three of the more recent accolades Achebe received.”
Professor Achebe also earned a powerful reputation as a leading critic of graft and misrule in his native Nigeria and twice refused one of that nation’s highest honors Commander of the Federal Republic, in 2004 and 2011 in protest. In addition, Professor Achebe wrote extensively about racial and ethnic bigotry and leaves behind a reputation as one who lived as a formidable advocate for the “least amongst us” – the down trodden, powerless and voiceless everywhere.
About Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as St. Stephen's College, is a private liberal arts college in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. The College President is Leon Botstein, who is a world renown educator, American conductor and scholar. Bard's rural main campus is located near the town of Red Hook in the Hudson valley of New York State.
Building on a 150-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College’s mission has expanded across the country, around the world, and to meet broader student needs.
courtesy - The Nigerianneighbourhood