Dear ASWAD Members and Friends,

Happy New Year! Everyone in the ASWAD Family is excited about the coming of a New Year, and in that spirit, we are already working hard to advance the organization.

As many of you already know, one of our goals for 2018 is to revitalize our committees in an effort to expand and strengthen the important work we do. During the ASWAD Business meeting in Seville, I outlined a vision for our new organizational structure and promised that I would be contacting the membership to recruit volunteers. The promised moment has arrived, and I am very hopeful that you will step forward to give service to ASWAD. We are looking for volunteers for 7 committees: Membership, Fundraising, Mentoring, Academic Prizes, Social Media, Outreach and Engagement and Public Policy. Detailed descriptions of each committee are listed below. Please contact our Graduate Assistant, Joan Flores, by February 2 at: aswaddiaspora@gmail.com to indicate which committee you would like to join. ASWAD Board members have already volunteered for each committee and will be working with you to implement the committee’s work. The list of Board assignments is here, but we need YOU to step forward and help ASWAD achieve our goals!

Thank you for your service and dedication to ASWAD, we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warmest wishes for a wonderful 2018!

 

Membership — This committee will work to expand and diversify our membership, particularly in terms of discipline and geographic representation. From the beginning, ASWAD was envisioned to be an organization that would have broad membership from scholars and activists across the Diaspora, and from a wide range of disciplines. We have had considerable success in this regard, but we still have much work to do to broaden our diversity in the membership and in the leadership.

 

Fundraising — In collaboration with our Treasurer, this committee will focus on grant writing, the capital campaign, and other fundraising strategies to help us define and reach our financial goals.

 

Mentoring — Our colleagues—at all levels and ranks in the profession—are facing numerous challenges in their institutions and I’d like to see ASWAD play a role in helping people cultivate meaningful mentoring relationships in order to successfully navigate the academy.

 

Academic Prizes — The Prize committee will create a Book Prize and an Article Prize to acknowledge important scholarly contributions to African Diaspora Studies. It is essential for us to identify and celebrate the works that WE feel are important and significant, rather than allow others to define that for us…

 

Social Media — We need technologically inclined people to step forward so we can create a stronger online presence, and I’d even like to see us develop a blog.

 

Outreach and Engagement — I’d like ASWAD to have a meaningful presence beyond the academy, and to reach beyond the so-called Ivory Tower to make a significant impact in our communities. For example, I’d like to see ASWAD engage with organizations and activists in the cities where we hold our conferences (or where we have previously held conferences) so that we leave a lasting impact on the places we go.

 

Public Policy — This committee will respond to and articulate our political perspectives on global issues. For example, in the past year, the ASWAD Executive Board issued formal statements:

  • Expressing solidarity with the global Black Lives Matter Movement
  • Declaring opposition to the wave of racism and xenophobia following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
  • Opposing the U.S. Executive Order on Immigration, and
  • Opposing the global spread of white nationalism

 

Leslie M. Alexander, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of History
University of Oregon

President, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)

Executive Board Member, National Council for Black Studies (NCBS)


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