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Ahmadou Kourouma Conference

 Ahmadou Kourouma Conference

On December 10th 2004, marking both the eve of the first anniversary of Ahmadou Kourouma’s death and International Human Rights Day, the Ph.D. program in French in collaboration with the Africa Research Group and The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies held a roundtable discussion entitled: Ahmadou Kourouma: A Conversation about His Work and Human Rights Legacy in Africa. This event brought together keynote speaker, Boniface Mongo-Mboussa (Columbia University in Paris), and roundtable participants, Sylvie Kande (SUNY Old Westbury and New School), Cilas Kemedjio (Rochester University), J. Michael Turner (Hunter College, CUNY), and Corinne Dufka (Human Rights Watch) to discuss contemporary human rights issues in Africa in light of Kourouma’s literary works.

Professor Mongo-Mboussa’s theoretical discussion, Ecrire par devoir d’humanité, was complemented and developed more specifically by panelists’ remarks. Topics included female genital mutilation, rape, caste systems, historical discourses and cultural relativism. Comments on recent human rights concerns in Africa, notably in Kourouma’s native country, Côte d’Ivoire, also provided a frame that linked theory with practice.

Doctoral students of the French program involved in the human rights and international issues curricular option are grateful to the sponsors and participants who contributed to the success of this event. It was a dynamic intellectual encounter that exposed the points of convergence and the problems of such interdisciplinary work.