The African and African American studies program at George Mason offers students several community outreach opportunities as well as opportunities to meet with distinguished scholars.
On April 9, 2009, Dr. Ali Mazrui visited George Mason as the highlight of the program's 2009 "African Initiative."
An author of more than 20 books about Islam, globalization, the Diaspora, politics and more, Mazrui is also the director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton.
He created a television series The Africans: A Triple Heritage, which was jointly produced by BBC, PBS and the Nigerian Television Authority.
During his lecture at Mason, Mazrui argued that racism is receding, but that cultural prejudice is increasing. He also said that there is a difference between a post-racial society and post-racism society.
Much of Mazrui's lecture focused on two concepts, which he identified as "Africans of the blood" and "Africans of the land."
"While many students and professors at Mason had a lot to say about Dr. Mazrui's concepts, his lecture is the beginning of an important dialogue at Mason about race and African identities in the 21st century," said Wendi Manuel-Scott, the director of the African and African American Studies program.
Mazrui's visit to Mason is one of many opportunities for students at Mason to better understand the experiences of people of African descent throughout the African Diaspora--from the African continent to the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe.
In addition to a minor, students have access to the African and African American Studies Research and Resource Center. They can also connect with a research-minded group of faculty that is using technology to reflect on history and build community outreach programs.
Through partnerships with community organizations, businesses and schools, the African and African American Studies program looks to make last contributions to the local community.
Other outreach activities of the programs include providing group tours and mentoring workshops for the "Men on a Mission" program, which targets black males at the Dominion High School, located in Sterling, Virginia. The program has led to a 50-percent drop in the failure rate for that student group over the last two years.
African and African American Studies program also provides lectures/workshops for the Saturday Leadership Academy. The Saturday Leadership Academy is a group-based mentoring program for African American males in grades 8-12 that meets every other Saturday.
May 28, 2009