African Culture Week Celebrates 50 Years Of African Studies At Ohio University

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Ohio University’s African Student Union and African Studies Program have teamed up to sponsor this years African Culture Week.

The week-long event highlights many aspects of African culture such as music, dance, sports and games. Many speakers are featured throughout the week, including human rights activists Elsa Chyrum. The African native will conclude African Culture Week with her lecture on Sunday.

While African Culture Week takes place each year, this year is especially important to the African Studies Program as it celebrates 50 years at Ohio University.

Since it’s inception in 1964, the program has continued to attract a growing number of undergraduate students.

Steve Howard, African Studies Program Director, has developed a strong passion and fascination for the African culture.

After graduating college Howard joined the Peace Corps and taught high school students in Chad, located in central northern Africa. During his two years here, Howard said he was “infected with the African bug,” figuratively speaking. He then decided he wanted to teach about Africa back in the states and has been doing so for the past 27 years at Ohio University.

Howard feels that American students benefit in a number of ways by learning about Africa and its culture.

“As Africa’s wealth, influence and political clout grows, Africa plays a stronger role in the way the world operates,” he said. “So it’s important for Americans to be aware of that.”

He says the program has been an important addition to the university’s academics over the past 50 years.

“I think African studies has played a great role in terms of making Ohio University a very diverse campus in offering many opportunities for our American students to learn about another part of the world in an intimate way.”