Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Austin, Texas, Africa Conference and Madonna.

The Africa in World Politics Conference in Austin, Texas was one of the best conferences I have attended on Africa. It might be because there were no lawyers there, I cannot be sure.

The conference had may interesting panel discussions that were robust and exceedingly honest. The attendees were from all over the World. I did get to spend some time with a history scholar from Kenya. His research considers land management in rural Kenya in the 1930's--fascinating.

Austin is awesome, of course. The food was authentic African. (except at the banquet). African music and dancing (by us participants) was fun. The attendees were genial and the discourse lively. LOTS of academics from Nigeria prompting LOTS of animated dialogue!

My presentation went well. I sought some input on a PhD chapter that I have concluded needs more historical analysis on the establishment of stock exchanges in East Africa. It was well attended. There was an amazing presentation after mine by Prof Rhonda Gonzales, from UT-San Antonio. Her research area is Ancient History and she makes it seem very relevant for us today.

Finally, the Board for Madonna's charity in Malawi, Raising Malawi has been dismissed. Her organization is being sued from wrongful termination. The charity was meant to start a state of the art girls school but has failed to make much progress. Maybe Sean Penn had the right idea when he moved to Haiti. Madonna has not made much progress throwing money at her school idea.

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