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© IFAN Informati'k

 


PRESERVING AFRICAN CULTURAL HERITAGE
FIRST CIRCULAR LETTER

The Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire (IFAN) and the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar are pleased to announce the 13th Congress of the Panafrican Archaeological Association for Prehistory and Related Studies (PAA). This Congress will take place from November 1st to 7th 2010.
This is the second PanAfrican Congress to be held in Senegal. In 1967, the University of Dakar and IFAN hosted the 6th PanAfrican Congress just after the first World Festival of Negro Arts, making an overall cultural and scientific event of exceptional magnitude. We still remember, with emotion, that it was at the 6th PanAfrican Congress that the discoveries in the Omo Valley were revealed for the first time on a large scale. As President Senghor, reminded us at the opening ceremony: “With its free way of life, Homo sapiens operated beyond the limitations imposed by its environment.” And since we enjoy symbols, the 13th PanAfrican Congress will again take place after the 3rd World Festival of Negro Arts, which is also being hosted in Senegal for the second time.
The goal of the organizing committee is to make this 13th Congress not only an African, but also a worldwide event. To make this possible we will capitalise on the immense capacities offered by the New Technologies Information Centre (NTIC). Our new campus, UCAD II, and the various sections of the University Cheikh Anta are well equipped to host the congress.
We also hope that this 13th Congress will be a unique moment to recast and consolidate the role and place of the PanAfrican Congress in the definition of a new humanism which will have as its ethos the preservation of the heritage of cultural diversity. There is no doubt that archaeology has challenged those evolutionary and diffusionist ideologies that downplayed
the African role in the development of the human genius.
The discrete but particular contribution of our discipline in the rewriting and re-evaluating of the African past remains underestimated. In this regard this 13th PanAfrican Congress should be a moment for retrospect and re-evaluation. It is very appropriate that 2010 coincides with the start of a decade of 50th Independence anniversary celebrations for African countries.
To mark this we will look back at 50 years of archaeological achievement in independent Africa and, look forwards to ask questions such as: What are the prospects for African archaeology in this increasingly globalizing century in which cultural, economic and political boundaries have been considerably narrowed but in which the African continent still faces major challenges?
Besides our basic scientific and academic concerns, we hope that the spirit of the PanAfrican Congress will be embodied in a head office and a permanent secretariat, and will become part of the cultural life of the continent, with a presence in all regional organisations. To make this possible we will need to reflect on the synergies needed to promote African cultural resource management. We must work closely, for example, with local land managers so that the preservation and valorisation of archaeological heritage is routinely taken into account.
Our Association must necessarily and urgently respond to ongoing changes on the continent. This includes the unbridled exploration and exploitation of minerals and energy resources, rapid urbanisation, irrigation, the expansion of facilities for tourism along with other development activities that are impacting negatively on African archaeological resources.
In this perspective, the Dakar Scientific Committee of the 13th PanAfrican Congress will propose a series of topics for the different sessions of the Congress. Needless to say that, for the time being, these are just suggestions. Others are encouraged to contribute. The collected suggestions will then be refined and consolidated within a final draft programme that will be attached to our second circular.
We look forward to your joining us in Dakar in November 2010 for the largest and most engaging PanAfrican Congress to date.
For further information please contact the following address:

Panaf/Safa2010
Laboratoire d’Archéologie
IFAN Cheikh Anta Diop
BP : 206 DAKAR – Senegal
Tel : (+221) 33 825 98 90
Fax : (+221) 33 824 49 18
Mail  :
panaf2010@ucad.sn