Category: diversity

African American Choral Ensemble: 25 Years


A special concert upcoming:

The University of Georgia African American Choral Ensemble will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reunion concert April 12 at 7 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.


"There is a lot to celebrate at this concert," said Gregory Broughton, the ensemble's director and associate professor of music in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. "Some outstanding leaders and musicians have come out of this group."

UGA students originally founded the African American Choral Ensemble in 1972 as the Pamoja Singers, named after a Swahili word for "together." Two years later, the program spawned the Pamoja Dance Company, a student organization that celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Our campus and university has come a long way in terms of building a diverse student body over the last quarter century. There remains a long way to go to open up more opportunities across a broader spectrum of Georgia and American society for people of color, of various religious faiths, of different sexual orientations. But it what we do and who we are as a country, and nowhere is this more telling than our arts traditions, established as well as new. The African American Choral Ensemble is a great tradition at UGA and we are proud to celebrate this wonderful anniversary.

Franklin Visiting Scholar: Jennifer Fluri


fluri exteriorThe Franklin College Office of Inclusion and Diversity Leadership brings to campus visiting feminist political geographer Jennifer Fluri from Dartmouth to give an important talk on gender, security and violence in south and southwest Asia:

Fluri, an associate professor of geography and chair of the women's and gender studies program at Dartmouth College, will discuss "The Beautiful ‘Other:' A Critical Examination of ‘Western' Representations of Afghan Corporeal Modernity."


Fluri's research focuses on the geography, politics and economics of gender, security and violence in conflict and post-conflict societies. Her lecture will look at the role of the female body, gender and the Western ideal of beauty during and after the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. Fluri examines how the female body is used to reconstruct new forms of political meaning, social value and economic opportunities in post-conflict Afghanistan.

"Gender, security and violence are tightly linked in post-conflict societies, such as those in southwest Asia," said Amy Trauger, an assistant professor of geography and Fluri's host during her visit. "International aid, popular representations of Afghan women and capitalism work together to create a post-conflict nationalism that may not empower the most vulnerable populations. Dr. Fluri will share some new insights from her research in these areas."

March 17 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 214 of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center. Free, open to the public and not to be missed.

Franklin Visiting Scholar: Diversity in STEM Education


Mike SummersUGA welcomes Michael Summers, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland, to present a public lecture promoting STEM education among minority students on Jan. 30 at 2:30 p.m. in Masters Hall at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. Summers' lecture - and separate presentation on his research - is sponsored by the Franklin Visiting Scholars Program:

Summers' STEM lecture is titled, "The Meyerhoff Scholars: Successful Programs for Preparing a Diverse STEM Workforce." The Meyerhoff Scholars Program, a scholarship support program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County started in 1989, provides financial assistance, mentoring, advising, and research experience to African American male undergraduate students committed to obtaining Ph.D. degrees in math, science, and engineering.

"This lecture will appeal to students contemplating a career in science, technology, engineering or math; faculty involved in teaching STEM subjects, faculty and administrators creating infrastructure to support diversity in STEM education; and anyone with an interest in partnering with the Meyerhoff Program," said Jim Prestegard, Eminent Scholar Professor in the department of chemistry and host for Summers' visit to UGA.

Image: Michael Summers, courtesy of the HHMI at UMBC.

Learning About Islam in America


421px-Muhammad_Ali_Avenue_Newark,_NJ.jpgThe Office of Institutional Diversity has organized an important discussion on Islam in America for Friday, Oct. 18, part of OID's Dialogues in Diversity lunchtime series. Integrating Bias and Emotion into Learning about Islam in America will be led by associate professor in the department of religion Alan Godlas:

Discourse about Islam in America evokes strong feelings and often conflicts with individual and collective biases. Rather than excluding such emotions and biases from cultural diversity learning, these emotions and biases can be utilized as rich resources on which to build a more scientific, humanistic, and emotionally intelligent learning environment. This dialogue will provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to discuss strategies for exploring worldviews and emotionally charged issues that may involve or conflict with biases.

Lunch will be provided and the series is free, but registration is required. rsvp to to make sure you are a part of this event. Too often we might be swayed in the direction of fear toward our fellow citizens, when our cultural diversity is actually among our greatest strengths. Listen, learn, take part in this opportunity to broaden your understanding.

Friday, October 18, 2013
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Tate Student Center – Reception Hall

Image: corner of Muhammad Ali Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr., Boulevard in Newark, NJ, via Creative Commons attribution.


Hispanic Heritage Month


1928 The Dancing from Tehuantepec paintingIn 1968, President Lyndon Johnson established Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize and celebrate the cultures of Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Spanish-speaking regions and countries of Central and South America. The week long event was expanded to 30 days in 1988 by President Reagan and National Hispanic Heritage Month is now celebrated annually from September 15- October 15. UGA will present events throughout the month the highlight the rich culture that forms such an important part of the vibrant American fabric:

Sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute, an area studies unit of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the month-long celebration held nationally from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 honors the contributions of Hispanic-Americans in the U.S. while highlighting the diverse heritage and cultures of Latin America.

The celebration will begin with the annual LACSI Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta on Sept. 13 from 3-6 p.m. in the LACSI office at 290 S. Hull St. The fiesta will include live music performed by the Athens Tango Project, Aztec dance and music performed by Chicahua Yolotli, martial art demonstration by Capoeira and traditional Brazilian food.

The list of activities is detailed at the link. Take advantage of these wonderful opportunities to enjoy and celebrate the food, language, music and art of Central and South America.

Image: Diego Rivera Dance in Tehuantepec (Baile in Tehuantepec), 1928.

Defining the mix


Unity_in_Diversity facesDiversity on campus can be construed as a conundrum, wrapped around an enigma, especially when we approve the goals but are not quite convinced about the means to achieve them. Absent a clear acceptance of the policies to promote ethnic, socio-economic and/or geographical diversity among the student population, the goals and benefits thereof remain murky and mired in controversy.

Networking advice


Our own Kecia Thomas, psychology professor and senior advisor to the dean in the Franklin College Office of Inclusion and Diversity Leadership, will take part in an interview on Minnesota Public Radio, giving advice on the importance of networking for young minorities:

Kecia Thomas, author of "Diversity Dynamics in the Workplace," wrote about mentoring as a key to minority success in professional environments. "Mentoring relationships provide critical personal and professional development opportunities throughout one's career," she observed. "These relationships are especially important for racial minorities who often lack access to informal networks and information that is required to be successful in academic and professional environments in which they are under-represented."

You can listen to the interview from link on March 14 at 10 am EST. Congratulations, Dr. Thomas.


3000 years of human occupation


Caroline_Islands-mapThe department of anthropology will host a very interesting public lecture on January 18, one that brings guest lecturer Scott Fitzpatrick from the University of Oregon to campus to discuss human activity and biological diversity on the Western Caroline Islands of Micronesia:

The Palauan archipelago--considered to be on of the most ecologically diverse regions of the world-- is located in the northwest tropical Pacific and consists of hundreds of different island types, ranging from ones larger and mostly volcanic, to the much smaller atolls and uplifted limestone "Rock Islands". Just offshore from the largest island of Babeldaob lies the small, nondescript island of Orrak where archaeological research began over a decade ago at the Chelechol ra Orrak rockshelter. Somewhat surprisingly, the site has revealed an astounding array of human activities, from its use as one of the oldest burial sites in the Pacific dating back to ca. 3000 BP, to subsequent use as a campsite and later as a limestone quarry for Yapese islanders to carve their famous stone money.

25th Anniversary of African Studies Institute


African continent, with colors and designs.Beginning Nov. 1, the University will mark the 25th anniversary of the African Studies Institute with a conference, theatre performances, film screenings and lectures to showcase the richness and diversity of the continent:

"The political, economic and cultural importance of Africa continues to grow, which makes this an especially opportune time for faculty, staff and students as well as community members to learn more about the continent and its people," said Akinloye Ojo, director of the UGA African Studies Institute and associate professor of comparative literature and African studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The 25th anniversary celebration will include an international conference Nov. 8-10 in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The conference, titled "Africa and its Diaspora: Expressions of Indigenous and Local Knowledge," will encourage and document the ongoing conversation on the paradoxical dynamics of preserving the unique identity of African indigenous and local knowledge in an increasingly globalized and westernized world. The conference will offer a forum for intensive exchanges between scholars, researchers and technocrats from various disciplines who study Africa, the African Diaspora, the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

The conference also will bring several ambassadors from African nations—including Cote D'Ivoire, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe—together to discuss the African continent and the African diaspora on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in Masters Hall of the UGA Hotel and Conference Center. Renowned poet and scholar Tanure Ojaide, professor of Africana studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will deliver the keynote address on Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

Broadening diversity by strengthening the sciences


The reality of underrepresentation of various ethnicities in particular fields, whether it is biology or linguistics, is an effective way of framing diversity issues. But outside of its sociological ramifications, making any field more-representative has the added bonus of funneling more people and building more expertise in those fields, and expanding the volume of expertise is an important indirect benefit.

This is not to downplay the importance of diversity itself, which is considerable; it is crucial for kids to see others like themselves enjoying prominence and success in every field and occupation - it's how we create aspirations and ambition. But it appears that the National Science Foundation is on to at least two tracks of potential benefits with the Diversity Climate Network:

Faced with a number of growing challenges in the recruitment and retention of students to the geosciences and climate sciences, a group of professors at the University of Vermont ( UVM), the University of California-Los Angeles ( UCLA) and the University of Georgia (UGA) recognized the need to increase students' exposure to these disciplines. This is important in ensuring these science fields are appreciated as offering truly viable career options. The problem they are dealing with is not limited to one particular geopgraphic area; it spans both metropolitan and rural areas.