Posted: October 19, 2006
Deepening the connections between people, community, and the earth is what grounds the vision of Mount Holyoke's Center for the Environment, which will cosponsor the Five College African Scholars panel discussion, "Human Dimensions of Environmental Change in Africa: Examples from Kenya, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast," Tuesday, October 24, at 7 pm in Gamble Auditorium.
Featured speakers will be Alfred Babo, an economist from Côte d'Ivoire; Adeyinka Banwo, an historian from Nigeria; and Anne Mumbi Karanja, a social scientist from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. They will discuss the state of the environment in their native countries and present ongoing research.
Facilitating this discussion will be Girma Kebbede, MHC professor of geography and an expert on ecological problems and their relationship to social, economic, and political development issues in Africa.
"The African urban environments are under constant stress due to the pressures of poor environmental infrastructure, rapid population growth, and inadequate planning controls," Kebbede said. "The majority of the African urban population is badly housed and lacks basic services. Housing, water supply, sanitation services, drainage, transport network, and health services have not been able to keep pace with the prevailing urban growth rates. I expect that the panelists will discuss the extent and nature of environmental problems in urban areas of Kenya, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast and point to the political causes that underpin many of the urban problems."
By providing residency fellowships, the Five College African Scholars Program is dedicated to supporting the research of individual scholars from Africa, strengthening partnerships among scholars in Africa and the United States, and enriching the study of Africa. The Center for the Environment wants students to develop a critical understanding of the interactions between people and environmental systems. This event will give students the chance to explore social, cultural, historical, political-economic, and scientific dimensions of environmental concern, and enable them to make direct connections between academic studies and real-world issues, problems, and solutions.
Before the event, which is cosponsored by the Five College African Scholars Program, there will be a reception starting at 6:30 pm. The event is free, open to the public, and accessible to all.