ACAS organizes petition to President Obama on Democratic Republic of the Congo

12 December 2012

Today, 221 academics and scholars of Africa in the United States sent a petition to President Obama to take action to protect civilians in the conflict zone of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The petition was released by the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (ACAS), since 1977 a national organization of professors and other specialists on Africa.

The press release quoted Noah Zerbe, political scientist at Humboldt State University and co-chairperson of ACAS: “According to the International Rescue Committee, with more than 5 million killed in this disordered nation in the last 14 years, the conflicts there are the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II, yet it has not had the attention it needs.”

The scholars are calling on President Obama to take bilateral actions and actions through the United Nations to protect civilians in the conflict zone of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Specifically, the petition calls on the President to use U.S. influence at the UN to provide the MONUC forces with the mandate and resources to protect civilians, to sanction Rwanda and Uganda for any support to militias there, to use the SEC to enforce the Dodd-Frank Act on conflict minerals, and to fully implement the “Obama Act” of 2006 on the Congolese Army for their contributions to the disorder.

Scholars who would like to join ACAS in policy-oriented research and action on this issue and other issues concerning the U.S. military role in Africa may contact David Wiley (, chair of the ACAS Demilitarization Task Force.

ACAS meetings at African Studies Association (ASA) conference – November 2012

19 November 2012

2012 marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars! ACAS is holding a strategic planning session on Wednesday, November 28 at 8:30-10:30 pm in Room 413 of the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Hotel in Philadelphia, in conjunction with the African Studies Association (ASA) annual meeting. The ACAS annual business meeting is on Thursday, November 29 at 8:30 pm in Salon K.

ACAS and the ASA Current Issues Committee are co-sponsoring a Roundtable on Friday, November 30 at 2:30: The 2012 American Elections and their Implications for U.S.-Africa Policy, chaired by Elizabeth Schmidt

ACAS is sponsoring three panels:
IX-E-6 (Sat 8:30 am) Research Frontiers: Analyzing African Land Grabs, with Carol Thompson as Chair and Jeanne Koopman as Discussant

XI-N-27 (Sat 2:30 pm) Militarizing Africa: Historical Perspectives (Part I), Chaired by David Wiley

XII-N-28 (Sat 4:30 pm) Militarizing Africa: African Studies, AFRICOM, & Current US Security-Focused Foreign Policy (Part II), Chaired by David Wiley

New teachers’ resource on Kony 2012 campaign

24 April 2012

A resource for teachers, React and Respond: The Phenomenon of Kony 2012, is now available on the ACAS webpage Resources on Uganda, the LRA, and Central Africa. The teachers’ packet is written by Barbara Brown (Boston University Africa Studies Center), John Metzler (Michigan State University Africa Studies Center), Patrick Vinck (Program for Vulnerable Populations at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative), and Christine Root (ACAS). Please share it with social studies teachers in your community. We also have been adding other materials to this ACAS Resources page.

Agra Watch protests at Gates Foundation

28 March 2012

Agra Watch is in the news, with Associated Press covering its public protest at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation calling on the Foundation to sever its ties with Monsanto. Agra Watch was formed in 2008 to monitor and question the Gates Foundation’s participation in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

New ACAS resources on Uganda and the LRA

27 March 2012

ACAS has created What Can We Do about Uganda and the LRA? for use with high school and college students who are the main audience of the Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign. See our new webpage, Resources on Uganda, the LRA, and Central Africa.

ACAS releases statement on the LRA and Central Africa

14 March 2012

ACAS has released a statement and accompanying press release expressing its deep concern that the recent campaign in the United States to pursue and arrest Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), could have dangerous unintended consequences. Expanding U.S. military operations with the Ugandan army to capture Kony could increase the militarization of the region and lead to deaths of civilians who are caught in the crossfire or become targets of retaliatory attacks by the LRA, as has occurred in the past.

ACAS also is producing materials that scholars can use to engage with students on their campuses and with teachers and middle and high school students in their communities, who are a major audience of the Kony2012 video produced by  Invisible Children.

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Two critical essays on the Invisible Children’s Kony2012 campaign

9 March 2012

Two useful essays on African Arguments Online with a critical perspective on the “Kony2012” video by Invisible Children:

“#StopKony2012: For most Ugandans Kony’s crimes are from a bygone era” by Angelo Izama. a Ugandan journalist and writer who founded the human security Think Tank, Fanaka Kwawote based in Kampala, and “The Problem with Invisible Children’s ‘Kony 2012′”  by Michael Deibert, a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies at Coventry University and author of the forthcoming Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (Zed Books)

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Critique of “KONY2012” Video by Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire

9 March 2012

This short video from Rosebell Kagumire, a Ugandan journalist, is an eloquent, coherent, and well-informed critique of the Invisible Children video, “Kony2012″. Read more from Kagumire at her blog.

The explosion of interest in this video this week has reignited the controversy about the Obama administration decision in October 2011 to send 100 US Africa Command (AFRICOM) soldiers, armed and with permission to kill, as “advisors” to support the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army.

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SIGN PETITION: US Aid to Ethiopia Supports Forced Relocations for Land Grabs

13 February 2012

The ACAS Task Force on Land Grabs urges you to sign a petition to President Obama and USAID administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah to stop your tax money financing land grabs, forced removals of pastoralist peoples, and “cultural transformation” in Ethiopia.
Go to the petition (click on “Petition” tab to see text).

This initiative is from the Oakland Institute and Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE).

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News of ACAS at 2011 ASA meeting

21 October 2011

Thursday, November 17 at 9:00 pm is the scheduled time for the 2011 ACAS annual meeting, in the Jefferson Room at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel (2660 Woodley Road, NW) in Washington, D.C. in , at the African Studies Association annual meeting. All interested scholars are welcome.

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