Feb. 29-March 1: Theme of Minnesota State Mankato’s 48th Annual Pan African Conference is Essay by bell hooks: ‘Homeplace: A Site of Resistance’

February 15, 2024 | News Story

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s 48th annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Conference, scheduled for Feb. 29-March 1 in the University’s Centennial Student Union, invites participants to “explore how they are cultivating, nurturing and affirming safe spaces and groups as a collective form of resistance, transformation and reclamation.”

The conference is open to the public. The public registration cost is $75 ($50 for non-Minnesota State Mankato students). Registration is free for Minnesota State Mankato students and employees. Complete registration information for the conference is available at www.mnsu.edu/panafricanconference.

Feb. 29 events include a preconference reception, student art gallery and music, and March 1 events include keynote speakers and presentations. A complete schedule is available here. Keynote and featured speakers, in order of their presentations, are listed below. Detailed speaker information is available here.

The pre-conference on Thursday, Feb. 29 will feature two speakers, Andriel Dees and Stacy Wells, who will engage in a shared dialogue during the pre-conference social. Dees is the vice chancellor for equity and inclusion for Minnesota State. In her role, Dees serves as the primary advisor to the chancellor on issues of equity and inclusion and provides guidance and oversight for the system’s Equity 2030 imperative. Wells is the chief health equity director-direct care and treatment for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The conference keynote speaker is Nadia Mohamed, mayor of St. Louis Park, Minnesota. She is scheduled to present Friday, March 1 from 9-9:50 a.m. According to a conference preview, Mohamed is the first Somali-American mayor in the United States and the first Black mayor of St. Louis Park. Before becoming mayor, she served a four-year term as an at-large council member in St. Louis Park. She was honored with the St. Louis Park Human Rights Award for her four-year involvement in the St. Louis Park Multicultural Advisory Committee.

Speaking Friday, March 1 during Concurrent Session I in the morning will be Jakia Marie, a Black studies scholar and currently an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and program coordinator of the African/African American Studies program at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. According to a conference preview, her work theoretically and empirically explores the nuances of Black identities across the U.S. and globally.

Speaking Friday, March 1 during Concurrent Session II in the afternoon will be Rashida K. Fisher, who according to a conference preview has more than 17 years of expertise in clinical counseling and supervision, counselor education, coaching, consultation and training services. She is the founder of Ujima Healing and Consulting and is currently an associate faculty member and serves as dean of the counseling program at Adler Graduate School in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Media interested in covering the conference may contact BalenciaSariah Crosby, interim director of African American and Multicultural Affairs at Minnesota State Mankato and chair of the 2024 Pan African Conference, by phone at 507-389-6207 or by email at balencia.crosby.2@mnsu.edu.)

The Pan African Conference is committed to developing and enhancing the leadership skills in collegiate Black young adults, as well as provide opportunities for academic scholars, professionals and community members to discuss issues that affect descendants of Africa on a local, national and international level.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,635 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 26 colleges and seven universities.

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