Professor plans trip to Ghana for Pan-African Conference

The Tallahassee and African Sister Cities Coalition, Inc.’s 2007 Cultural and Educational Tour will take place in Ghana to celebrate the country’s 50th anniversary of independence, and participate in the 2007 Pan-African Conference.The trip will take place from June 27 – July 15.

FAMU history professor Willie Butler, one of TASCC’s founders who organized the trip, said he hopes while in Ghana, the students selected will become culturally enlightened through various experiences and participation in the conference.

The conference, which will take place at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, has not been held for the past 13 years, but Butler said he has positive expectations for the conference.

“They are going to have a life-changing experience,” said Butler, who lived in Ghana from 1982 to 1984. “I guarantee it.”

Butler plans to take students around Africa to tour the countryside, see the slave castles, which still stand in Africa, and experience the environment of an African university.

“(African students) are all about business, and that’s what I want our students to see,” Butler said.

While at the university, the students will be taking part in the week-long Pan-African Conference, which is from July 1 – July 7.

The concept of Pan-Africanism, as Butler explained, was developed by W.E.B. DuBois and is a theoretical framework to liberate Africa with the idea that “we are all Africans.”

During the conference, diplomats and scholars from all over the world will be presenting papers dedicated to Pan-Africanism.

While there, Butler will be presenting his paper, “The Impact of Independence on Ghana: The Legacy of Kwame Nkrumah,” which deals with Pan-Africanism and Kwame Nkrumah’s impact on its movement in Ghana.

Students interested in going with Butler and the TASCC must fill out applications in the history department on the fourth floor of Tucker Hall.

The applications are due Feb. 1.

Only those who apply in time and are chosen can help in the fundraising effort.

The money raised will be split among the students who want to attend.

The coordinator of the fundraising effort is Alexander Harris. The 21-year-old business administration senior from Chicago has been helping the TASCC since last semester.

Harris is attempting to target sponsorship from religious organizations, doctors, lawyers and various black-owned businesses.

“(The trip to Ghana) is a remarkable opportunity for my fellow collegiate scholars,” Harris said.

Although he will not be able to attend because of a summer internship, Harris said he still feels obligated to help raise money for the trip.

“It’s all about giving back,” Harris said.

As the fundraising facilitator Harris said he hopes to help students interested in traveling to Africa.

He said many people want to go to Africa but are not given the opportunity.

“Anyone who has an opportunity to go to Ghana should feel blessed and privileged to go,” Student Government Association Vice President Monique Gillum said.

Gillum, a political science student from Gainesville, said people disassociate themselves with Africa because of their misconception of it as being full of tribes and other stereotypes.

She said the trip is an amazing opportunity, and all blacks should visit Africa before they die.

In order to prepare for the trip to Ghana, Butler decided to take the spring semester off from teaching.

Butler said there is nothing more uplifting than for other blacks to see people who look like them.

Butler said when students go, if they are willing to “embrace the environment, the cultural difference, relax and go through the veil, students will be absolutely shocked.”

A meeting will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. in Tucker Hall Room 200 for those interested in attending the trip.

Students who do not make the application deadline may still attend but must fund themselves.