06 September 2012

VFOM Welcomes Malian Ambassador to Richmond!

  dege!     ɲɛnajɛ!    fɛɛrɛ!

Virginia Friends of Mali presents is annual Celebration of Mali Independence Day

Please join us on Saturday, September 22nd for an afternoon and evening of learning, celebration and planning!
Co-sponsored by the VCU Departments of World Studies and African American Studies
this 2-part, multi-faceted program will offer bi-lingual - French : English - materials and presentations on the history, culture, music, social and political issues, and current events

Part One: 1-4 pm in the VCU Commons Theatre
Presentations on Malian history, culture and social issues in French and English by Dr. Patricia Cummins (World Studies) and Dr. Robin Poulton (VFOM and World Studies) for VFOM members and VCU faculty and students. Welcome by VCU College of Humanities Dean James Coleman.

Part Two: 6-8 pm in the VCU Commons Virginia Salons A-D
We are pleased to welcome a special presentation by the Malian Ambassador to the US, M. Almaamoun B. L. KEITA, on the Global Security Situation in the Sahel Region.
There will be savory Refreshments by Goree African Restaurant and centers of information in French and English covering the history of Mali, VFOM, travel programs, Women's issues, annual cultural festivals... and a Concert of world reknowned, traditional and innovative Malian musician ...Cheick Hamala DIABATE and Malian Rap Artist, Super Nova! You will not want to miss this!

Please RSVP via the Facebook event or email.

This event is free to the public.
Donations to the Virginia Friends of Mali are tax deductible, welcome and appreciated!

Learn more about
Virginia Friends of Mali at www.vafriendsofmali.org
Cheick Hamala Diabate at www.cheickhamala.com
Malian Embassy in DC at www.maliembassy.us/

02 August 2012

Mali's Refugee Crisis Sparks Visit by Segou Mayor

M. le Maire, Ousmane K. SIMAGA, arrived in Richmond the evening of 24 July, 2012 for a 7-day mission of urgency from his hometown of Segou MALI. The northern rebellion and March 22 coup d'etat have resulted in a burgeoning crisis in the north that is driving Malians of all ethnicities from their homes into neighboring countries and southwest into the cities along the main road toward Bamako, and beyond. Segou, a city of 135,000, has so far received more than 7,200 displaced men, women and children from northern cities, Summary of Number of Displaced Persons in Segou (22 March - 20 July), which is roughly equivalent to Richmond receiving 11,000 people. Click here for Mali and Overview of Crisis.

To ameliorate the situation which also pressures local residents' capacity to remain self-sufficient, the city of Segou is asking for immediate assistance:
1) Direct financial contributions through the Virginia Friends of Mali to support their 3 top needs: food, medical treatment and the continued schooling of displaced children
2) Contributions to raise the $24,000 needed to implement Project CURE - a shipping container filled with $450,000 worth of medical equipment, supplies, and medications. Read the talking points here: Mali and Project CURE 
Journalist Michael Paul Williams spent Monday afternoon, July 30, with Mayor Simaga discussing the situation in Mali and its impact on Segou. Click the link below to read the column:
Michael Paul Williams: Sister city in Mali needs help from usRichmond Times DispatchAfter lunch with world studies faculty at VCU and an afternoon confab with Mayor Dwight C. Jones, the mayor of Ségou, Mali, visited a truck salvage yard in search of vehicles and spare parts to ship home. Operational trucks to transport trash are but ... 
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to Segou MALI to provide food, medical and educational assistance to the internally displaced families and/or Project CURE container of medical supplies, please use one of the following:

The PayPal DONATE button on this blog or on our home website, vafriendsofmali.org.
Send your check, payable to Virginia Friends of Mali (with "Segou MALI Humanitarian Assistance" OR "Segou Project CURE" written on the memo line), to Virginia Friends of Mali, Post Office Box 4363, Richmond, Virginia 23220 USA

16 July 2012

3 musician/griots talk about Mali's crisis

Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate, Djelimady Tounkara on Crisis in Mali - Interviewed by Banning Eyre of AfroPop Worldwide, three Malian griot/musicians give their take on the situation in Mali, 9 June 2012, between sessions at Celebrate Brooklyn in New York.

12 July 2012

Briefing on Mali and the Sahara

Briefing on Mali and the Sahara 
Dr RE Poulton is Vice-President of Virginia Friends of Mali,  Professor of French West African Studies in the VCU School of World Studies, Senior Fellow of UNIDIR in Geneva, Managing Partner of EPES Mandala Consulting. He is the author of five books and many articles on Mali.

  1. Mali in political chaos
  2. There is anarchy in Bamako
  3. There is still hope!
  4. Conclusion: medium optimism
  5. Who are the northern ‘rebels’?
Dr Robin Edward Poulton spoke about Mali, Timbuktu and oil wars in the Sahara on July 3rd, 2012 at the prestigious Royal Society for International Affairs in London (known as "Chatham House" because it is housed in the London mansion of the Earl of Chatham, Prime Minister William Pitt (1708–1778) - a man who supported the position of the American colonies before their revolution against George III). 

Click here to read the full presentation.

27 February 2012

The delegation returns, and goes to the library!

Saturday, March 3 from 3:30-5pm...
Robin Edward Poulton (Macky TALL) and Virginia Vassar (Aissata Daou) 
will speak in costume, with pictures and fun toys from Segou, Richmond's sister city in Mali where the real LION KING came from !

Bring the kids, visit the library, come and hear great music from Mali and find out about Virginia's African Heritage.
  • Dr Poulton came back from Mali and Segou just last week
  • Virginia spent a year in a Malian High School before working in Senegal, on the coast of what used to be the Mali Empire - founded by the original Lion King in 1235 and the subject of history teaching for all 6th grade, 4th grade and 3rd grade students in the Virginia school system.

Learn while you have fun!
See you there !

Richmond Public Library - Main Branch
101 East Franklin Street
Richmond, Virginia   23219

09 January 2012

A little reminder, update, etc.

  • VFOM's first book, Djita - A Malian girl from Virginia / Une fille malienne de la Virginie, is not only published, but has a new flier (attached) with good information for teachers, students, storytellers and friends. Check it out, share it and get your copy today. The introductory sale price is still available at Authorhouse - click the cover image link in the right hand menu of this page.
  • At least 8 VFOM officials and friends will converge on the 2012 Festival On The Niger, 15-19 February, in Segou. What a great event this will be. VCU professor of psychology and chair of the Africana Studies department, Shawn Utsey will be conducting the first Sister City Peep This project with 7 boys and girls; each will learn to make a documentary film and their topic will be the festival that's swamped their city for the last 7 years, Le Festival Sur Le Niger. 
  • AND we look forward to celebrating the completion of the $115,000 water/health/sanitation project to construct latrines and wash stations and a maternity clinic renovation under the African Urban Poverty Alleviation Project grant funding. One of 24 sister-city applicants to receive this funding through Sister Cities International, Segou's project is of the earliest to be completed and will impact the daily lives of tens of thousands of Segouviens annually, including 44,000 clinic patients, 2,000 public market shoppers and 500 municipal kindergartners. Mayber we'll get them to send a video so we can share the joy of the moment.
It's going to be a great week, and instead of stewing in your jealous juices that you're not there this time (like me!), plan your visit. There are ways to dream this dream and make it happen, so don't dismiss it so quickly... you never know.

Looking forward always,

Ana Edwards, president
for the executive committee
Robin Edward Poulton
Allan Levenberg
Dana Wiggins
Lydie Alapini-Sakponou