Fourth-floor exhibit to highlight African Leaders – OHIO University Libraries

Fourth-floor exhibit to highlight African Leaders


Graphic design by Chance Brinkman-Sull/Ohio University Libraries

An upcoming exhibit on Alden Library’s fourth floor will highlight transformational leaders of Africa.

Araba Dawson-Andoh, subject librarian for African Studies and the social sciences, and Dr. Emmanuel Jean-Francois, associate professor of comparative and international education, are co-curating an exhibit titled

“Transformational Leaders of Africa,” which opens April 5 and runs until the end of the spring semester.

“[Through the exhibit, we want to] disseminate information about Africa and increase awareness of transformative events that have changed African societies and communities,” said Jean-Francois. “It is to portray a different image that is positive and challenges some of the stereotypes …”

Dawson-Andoh said the exhibit, which will be located across from the Library’s fourth-floor entrance, includes posters, newspaper articles and images with profiles of 32 leaders from the continent. An exhibit opening is scheduled for April 5 at 5 p.m. and will focus on the background and accomplishments of many leaders, including Kofi Annan, general secretary of the United Nations, and Dr. Christiaan Bernard, the South African doctor who completed the first successful human heart transplant in the world.

“The exhibit is an example of a collaboration among our subject librarians, faculty and students,” she added.

According to Jean-Francois, he and Dawson-Andoh selected leaders from a variety of subject backgrounds—politics, philosophy, literature, art and science, etc.—and regions of the continent.

“[We] want to help people understand that there are many transformational leaders of Africa who have fought, who have taken actions and initiatives, and who have visions that have significantly changed the lives of people in their countries, in their communities and in the world, for that matter,” Jean-Francois said.

Additionally, both Dawson-Andoh and Jean-Francois said the exhibit will highlight many women leaders.

“Most of the time you don’t hear about women leaders of Africa,” Jean-Francois said. “There have been many leaders—several African countries have had a woman president and prime minister—whereas the United States is still struggling for something like that.”

Jean-Francois, who teaches a class about education and development in developing countries, will bring his students to the opening, he said.  Following the 5 p.m. opening, there will be an international trivia night in Alden room 319, as the exhibit is part of the University’s celebration of International Week.

“We want to tell a different, true story about Africa in the exhibit…” said Jean-Francois. “[A story] not too many people would be aware of, because as is often the case with Africa, it is the pity that usually comes to the forefront. Our hope is that the exhibit will trigger people’s curiosity and lead them to dig deeper for the success stories of Africa as well.”