An International conference jointly organized by Princeton Theological Seminary, Howard University School of Divinity, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the University of Liberia (UL) is expected in Liberia.
The conference which will be hosted at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in the suburb of Congo Town is scheduled for October 17 to 19 2022.
The joint initiative is premised on Colonization, Christianity, and Commence The Afterlives of Slavery in the trans-Atlantic World.
Over 300 participants from across the world, including the US, Europe and Africa will form part of the three days event.
In his introductory remarks at a news conference held at the UL conference room on July 25, 2022, the head of the delegation from the United States of America to Liberia, Afe Adogame said the joint conference with the University of Liberia emanates from a historical slavery audit that was conducted at the Princeton Theological Seminary.
He said one of the falls out of the report is that it brought out clearly that there is a strong connection between Princeton in particular and Liberia. The American Colonization Society that was part of the brain behind the returnee slave project has significant imputes from Princeton.
Essentially, he said the meeting is to look at the afterlives of slavery in the trans-Atlantic world and the intercession of colonization including Christianity and commerce
“The essence is to start a conversation that might enable us to explore collaboration exchanges, mutual understanding and mutual learning. And so we are fascinated to be working with the University of Liberia, particularly this year of the bicentennial.
“We are looking at mutual benefits; there is still something that the United States of America needs to learn from Liberia and vice versa. This history of America is incomplete without Liberia, and the history of Liberia is incomplete without America”, he said.
Mr. Afe Adogame during the press conference also said the meeting will be looking that at the end of the conference they hope that there will be a new level of conversation both at the institutional and individual levels.
“One tangible outcome will be that we will have a book published made up of all presentations. The next is to look at what kind of collaboration can we can have, for instance, some of the alumni of Princeton that are in Liberia will be participating in this conference.
” To encourage students participation it is free for Liberian students to attend, they only need to register, he added.
He further remarked that there will also be a collaboration of students and faculty exchanges on different levels, mentioning, “We would like to encourage faculty from UL to visit Princeton and we will as well encourage faculty from Princeton to visit Liberia because of the importance of mutual learning”.
For his part Liberian historian Dr. William Ezra Allen, Chair of the conference noted that the gathering is very important because the founding of Liberia is the consequence of the transatlantic slave trade. The slave trade according to the latest report led to dismemberment in the US of about 10 million Africans, among those Africans were those who returned to Liberia in 1822.
The initiative according to him, will be looking at several aspects, to include several panels. Those panels they trans-Atlantic to organize one from the University of Liberia and another from the Princeton Theological Seminary, noting that they will also set up a panel of clerics from Princeton and alumni of Princeton in Liberia.
We will have guest speakers from the US, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Liberia. We are hoping to bring scholars from the US to participate in this conference, Dr.Allen further remarked.
By: Stephen G. Fellajuah