The role of the Diaspora in rekindling our true Republican status
- 7:00 pm
09 August 2022
Online | Free
On 18 February 1965, The Gambia was granted internal self-government status (which today is referred to as ‘Independence Day’) with a Governor appointed by the Queen of England.
The Gambia, the smallest mainland country in Africa with a population of less than 500,000 people in 1970 went through a referendum that year to become a Republic on 24 April. The changes resulted in the creation of the post of President to replace Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, thus eliminating the post of Governor-General.
Barbados went through a similar process. After forming part of the short-lived West Indies Federation in 1958, Barbados became ‘independent’ from the United Kingdom in 1966 with a Governor General appointed by the Queen of England. Fifty-five years later, Barbados, with a population of less than 400,000, completed its transition to Republican status on 30 November 2021, cutting ties with the British monarchy with the first Female President Dame Sandra Mason.
Given such similarities in their historical evolution and the current debates surrounding questions of ‘independence’ and ‘sovereignty,’ the organisers of Mboka Festival, deem it fitting to celebrate the Republican status, of The Gambia as it passes its 50-year celebration of being a republic with a sister Republic nation in the Caribbean by organising a panel discussion of prominent Gambians and Barbadians on the topic: ‘Role of The Diaspora in Rekindling Our True Republican Status’. One of the objectives in doing so is the interest of the diaspora – not only of Gambians but of the significant number of diasporic Africans who reside in The Gambia from the Caribbean via the UK, and the USA who desire to be more involved in the development of The Gambia which includes a deep interest in its governance. What can we learn from each other?
NB: This event is running across three time zones:
- GMT: 4 – 6pm
- BST: 5 – 7pm
- AST: 12 – 2pm
Register to attend here
Confirmed Speakers include:
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI). He is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment.
Sir Hilary is a director of SAGICOR Financial Corporation PLC, the largest financial company in the Caribbean region, Chairman of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), the former chairman of The University of the West Indies Press, Chairman of the Caribbean Community [CARICOM] Commission on Reparation and Social Justice, President of Universities Caribbean, an editor of the UNESCO General History of Africa series and a Director of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre. He has also served as an advisor to the UN World Culture Report and Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations on Sustainable Development. He is a past Vice President of the International Task Force for the UNESCO Slave Route Project and a past consultant for the UNESCO Cities for Peace Global Programme.
He has received numerous awards, including Honorary Doctor of Letters from Brock University, the University of Glasgow, University of Hull, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, in recognition of his major contribution to academic research on transatlantic slavery, popular culture, and sport. In 2017, the Town of Hartford in the state of Connecticut (USA), declared 21st March, “Sir Hilary Beckles Day” in recognition of his global contribution to social justice and human equality. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Award for global advocacy, academic scholarship and intellectual leadership in support of social justice, institutional equity, and economic development for marginalised and oppressed ethnicities and nations.
Under his leadership as Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, the institution established a fifth Campus – the Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda, and debuted in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Ranking in 2019 when it was ranked in the top 4% of the world’s best universities. In 2021, The UWI was ranked among the top 1.5% of universities ranked globally by the THE.
Sir Hilary has lectured extensively in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas and has published over 100 peer reviewed essays in scholarly journals and more than 20 academic books.
Mr. Hassoum Ceesay will speak on: The Gambia’s historical reality from Colonialism to Republican status.
Mr Hassoum Ceesay is one of The Gambia’s leading historians and currently Director General, National Centre for Arts and Culture, Banjul, The Gambia. He was curator of The Gambia National Museum from 1999 to 2008, curating numerous arts and ethnography exhibitions. He gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in 2003. From January 2008 to August 2008, he was Deputy Permanent Secretary and Director of the Press Office for President Jammeh. In 2009 he gained a MA in African History from the University of the Gambia. In 2010 he was Lead Researcher on a UNESCO study of cultural rights in the Gambia. He was Director of the Copyright Office, The Gambia. His latest book is Masters and Servants: Gambian Chiefs in Colonial Rule (1894-1965).
Honourable Halifa Sallah will speak on: Lessons from the Gambia’s historical ties with the Diaspora and how this influenced the road to a Republican Status.
Halifa Sallah MP is a member of the National Assembly representing Serekunda, and the Secretary-General of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS). He served as a spokesman and advisor to President Adama Barrow during the 2016 presidential election campaign until 2017, when he decided to run as a National Assembly member for his party. In 2002, he was elected to the House of Representatives, serving until 2007. During that time, he served as Minority Leader. Halifa Sallah has also served in the Pan-African Parliament and written widely on the political and the socio-economic development of The Gambia and that of Africa. He is known internationally for his progressive stand as a Pan-Africanist. Honourable Halifa Sallah will speak on: Lessons from the Gambia’s historical ties with the Diaspora and how this influenced the road to a Republican Status.
Photo credit: Fernando Pereira/Anefo – Sir Dawda Jawara, who ruled Gambia for more than 30 years as prime minister and then as its first president after independence from Britain. He died aged 95 in August 2019. “a champion of international peace, justice and human rights,” and the founding father of “one of Africa’s few successful parliamentary democracies”.