African scholar to visit KSU to discuss overcoming conflict with poetry, friendship

Matt Merchant

Kent State students will have the opportunity to hear from a Senegalese scholar Thursday and Friday.

Alphonse Raphaël Ndiaye, a resident scholar from Boston University, will discuss “the ways in which ethnic groups in Senegal and other parts of West Africa use friendly jokes about one another in order to avoid conflicts,” associate English professor Babacar Mbaye said.

Ndiaye is the director of the Léopold Sédar Senghor Foundation, a UNESCO-affiliated organization that seeks to preserve and enrich the cultural heritage of Africa through art, literature and education.

“Students will have a real image of Africa from an African scholar who lives and works on the continent,” Mbaye said.

Using traditional Senegalese poetry, music and literature, Ndiaye plans to teach students how to overcome cultural conflicts using friendship, kinship and humor. This technique, Mbaye said, has allowed African cultures to develop friendships despite ethnic differences.

During the Friday workshop, students will have the opportunity to learn about Léopold Sédar Senghor, “a renowned world poet and friend of many African-American writers of the Harlem Renaissance period,” Mbaye said.

A reception will be held at 5:15 p.m. outside the first-floor gallery in Oscar Ritchie Hall on Thursday, and the lecture will start at 7 p.m. Friday’s workshop will take place in Room 250 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Contact Matt Merchant at [email protected].