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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived
document may not work.
Africa: APIC/ECA Electronic Roundtable
Africa: APIC/ECA Electronic Roundtable
Date distributed (ymd): 991202
Introductory Note to Readers of Africa Policy Electronic
In our annual survey of readers, one suggestion that has
turned up repeatedly is to provide some more interactive forum
than is possible within the framework of this list. We are
pleased to announce that we have now been able to respond to
this request, and hope that many of you will take advantage of
the new roundtable announced below.
With your help, we hope that in this pilot project we can
avoid some of the problems experienced by many electronic
fora, and experiment with new formats that may be helpful to
others as well.
Many of the obstacles to productive on-line discussion are
structural. Among them are the wide disparity between access
to electronic media in developed countries and on the African
continent and the inherent difficulty in discussing complex
issues among diverse groups of people without the extra
benefit to communication of meeting in person over a drink or
in the corridors of a conference. In some cases the result is
a discussion dominated by a few voices with easy and
inexpensive access to electronic media and time to chat
(Africans or non-Africans living outside the African
continent), or a series of interchanges in which
misunderstandings are multiplied by hostile rhetoric.
We at APIC have tried to take care to maximize the chances of
productive communication in this pilot project. We are not
undertaking this venture alone, but in partnership with the
Economic Commission for Africa and with Bellanet, both
organizations with extensive experience and networks in this
field. The discussion will be moderated, with Dr. AbdouMaliq
Simone taking the role of lead moderator. And each topic will
be introduced by a number of distinguished African policy
The roundtable's success, however, also depends on you the
audience and your contacts. For such a discussion to have
impact on international policy, there must be many listeners.
And many of you have insights on these issues that we hope you
will share -- in the periods allocated for audience
participation. So read the invitation below, sign up yourself
(well in advance of the Roundtable startup in January), and
pass it on widely to your networks.
International Policies, African Realities
This is to invite your participation in "International
Policies, African Realities", an electronic roundtable
co-sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for
Africa (ECA) and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC),
Washington, D.C. The objective of the Roundtable is to
provide an electronic space in which Africans, North Americans
and others can discuss what policy perspectives and
understandings of African reality should shape international
engagement with Africa.
It is to be chaired by Dr. K.Y. Amoako, Executive Secretary of
the ECA, Dr. Julius Ihonvbere, the Ford Foundation, and Ms.
Adwoa Dunn-Mouton, APIC. The principal moderator will be Dr.
AbdouMaliq Simone assisted by Ms. Karin Santi (APIC) and Ms.
Mercy Wambui (ECA) as co-moderators.
The Roundtable will try to use the opportunities opened up by
new electronic communication technologies to come up with new
ways of putting together and conveying African knowledge. It
will experiment with means by which African-initiated content
and perspectives can be projected into policy debates on
African issues taking place outside the continent. It will
build on the innovative ECA electronic conferences preceding
the ECA's 40th anniversary (AFR-FEM, March-May 1998) and the
African Development Forum (June-October 1999), as well as on
APIC's capacity to relay information on Africa to diverse
constituencies within the U.S., Africa, and elsewhere.
The Roundtable will run from January 8 - May 8, 2000, and will
be divided into four month-long sessions. Each session will
focus on a specific theme. The themes include in order:
- Economy and Development,
- Democracy and Human Rights,
- Peace and Security, and
- Education and Culture.
Each session is to be introduced by several panellists,
responsible for opening remarks and interchange before being
opened up to 20 days of comment from Roundtable respondents
and general participants. As with such a panel at an in-person
conference, the selection of high-quality panellists and
giving them an opportunity to speak first will set the tone of
the discussion. During the three-week discussion period for
each topic, the audience will have its chance to contribute,
with the moderators taking the responsibility to ensure that
contributions from the floor are pertinent to the discussion.
The lyris listserv software utilized by Bellanet will allow
participants to join the discussion by e-mail or from the web,
and the archive of discussions will be available for access by
an even wider audience. A book-length publication will be
prepared following the conclusion of the Roundtable.
For additional information on the Roundtable please contact
Karin Santi (firstname.lastname@example.org) or APIC (Tel 202 546
7961; Fax 202 546 1545; E-mail email@example.com)
We hope you will join us in this exciting venture.
How to Subscribe to africanrealities-L
Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
and put in the body of the message:
subscribe africanrealities-L firstname lastname
subscribe africanrealities-L Kofi Annan
(if your name is Kofi Annan)
**On the web**
Go to http://www.africapolicy.org/rtable,
then click on "Sign-up for the Roundtable,"
and follow the on-line instructions.
After subscribing, you will receive a request to confirm your
subscription, followed by an introductory welcome message.
Additional announcements and references to background
resources may be posted to list subscribers and/or placed on
the Roundtable home page (http://www.africapolicy.org/rtable)
during December. The Roundtable will open on January 8, 2000.
Panellists Confirmed as of late November, 1999
Economy and Development
Paulina Adebusoye, Economic Commission for Africa
Taoufik Ben Abdallah, Syspro, ENDA Tiers Monde
Yassine Fall, AAWORD
Yao Graham, Third World Network
Thandika Mkandawire, UN Research Institute on Social
Dominique Njinkeu, African Economic Research Consortium
Jacqueline Nkoyok, Confederation of Central African NGOs
Democracy and Human Rights
Tade Aina, Ford Foundation
Mazide N'Diaye, Forum of African Voluntary Development
Peace and Security
Jakkie Cilliers, Insitute for Security Studies
Angela Hakizimana, Women for Peace Network
Hussein Solomon, ACCORD
George Wachira, Nairobi Peace Initiative
Education and Culture
Lalla Ben Barka, Economic Commission for Africa
Lupwishi Mbuyamba, UNESCO Luanda
This material is produced and distributed by the
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary
objective is to widen international policy debates around
African issues, by concentrating on providing accessible
policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide
range of groups and individuals.