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Ohio University symposium to explore impact of sports in Africa

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 1, 2005) -- Scholars and educators will explore the social, political and economic impact of sports on African societies and development at a workshop on African Sports Across Disciplines at Ohio University Feb. 4-5.

The workshop builds on the achievements of the symposium, Youth, Sports and Africa, held in 2004. A series of interactive presentations and debates will address themes of politics, economics, administration, management, gender, conflict resolution, health and wellness, communication, marketing, and promotion. Featured speakers will come from across the United States, Ireland, the African continent and Ohio University.

"The African Sports Across Disciplines workshop will bring scholars, practitioners, and students together to discuss the effects and influence of sports on African social fabrics," said Andrew Kreutzer, an associate professor and the coordinator for Sports Administration Program in the School of Recreation and Sport Sciences. "The interdisciplinary structure of the workshop will encourage the discussion of sport from its broadest perspectives. It is our hope that this event and the combined efforts of the Institute for the African Child, the African studies program and the division of Sports Administration will further create a focal point for the study of sports and sports development in Africa."

Sport in Africa is a theme that touches the core of the experience of African peoples. Beginning with pre-colonial African societies, sports played an integral role in rites of passage and social acceptance, and young people continue to make up the bulk of those who participate in sports. From the pre-colonial era to the present, sport in Africa continues to represent the strength, survival, and challenges of African peoples.

"Sport is an endemic part of African culture. When we compete and we win then you see the whole continent coming together," said Kwaku "Nana" Owusu-Kwarteng, assistant director of the Institute for the African Child.

The workshop will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, in Walter Hall, room 135 with an opening address by Lee Evans, two-time Olympic Gold medallist and head track coach at the University of South Alabama. Evans will present "From the 1968 Olympic Games to Africa." Evans set a world record in the 400-meters at the 1968 games that stood for more than 20 years. He was also a member of the 4x400-meter relay team that set a world record on its way to winning the gold medal in Mexico City. During his coaching career, Evans has trained athletes in 20 countries and has been the Olympic coach for four countries (Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Qatar). He has coached four Olympic medallists. Evans has been inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame and is a member of the Olympic Hall of Fame. He received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for his Humanitarian word in Africa and Asia.

On Feb. 5, workshop presenters will include Amadou Gallo Fall, director of Scouting for the Dallas Mavericks. Fall came to the United States from Senegal after earning a basketball scholarship. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of District of Columbia, Fall went on to work for the Senegalese Basketball Federation. The squad he assembled won the 1997 African Championship and then went on to participate in the 1998 World Championship. He served as the director of the Africa 100 Camp in South Africa in 2003 and NBA without Borders Africa in 2004. Fall returns to Senegal during the summers, and he donates shoes and equipment and organizes basketball camps.

"There are two aspects to this workshop," said Gerard Akindes, workshop organizer and a technology coordinator in the College of Health and Human Services. "First we hope to focus more intellectual interest on sports and secondly we hope to study more how sports can be used as a tool for the development of youth and the development of the continent."

Workshop sessions will take place in Grover Center, room W115. The workshop will conclude Saturday with a roundtable discussion on Sports and Development.

African Sport Across Disciplines is organized by Ohio University's Institute for the African Child and the graduate program in Sports Administration and Facility Management in the School of Recreation and Sport Sciences. Interested community members are welcome to attend workshop sessions. For more information please contact workshop coordinator Nana Owusu-Kwarteng at (740) 597-1368 or view the schedule online at www.ohiou.edu/sportsafrica/african_sports_across_discplines/program.htm. 

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Media Contacts: Assistant Director of Communications and Graduate Programming Jennifer Cochran, (740) 593-1842, or Assistant Director of the Institute for the African Child Nana Owusu-Kwarteng (740) 597-1368 or owusu-kw@ohio.edu

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