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Tuesday, February 17, 2004
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Upcoming symposium at Ohio University focuses on sports, youth and Africa

ATHENS, Ohio -- Scholars and educators will gather at Ohio University on Feb. 20-21 to explore the importance of sports in the development of young people in Africa at a symposium on ?Sports, Youth and Africa.? The symposium will begin at 3 p.m. on Feb.20 and conclude with the annual African Heroes Celebration at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 in the new classroom building rotunda. The building is located between Grover Hall and Peden Stadium.

Sport in Africa is a theme that touches the core of the experience of African people. 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 people.

?Sport is an endemic part of African culture. When we compete and we win, you see the whole continent coming together,? said Kwaku ?Nana? Owusu-Kwarteng, assistant director of the Institute for the African Child. Conference sessions will address the connections between sports and issues such as conflict resolution, media, culture, development, politics and gender. Featured speakers will come from across the United States, the African continent and Ohio University.

The symposium will begin on Friday with an opening address by Rose Chepyator-Thomson, associate professor of Physical Education and Sport Studies at the University of Georgia. A native of Kenya, Chepyator-Thomson is a world-class runner and was a 12-time All-American when she ran for the University of Wisconsin in the 1980s.

After a closing roundtable discussion involving symposium speakers and participants on Saturday afternoon, the African Student Union welcomes conference participants to the African Heroes Celebration, which will feature a dinner, fashion show, music, dance and more.

?Sports, Youth and Africa? is sponsored by Ohio University?s Institute for the African Child, the Sports Administration Program and the Center for Lifelong Learning. Interested community members are welcome to attend conference sessions. For more information, view the symposium schedule online at www.ohiou.edu/afrchild/sportsafrica/program.htm.

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Media Contacts: Institute for the African Child Assistant Director Nana Owusu-Kwarteng, (740) 597-1368 or owusukw@ohio.edu, or Center for International Studies Assistant Director for Communications Jennifer Cochran, (740) 593-1842 or cochraj1@ohio.edu

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