Sustainable development in Africa focus of July conference

contact: Margaret von Steinen
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO--Pressing issues African states face in terms of sustainable development will bring scholars and policy-makers from around the globe to Western Michigan University later this month.

The seventh International Conference on African Development will be held Friday through Sunday, July 27-29, in Brown Hall on WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo. It is open to academics, policy makers, investors, donors, students and the public. This year's theme is "Challenges and Opportunities for Good Governance Toward Peace and Sustainable Development through Global and Diaspora Partnership with African States."

Participants will be coming from across the United States as well from as nations such as Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Japan, Somalia, Ireland and Sweden. Some 30 papers will be presented at the conference.

A keynote presentation will be given on Saturday by Dr. Solomon Bililign regarding the necessity of interdisciplinary research and education for sustainable human development to confront global challenges. Bililign is a professor of physics and director of the NOAA Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Technology Cooperative Science Center at North Carolina A&T State University. He received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama in 2011.

"Sustainable development and democratic good governance remain the greatest challenges for Africa in the 21st century," says conference director Dr. Sisay Asefa, WMU professor of economics and director of the University's Center for African Development Policy Research. "Our conference provides an independent forum where people can freely discuss their research and views regarding democratic governance to promote sustainable development for all African nations."

Conference fees are $100 for scholars and $50 for students. International visitors may arrange to have conference fees waived by sending a query to Lee Balcom at Onsite registration and check-in will be held in the front lobby of Brown Hall from 3 to 5 p.m., Thursday, July 26, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, July 27-28.

The conference is sponsored by the WMU Center for African Development Policy Research, numerous academic and administrative units at WMU, and several other organizations.

Visit for conference information and to register online. For more information, contact Dr. Sisay Asefa at or (269) 387-5556.