Dear Members:

Greetings from the Lovely Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. I hope this finds all of you in good stead. I am happy to report that the ASA ship is sailing well and the financial waters are very calm.

We will shortly assemble in Baltimore to renew our associational spirit and I am particularly excited about this annual meeting program. This issue of the news letter features a lot of informative interviews of members and our associates. Among these are conversations with some of our Presidential Fellows (Drs. Stella Nyanzi and Mathayo Ndomondo, Helina Metaferia (the artist of the Annual Meeting image who will be at the conference), Aidoo-Snyder winner Nwando Achebe, and Paul Zeleza on the African Diaspora Fellowship Program.

On the continental front, there has been some progress toward peace in a number of countries and setbacks in others. The most notable positive news is the defeat of the M23 militias in the DRC, but the major setbacks is the military Coup in Egypt and massacre of thousands of civilians, the Westgate criminal affair where shoppers were murdered and terrorized by Al-Shabaab, and the continued rampage of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Political instability remains a major problem in Libya and Tunisia.

On the ASA front, we have lost a number of major Africanist colleagues over the last few months. Among these are Kofi Awoonor, Lionel Cliffe, John Marcum, Dennis Cordell, and William Foltz.  We send our heartfelt condolences to all of their families. Of particular pain to me has been the departure of the World class writer Chinua Achebe whose famous novel “Things Fall Apart” introduced me to African literature in my last year in Secondary school in Somalia. We wish the Achebe family and the people he inspired well.

ASA members have had a very productive year and the best testimony of that are the fantastic books which have been selected as finalist for the Herskovits award and other awards.

Finally, I wish all of you safe travel and we look forward to seeing you in Baltimore.

Abdi Samatar
President African Studies Association