The African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be hosting a conference on the Peace Corps and Africa from March 24-26, 2011. The intent of the conference is to explore the impact of the United States Peace Corps in Africa and elsewhere, and on the lives of Americans who have served as volunteers or have been otherwise touched by the Peace Corps.
Timed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps (launched in March 1961) and of Wisconsin’s African Studies Program (founded in September 1961), the conference will include opportunities for celebrating, reminiscing, and socializing (see the preliminary program online, e.g., a keynote address by Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams, story booths, the ultimate Peace Corps dance party in Memorial Union, etc.), but the core of the conference will be several evaluative panels featuring research and commentary by scholars and writers bringing a variety of perspectives on the Peace Corps and the experience of volunteer service.
To present at the conference, whether in one of the panels you see on the preliminary program or in a panel that you think we should create, please write an email message to us at <firstname.lastname@example.org> describing your work and interests and outlining briefly the subject that you might be prepared to address in a 15-20 minute panel slot. Please use the subject header “Potential Participant” in your email message.
To attend the conference please send us an email. All are welcome. We especially welcome anyone who ever served in the Peace Corps in Africa or elsewhere, Africans and others who knew Peace Corps volunteers during their service, and anyone who is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. To express tentative interest in attending the conference, or to inquire about it, please send your email message to that same address, <email@example.com> and use the subject header, “Interested in Attending.”
Online registration begins in September or October, 2010, but we’re eager to gauge national (and international) interest now. Blocks of hotel rooms have been set aside, and former Peace Corps volunteers in Madison are ready to put up guests at no charge, so if a late March weekend in Madison to mark 50 years of the Peace Corps appeals, please let us know!