UMass Boston

West Africa Trip

Pathways to Democracy and Social Justice

Participants in this unique experience will have the opportunity to study in two very different countries tied together by legacies of colonialism, slavery, and geography.


Leopold Senghor’s Legacy to Africa and it’s Diaspora

December 29, 2012 –January 11, 2013

Leopold S. Senghor, the first president of Senegal, has a legacy that transcends politics and continents. A linguist, educator, social critic, and poet, as well as a statesman, this significant figure of the twentieth century will be explored in depth at the international conference, Leopold Senghor’s Legacy to Africa and it’s Diaspora, to be held January 4 – 7, 2013, in his village of Djilor.  Trip members will not only actively participate in the conference, but they also will have the opportunity to experience multiple dimensions of Senegal including, but not limited to: the island of Goree; the original capital of French West Africa, St. Louis; the Langue de Barbarie National Park along the Senegal River; a New Year’s Eve Cultural Celebration; and Pan-African Heroes Day.

Cape Verde

16th Annual Amilcar Cabral–Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program 

January 12, 2013 –January 21, 2013 

For the past 16 years UMass Boston has led the community commemorative celebrations of US civil rights crusader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Amilcar Cabral, leader of the struggle that brought independence to Cape Verde from Portuguese colonial domination. Next year is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Cabral. Our delegation will work with Pedro Pires, former president of Cape Verde and now president of the Amilcar Cabral Foundation, to host this international conference marking the event. Scholars, activists, students, and citizens from around the world will participate. Study tour participants will also be able to meet students at the University of Cape Verde and visit Cidade Velha, a site of slave trading on the island of Santiago.

Academic Credit

Student participants can receive up to six credits by enrolling in two UMass Boston Africana Studies Department courses—West Africa Today (AFRSTY 480) and Independent Study (AFRSTY 478). The latter course content must be arranged directly with the lead professor prior to the trip.


In each country we will be hosted by collaborating partners. A conference planning committee is coordinating activities in Senegal. The West African Research Association is a sponsor with the West African Research Center in Dakar. The Amilcar Cabral Foundation in Praia, Cape Verde, is taking leadership for the anniversary conference.  

The African Studies Center at Michigan State University is collaborating with the Center for African, Caribbean and Community Development and Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston as the coordinating partner.