48th Annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Conference Opens Feb. 29 in the CSU

Taken From University Media Relations News Release

Nadia Mohamed, the first Black mayor of St. Louis Park, Minn., will be this year’s keynote speaker as the 48th annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Conference, returns to Minnesota State University, Mankato Thursday and Friday, Feb. 29 and March 1.

One of the University’s long-standing traditions, the annual conference in the Centennial Student Union was established by Dr. Michael T. Fagin and invites participants to “explore how they are cultivating, nurturing and affirming safe spaces and groups as a collective form of resistance, transformation and reclamation.”

Dr. Michael T. Fagin

The Pan African Conference is named in honor of Dr. Michael T. Fagin. Dr. Fagin is an emeritus professor and Pan-African leader who has served and been a member of the Minnesota State University Mankato community for over 45 years. Known for revolutionizing diversity efforts at the University, Dr. Fagin has served the institution in several roles, including professor of African American studies, creator and chair of the ethnic studies program, associate vice president for cultural diversity, and vice president for institutional diversity. Dr. Fagin is also responsible for the creation of the Pan African Student Leadership Conference, which was named in his honor in 2010, over 40 years ago. He has also served on many diversity committees on- and off-campus, and is recognized as one of the pioneers behind the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day celebration in Mankato, Minnesota. He is known by most as a professor, mentor, father, and friend who changed students’ and faculty members’ lives. He has truly impacted the lives of so many at the University and the greater Mankato community.

The conference is open to the public. The public registration cost is $75 ($50 for non-Minnesota State Mankato students). Registration is free for Minnesota State Mankato students and employees. Complete registration information for the conference is available at www.mnsu.edu/panafricanconference

Feb. 29 events include a pre-conference reception, student art gallery and music, and March 1 events include keynote speakers and presentations. A complete schedule is available here. Keynote and featured speakers, in order of their presentations, are listed below. Detailed speaker information is available here.

The pre-conference on Thursday, Feb. 29 will feature two speakers, Andriel Dees and Stacy Wells, who will engage in a shared dialogue during the pre-conference social. Dees is the vice chancellor for equity and inclusion for Minnesota State. In her role, Dees serves as the primary advisor to the chancellor on issues of equity and inclusion and provides guidance and oversight for the system’s Equity 2030 imperative. Wells is the chief health equity director-direct care and treatment for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The conference keynote speaker is Nadia Mohamed, mayor of St. Louis Park, Minnesota. She is scheduled to present Friday, March 1 from 9-9:50 a.m. According to a conference preview, Mohamed is the first Somali-American mayor in the United States and the first Black mayor of St. Louis Park. Before becoming mayor, she served a four-year term as an at-large council member in St. Louis Park. She was honored with the St. Louis Park Human Rights Award for her four-year involvement in the St. Louis Park Multicultural Advisory Committee.

Speaking Friday, March 1 during Concurrent Session I in the morning will be Jakia Marie, a Black studies scholar and currently an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and program coordinator of the African/African American Studies program at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. According to a conference preview, her work theoretically and empirically explores the nuances of Black identities across the U.S. and globally.

Speaking Friday, March 1 during Concurrent Session II in the afternoon will be Rashida K. Fisher, who according to a conference preview has more than 17 years of expertise in clinical counseling and supervision, counselor education, coaching, consultation and training services. She is the founder of Ujima Healing and Consulting and is currently an associate faculty member and serves as dean of the counseling program at Adler Graduate School in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

The Pan African Conference is committed to developing and enhancing the leadership skills in collegiate Black young adults, as well as providing opportunities for academic scholars, professionals and community members to discuss issues that affect descendants of Africa on a local, national and international level.

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