Dreaming of Wakanda: MSU Welcomes Back Pan African Conference

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant


The 43rd Dr. Michael T. Faign Pan African Conference will give MSU Mankato an immersive experience in African culture and will provide leadership opportunities for Black students.

According to the event’s official website, the Pan African Conference “will imagine new possibilities for economic justice, emancipatory education, and political solidarity. Inspired by the imaginary city featured in the film Black Panther, we will consider pan Africanism as a political project for healing, sustaining and loving ourselves. We invite secondary, post-secondary and community leaders to join us for this year’s conference as we proclaim “We are Wakanda!” to celebrate our diversity!”

The three-day event begins Wednesday, Feb. 27 and wraps up Friday, March 1. Events occur daily and include keynote speakers, breakout sessions, movie screenings, a career and internship fair, a game night, a royalty competition, food and much more.

Dr. Michael T. Faign and Keynote Speakers

The conference’s namesake, Dr. Michael T. Faign, highlights the prestigious list of keynote speakers.

“Dr. Faign is an emeritus professor and Pan African Leader who has served and been a member of the MSU community for over 45 years. Dr. Faign, a Detroit, Mich., native has served the institution in several roles including professor of African American studies, creator and chair of the ethnic studies program, associate professor for cultural diversity and several other rules,” the event’s website said.

The conference was named in Dr. Faign’s honor in 2010 to celebrate his many contributions to the university.

Additional keynotes include Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Ericka Huggins, Derrick Smith, Phillip Agnew and Leslie Redmond. Information about each of them can be found on the conference website.

Royalty Competition

The royalty competition will highlight young MSU scholars who are committed to developing their leadership skills, their education and the community. They will be scored on judged across a variety of events including a fashion show, questionnaire, talent show as well as their dedication to their culture and heritage through advocacy, ideas on social justice and advocacy for change for Africans on local, national and international scales.

The website notes the competition is not a popularity contest, “Royalty will be screened and selected based on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate academic performance, curricular and co-curricular involvement and contributions and passion to their University and community.”

Notable Events

Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to attend various events during the conference. Major events include Game Night Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in CSU 245 and the Royalty Competition & Fashion Showcase Thursday, Feb. 28, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the CSU Ballroom. The conference is screening Marvel’s Black Panther immediately following the Royalty Competition. A full schedule of events can be found here.

Anyone seeking more information about the conference is encouraged to visit the event’s website, or to contact any of the three conference co-chairs: Kenneth Reid (kenneth.reid@mnsu.edu), Dr. Agnes Odinga-Oluoch (agnes.odinga-oluoch@mnsu.edu) or Dr. Shannon Miller (shannon.miller@mnsu.edu). Registration, which is required for all attendees, can be found here.


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