Lesley Obiora

Two weeks ago I attended the CLR James lecture, entitled, “Looking for Africa where it can be found.” This title will also be on our ASU t-shirts. The guest speaker was Dr. Lesley Obiora, Professor of Law at Arizona University and former Nigerian Cabinet Minister. A few other African students and I had the pleasure of having lunch with her the following day. Which was such an honor! Having lunch with her reminded me of listening to my older aunts give essential advice.  Her speech was very animated and full of interesting ideas. Her main argument was that we should look at the positive qualities that Africa has to offer, as opposed to focusing on the negative cliches. She emphasized learning from the existing African leaders and examining traditional forms of government as a way of finding solutions for the continent. Dr. Obiora criticized the Neo-Liberal economic approach imposed on Africa by the West. During lunch she touched on issues regarding female genital mutilation, cultural identity and gave us practical advice about studying law.

The most important thing is  that left me with is a sense of African pride. She reminded me that it is necessary to go back and examine tradition  and maybe we will  find solutions for today. This is precisely what I hope to do through my art.

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