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Organization DBA WARA
W.A.R.A.
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

WARA's mission is to invest in the upcoming generation of intellectual leaders in West Africa; to foster the production and dissemination of current research on West Africa and the diaspora; to promote scholarly exchange among West African scholars and institutions and their U.S. counterparts; to provide U.S. audiences with accurate information on West Africa and its diasporic communities; and to increase awareness of the critical place of West Africa in the global community.

WARA is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), a consortium of 23 such centers. WARA is the only one in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mission Statement

WARA's mission is to invest in the upcoming generation of intellectual leaders in West Africa; to foster the production and dissemination of current research on West Africa and the diaspora; to promote scholarly exchange among West African scholars and institutions and their U.S. counterparts; to provide U.S. audiences with accurate information on West Africa and its diasporic communities; and to increase awareness of the critical place of West Africa in the global community.

WARA is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), a consortium of 23 such centers. WARA is the only one in sub-Saharan Africa.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2016 to Sept 30, 2017
Projected Income $586,596.00
Projected Expense $623,814.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review
  • African Language Materials Archive (ALMA)
  • New England Outreach:
  • WARA Fellowship Program
  • West African Research Center (WARC)

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

WARA's mission is to invest in the upcoming generation of intellectual leaders in West Africa; to foster the production and dissemination of current research on West Africa and the diaspora; to promote scholarly exchange among West African scholars and institutions and their U.S. counterparts; to provide U.S. audiences with accurate information on West Africa and its diasporic communities; and to increase awareness of the critical place of West Africa in the global community.

WARA is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), a consortium of 23 such centers. WARA is the only one in sub-Saharan Africa.


Background Statement

The U.S. and Africa, particularly West Africa, share and long history of contact and exchange, a history which has shaped many aspects of U.S. culture and society. WARA grew out of the efforts of scholars deeply involved in and committed to the study of West Africa and its diasporic communities. In 1989, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) with the help of a grant from the Smithsonian Institution, hosted the first meeting of African and American scholars to establish objectives for the association. With offices in the Smithsonian Institution, CAORC is a network of 23 American overseas research centers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia. WARA is the only one located in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a member of CAORC, WARA receives support from the Department of State annual grant to CAORC. This support allows WARA to offer a range of research fellowships to West African and US-based scholars. WARA has also received funding through the US Embassy in Senegal for specific projects, such as the West African Peace Initiative and the Dakar American Research & Training Program. Membership dues, administrative and facility fees also provide a portion of WARA’s budget; this helps support its operations overseas and here in the US.

WARA is a member of the Association of African Studies Programs and is an affiliated member of the African Studies Association, thus linking it with mainstream organizations dedicated to the development of African area studies and research exchanges with sub-Saharan Africa. WARA programs complement the efforts of the National Resource Centers (NRC) for African Language and Area Studies (Title VI Centers) to improve area studies and cross-cultural learning of students and faculty in the US through study in Africa. As such, WARA’s programs help to address the NRC’s concern for quality infrastructure for overseas study and research programs in Africa.



Impact Statement

Accomplishments in 2015-2016

The West African Research Center, in Dakar, supported researchers/students/institutions through its research library (serving some 125 people monthly), state-of-the-art media and information technology, program coordination, and its vast regional network of human resources. Conducted a full audit of WARC in 2013.
 
The WARA Fellowship Program awarded research grants to 18 US and West African scholars. Instituted a new competition for undergraduate students, Undergraduate Paper Competition.
 
The Ideas Matter Fellowship supports the work of doctoral students whose dissertation research focuses on women, technology or entrepreneurship and who are based in West African institutions. 3 awardees were selected in 2016 and 3 more will soon be selected in the second competition which is currently in its review stages. WARA manages this fellowship in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. 

The African Language Materials Archive (ALMA), an online archive of original materials published in a wide range of African languages, added 16 interviews to its video archive and more than 1000 pages of African language newspapers.

The Yelimane Fall: Community, Literacy, and Activism in Islam traveling exhibit features the work of Senegalese calligrapher, Yelimane Fall. An excellent educational tool, this exhibit will introduce the viewer to a slice of Islamic West Africa through Mr. Fall’s compelling art. The exhibit is accompanied by a rich store of resources and pedagogic materials and circulates to academic institutions, museums, and community groups across the U.S.

The African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review, a joint project of WARA and Indiana Univ. Press, began its 4th year of publication. It is a peer reviewed journal that disseminates current research on peacebuilding and conflict resolution, with a focus on research by African scholars.

 The Tastes of West Africa is a culinary institute expedition to Senegal to learn about various West African dishes under the tutelage of world-renowned Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam. American participants get the opportunity to learn about West African culture first-hand through learning about its food, markets, and household lifestyles. The trip also includes seminars and site visits to enrich the learning experience.

Our goals for the near future include 

Find partners invested in the sustainability of WARA's US administrative office.

Increasing number of WARA research grants and initiating an internship program for graduate students at HBCUs. The average cost for one researcher/intern (travel, research and living costs) is $6,000.

Converting WARC to solar energy (energy costs in Dakar are extremely high) $120,000.

Hiring development personnel for both the US and Dakar offices.



Needs Statement

US administrative operations
  • Creation of a trust fund to maintain operating expenses to sustain WARA after having experienced recent funding cuts
  • Development personnel to fundraise for the organization's programs
Fellowship Program
  • Two internships in West Africa for graduate students at HBCUs (@$5000)
  • Two more Pre-doctoral research grants for US researchers (@$6000)
  • Four more Travel Grants for West African researchers (@$3000)
WARC
As our overseas research center expands its services, its operating costs grow. We have more and more study tours, workshops, and professional development programs using WARC facilities and coordinating services. At the same time that these programs generate income through fees, they also mean greater demands on WARC. In order to effectively meet these demands, we need
  • A 35-seat bus, which would preclude the expense of renting a bus for each group, and which would pay for itself in three years ($92,500)
  • Installation of solar energy to assure a regular and affordable supply of electricity ($120,000)
  • A part-time development specialist to explore regional sources of funding ($25,000/yr)
  • A new kitchen facility for the on-site cafe, which serves lunch for researchers, study groups and conferences at WARC, as well as staff from neighboring institutions ($10,000)
 

CEO Statement

West Africa is a key part of today’s world. It is a region with which we in the US share a long history of exchange and is a world region that has made enormous contributions to our own intellectual and cultural traditions. Through its many programs, the West African Research Association (WARA) aims to promote awareness of this rich ongoing relationship and to shed light on the significant intellectual resources of this important world region.

WARA is one of the world’s leading professional organizations in the area of African studies and it is certainly a privilege to serve as its director. Our mission is to promote research on West Africa and the diaspora and to support its many dynamic scholarly communities. A consortium of colleges and universities, WARA plays a unique role in bringing scholarship on Africa and by Africans to international attention through programs fostering innovative research and exchange across the disciplinary spectrum. Our fellowship programs support West African and American scholars working in many disciplines and has led to new developments in agriculture, biomedicine & health, urban and rural planning, environment, ecology and wildlife management, historical and literary studies, sports, religion, peace and conflict studies, gender and human rights.

WARA organizes international conferences, seminars, workshops, and study programs on critical topics. The synergy created through these exchanges fuels the production of new knowledge about West Africa and its diasporic communities and the key roles they continue to play in our global community.

To facilitate these programs, WARA operates a major research center in Dakar, Senegal. The West African Research Center (WARC) hosts scholars from the US, West Africa, and beyond, providing them with the resources they need for their endeavors. WARC serves as a meeting place for researchers and scholars and an intellectual and cultural nexus for the region.

The synergy created by fostering collaboration across national and disciplinary boundaries has strengthened the community of scholars working on West Africa and related topics and provided platforms for the dissemination of new research.  Seldom has an organization brought these efforts together and afforded people working in so many different domains the opportunities to network and learn from each other. We are proud of our accomplishments, and look forward to continuing and expanding this work.


Board Chair Statement

 

I have been involved with the West African Research Association (WARA) since 1996 when I became a member. Even before then, around 1993, I worked with Mary Ellen Lane and Edris Makward to design the early chiwara symbol that was used for WARA’s stationary. Thus WARA has been an important part of my personal and professional life for quite a while! In 1999 I became the Director of the West African Research Center, a post I held until 2004. I was elected to the WARA Board of Directors in 2005, and served as Vice President from 2013–2015, and began my term as President in the fall of 2015.

WARA’s mission is to promote research between West African and U.S. scholars, teachers, students, and institutions on West Africa and the African diaspora. We support our network of scholars from Africa, North America, and Europe through a wide range of fellowships, language materials, facilitating research clearance, and by hosting a wide range of educational and cultural exchange programs (study abroad programs, seminars, lectures, film series, book signings) in the U.S. and especially at our overseas center, the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar, Senegal. WARC is the only American Overseas Research Center in Sub-Saharan Africa and it provides access to the region and its scholars in a way that no other organization can.

WARA and WARC are invaluable resources for U.S. institutions pursuing understanding of historical and contemporary issues in West Africa. Many of our members who have participated in our programs have gone on to assume important positions as educators, journalists, diplomats, and policy makers. Our Directors volunteer their time and expertise to WARA. We are a very efficient and cost-effective organization.

In the past two years, one of our main sources of support for administrative operations—the US Department of Education Title VI program—has reduced its support due to broader U.S. government restructuring. This has forced us to creatively think about developing new, additional revenue to ensure the long-time viability of WARA. In November 2011 we initiated a new Fund Development Plan as recommended by our Finance and Development Committee in collaboration with an independent consultant. The Plan began with generous contributions from our Board of Directors that led to an outpouring of support from our general membership. Since all U.S. universities with major African Studies Centers are already members of WARA, we’ve been seeking new institutional members among largely under-represented institutions, particularly Historically Black Colleges and Universities and community colleges.

We are very proud of the programs and services that we offer. The demand for WARC’s facilities, services and expertise indicates the reputation of WARC as a critical resource. We are determined to ensure that WARA and WARC will continue to thrive despite the financial challenges that we currently face.

Wendy Wilson-Fall, Board President (2015-2018 )

 


Geographic Area Served

INTERNATIONAL
NATIONAL
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA

WARA serves the international community--students, researchers and institutions of higher education in the US, West Africa, and beyond. WARA supports the research of  US and West African nationals.
WARA is a consortium of over 40 colleges and universities nationwide, including several HBCUs
WARA serves the metro Boston area with lectures, films, and other events, often organized in collaboration with local member institutions (Boston U, Harvard, Brandeis, Bridgewater State, Lesley, Tufts) or other groups.
 

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Research Institutes & Public Policy Analysis
  2. International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security - International Peace and Security
  3. Education - Libraries

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review

The African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review, is a peer-reviewed journal that grew out of the West African Peace Initiative, a multi-year project funded through the U.S. State Department. A joint project of WARA and Indiana University Press, ACPR began its 2nd year of publication in fall 2011. ACPR  is an interdisciplinary forum for creative and rigorous studies of conflict and peace in Africa and for discussions between scholars, practitioners, and public intellectuals in Africa, the U.S., and other parts of the world. With both print and online multi-media content, ACPR disseminates current research on peacebuilding and conflict resolution, with a focus on research by African scholars.
Budget  $11,000.00
Category  International, Foreign Affairs & National Security, General/Other International Peace & Security
Population Served Africa US& International Africa
Program Short-Term Success  will make scholarship available
Program Long-Term Success  will make scholarship available
Program Success Monitored By  feedback
Examples of Program Success   

African Language Materials Archive (ALMA)

In 2000, UNESCO, Columbia University, and CAORC's  Digital Library for International Research joined with WARA to start ALMA. With its mission of increasing dissemination of and access to materials published in indigenous African languages, ALMA provides materials for education and literacy in Africa, and for African language study in the diaspora. While its original focus was on the digitization of published textual materials, ALMA has since expanded to produce original audio and video materials, as well. These include "African Immigrant Voices," a series of video interviews with Africans here in the U.S. conducted in the interviewee's native language. Another video series includes interviews with artists and activist in Africa. All these materials are available free of charge on the ALMA website. 

ALMA is funded largely by annual contributions from Title VI National Resource Centers for Africa. Recent cuts in the federal education budget have resulted in reduced contributions.
Budget  $22,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Postsecondary Education
Population Served College Aged (18-26 years) Blacks, African Heritage US& International
Program Short-Term Success   
Program Long-Term Success   
Program Success Monitored By   
Examples of Program Success    

New England Outreach:

The WARA Speakers Bureau builds on experience organizing events in collaboration with area colleges and community groups. By providing knowledgeable speakers and creating spaces for discussion of critical issues, WARA is able to share its intellectual resources with the community and provide access to cutting edge research on Africa. Because we have such a large network of scholars, we can offer speakers on a range of topics related to West Africa and the diaspora.

 

The WARA Study Tour Program builds on our experience in Senegal organizing study tours for college students and professional development seminars for faculty. WARA Study Tours offer a comprehensive two-week program in Senegal that provides participants with a rich experience including visits to historical sites, lectures and presentations, an introduction to the Wolof language, and opportunities to exchange with Senegalese from different walks of life. Tours are tailored to the interests of group members.

Budget  $41,000.00
Category  International, Foreign Affairs & National Security, General/Other International Exchange
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) US& International
Program Short-Term Success   
Program Long-Term Success    
Program Success Monitored By   
Examples of Program Success   

WARA Fellowship Program

WARA’s Fellowship Program supports research by a broad range of US and West African scholars. Research in the biological sciences, agriculture, and public health leads to practical solutions for problems facing the region; research in the social sciences and humanities has made important contributions to our understanding of the history and cultures of the region.

WARA offers the following fellowships
Pre- and Post-doctoral - for US faculty and graduate students conducting research in West Africa
Residencies - 4 to 8 week residencies for West African scholars at WARA member institutions for collaborative work with colleagues. Residents share their expertise with member institutions and their surrounding communities.
Travel Grants - for West Africans conducting research in Africa; strengthens the regional network of scholars and research institutions.
Library Fellowship - a 2-month on-site practicum at the WARC Libary in Dakar, Senegal,  for MLS students here in the US.
Diaspora Diaspora Internship - An award for graduate students to participant in internships at West African institutions. 
Undergraduate Paper Competition- Essay competition for undergraduate students.  
 
Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Postsecondary Education
Population Served Africa Blacks, African Heritage US& International
Program Short-Term Success 
WARA Travel Grantees, all West African nationals, conduct important research in a wide range of disciplines, including medicine and public health, waste management, .......With few exceptions, all WARA Pre-doctoral fellows complete their doctoral dissertations and are awarded PhDs within five years, going on to assume roles as educators, diplomats, and development workers.
 
The majority of WARA Post-doctoral fellows publish their work in book form within five years.
 
WARC Library Fellows have all completed MLS degrees, citing their library fellowship as an important part of their professional training.
 
Program Long-Term Success  Over the years, WARA grantees have made significant contributions to our knowledge and understanding of West Africa and its links to the US, both historical and contemporary.
Program Success Monitored By  All grantees submit final reports to WARA at the end of their research
Examples of Program Success 
WARA Post-docs have an excellent record of getting their research results out through publications. A few examples include
Abu Bakarr Bah (Northern Illinois University, Post-doc 2008) is currently working on a book manuscript based on his WARA research and has also published two articles based on his research, one in Critical Sociology and the other in African Affairs. Dr. Bah also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review, which he was instrumental in founding.
Matthew Christensen (Texas Pan American University, Post-doc 2006)
Rebellious Histories: The Amistad Slave Revolt and the Cultures of Late Twentieth Century Black Nationalism (2012 SUNY Press)
Edmund Abaka (University of Miami, Post-doc 2006)
House of Slaves and Door of No Return: Gold Coast/Ghana Slave Forts, Castles and Dungeons and the Atlantic Slave Trade (2012 Africa World Press)

West African Research Center (WARC)

WARC is our biggest program. It supports scholars and students--African, American, and others--conducting research in West Africa. It is a center where researchers conduct and share their work, creating a transnational, interdisciplinary community of scholars.

The WARC Library collects, catalogs, and disseminates results of current research on West African and its diaspora. It has a collection of more than 8,000 items; online access to research databases; a repository of African language publications; and a comprehensive collection of African films

A regular program of lectures, seminars, and exhibits
A computer network & wireless access throughout
A seminar room with state-of-the-art technology for teaching, conferences, and screenings
Classrooms/meeting rooms
On-site cafe
Logistical services for researchers (housing, research clearances, professional contacts, travel)
Program planning & coordinating services

User feedback is systematically collected and used to improve programs and services.

Budget  $150,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Research
Population Served Africa US& International Blacks, African Heritage
Program Short-Term Success   
Program Long-Term Success   
Program Success Monitored By   
Examples of Program Success   

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

I have served as the Director of the West African Research Center (WARC) since 2004 and will therefore limit my comments to WARC. During my tenure as WARC Director, I have dedicated myself to building our professional staff and improving our services and infrastructure to better meet the needs of the scholarly community. WARC has made many improvements to its physical plant over the last few years, significantly increasing our ability to meet the needs of our constituents. We have renovated the seminar/conference room, installing state-of-the-art AV equipment; acquired a generator to avoid the lost work time occasioned by frequent electrical outages; we have significantly improved the IT capacity of WARC in general, and the library in particular by installing workstations for researchers and acquiring JSTOR. Nevertheless, there are more things to be done, as outlined below.

Aims and needs

Staff Development
Provide more opportunities for professional development (English language, IT, management, new library technologies, etc.)

WARC Library
Increase the number of computer terminals available to researchers
Purchase additional research databases
Expand WARC library to accommodate the increasing holdings and numbers of users

Communications
Outfit the seminar room with visio-conference equipment to provide for teleconferencing and other exchanges
Resize the entire network, rewiring with adequate protection. As internet use has grown exponentially with the advent of laptop computers, the instability of the current wireless network has created much frustration.

Infrastructure
Make necessary repairs and painting, secure doors and windows
Replace toilets and flush out all drains. The toilet facilities are outdated and can no longer stand the pace of use.

Security
Installation of a video monitoring system
Erection of a continuous wall around the entire center

Transportation
A 35-seat bus for the transport of the various study groups for which we organize programs and for rental to other groups. These latter rental agreements are projected to repay the investment costs in less than five years.

Public Relations/Development
An information campaign targeting academic and other research institutions with spots, posters or even gala events around compelling topics such as good citizenship, environment, poverty eradication, and so on. To do this, we need to hire a development specialist to oversee the process.

 

Management


CEO/Executive Director Dr. Wendy Wilson-Fall PhD
CEO Term Start Sept 2003
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience --
Co-CEO Ousmane Sene PhD
Co-CEO Term Start Aug 2004
Co-CEO Email [email protected]
Co-CEO Experience

Ousmane Sene came on as WARC Director in 2004, replacing Wendy Wilson Fall who had served as director for the previous five years. Professor Sene was no stranger to WARC, having headed up study abroad programs headquartered at WARC and served as the President of the board of the Association de Recherche Ouest Africain, the West African counterpart of WARA. Professor Sene had also served as Chair of the English Department at Universite Cheikh Anta Diop--one of the largest departments on campus--where he is a professor of American literature. Professor Sene currently serves as president of the Senegalese State Alumni Association, which regroups all those who have participated in a U.S. government funded exchange program.

Professor Sene is thoroughly familiar with the university system in the U.S. as well as that of Senegal. In addition to his work with U.S. study abroad programs, he has served as a visiting professor at a number of institutions including Michigan State University, Loyola Marymount University, University of Minnesota, Beloit College, and UNC Chapel Hill.

Under Professor’s Sene’s direction, WARC has positively flourished, becoming the center for intellectual exchange in the region and known for being a reliable and innovative host and partner for conferences, workshops, professional development seminars, and study tours.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Leigh Swigart Ph.D. Sept 1998 July 2003

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

I have been involved with the West African Research Association (WARA) since 1996 when I became a member.  WARA has been an important part of my personal and professional life for some time. In 1999 I became the Director of the West African Research Center, a post I held until 2004.  I was elected to the WARA Board of Directors in 2005, served as Vice President from 2013–2015, and began my term as board president in fall 2015.

WARA’s mission is to promote research between West African and U.S. scholars, teachers, students, and institutions on West Africa and the African diaspora. We support our network of scholars from Africa, North America, and Europe through a range of fellowships, language materials, and by hosting a wide range of educational and cultural  programs (study abroad, seminars, lectures, film series, book signings) in the U.S. and especially at our overseas center,WARC, in Dakar, Senegal. WARC is the only American Overseas Research Center in Sub-Saharan Africa and it provides access to the region and its scholars in a way that no other organization can. 

WARA and WARC are invaluable resources for U.S. institutions pursuing understanding of historical and contemporary issues in West Africa. Most institutions with major African Studies programs are members of WARA; we continue to reach out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and to community colleges that have interests in Africa and the diaspora. Many of our members who have participated in our programs have gone on to assume important positions as educators, journalists, diplomats, and policy makers. Our Directors volunteer their time and expertise to WARA. We are a very efficient and cost-effective organization.  

In recent years, one of our main sources of support for administrative operations—the US Department of Education Title VI program—has reduced its support due to broader U.S. government restructuring. This has forced us to creatively think about developing new, additional revenue to ensure the long-time viability of WARA. Our Fund Development Plan was initiated with generous contributions from our Board of Directors that has led to enthusiastic support from our general membership.

We are very proud of the programs and services that we offer. The demand for WARC’s facilities, services and expertise indicates the reputation of WARC as a critical resource. We are determined to ensure that WARA and WARC will continue to thrive despite the financial challenges that we currently face.

Wendy Wilson-Fall, Board President

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 1
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 2
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Professor Wendy Wilson-Fall Ph.D.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Lafayette College
Board Chair Term Nov 2015 - Nov 2018
Board Co-Chair Professor Ismail Rashid Ph.D.
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Vassar College
Board Co-Chair Term Nov 2015 - Nov 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Dr. Abel Djiassi Amado PhD Simmons College Voting
Dr. Louise Badiane Ph.D. Bridgewater State University Voting
Dr. Cynthia Becker PhD Boston University Voting
Dr. Henry Drewal PhD University of Wisconsin, Madison Voting
Dr. Hilary Jones Ph.D. Florida International University Voting
Dr. Mary Ellen Lane Ph.D. Director Emerita, Council of American Overseas Research Centers Voting
Dr. Sylvia Macauley PhD California State University Northridge Voting
Dr. Ismael Montana Ph.D. Northern Illinois University Voting
Dr. Mbare Ngom Ph.D. Morgan State University Voting
Dr. Ismail Rashid Ph.D. Vassar College Voting
Dr. Pearl T. Robinson Ph.D. Tufts University Voting
Dr. Nimi Wariboko Ph.D. Boston University Voting
Dr. Wendy Wilson Fall Ph.D. Lafayette College Voting
Dr. Scott Youngstedt Ph.D. Saginaw Valley State University Exofficio

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 10
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 7
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 79%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • --
  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Membership
  • Program / Program Planning

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

I have been involved with the West African Research Association (WARA) since 1996 when I became a member. Even before then, around 1993, I worked with Mary Ellen Lane and Edris Makward to design the early chiwara symbol that was used for WARA’s stationary. Thus WARA has been an important part of my personal and professional life for quite a while! In 1999 I became the Director of the West African Research Center, a post I held until 2004.  I was elected to the WARA Board of Directors in 2005, and served as Vice President from 2013–2015, and began my term as President in the fall of 2015.

WARA’s mission is to promote research between West African and U.S. scholars, teachers, students, and institutions on West Africa and the African diaspora. We support our network of scholars from Africa, North America, and Europe through a wide range of fellowships, language materials, facilitating research clearance, and by hosting a wide range of educational and cultural exchange programs (study abroad programs, seminars, lectures, film series, book signings) in the U.S. and especially at our overseas center, the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar, Senegal. WARC is the only American Overseas Research Center in Sub-Saharan Africa and it provides access to the region and its scholars in a way that no other organization can. 

WARA and WARC are invaluable resources for U.S. institutions pursuing understanding of historical and contemporary issues in West Africa. Many of our members who have participated in our programs have gone on to assume important positions as educators, journalists, diplomats, and policy makers. Our Directors volunteer their time and expertise to WARA. We are a very efficient and cost-effective organization.  

In the past two years, one of our main sources of support for administrative operations—the US Department of Education Title VI program—has reduced its support due to broader U.S. government restructuring. This has forced us to creatively think about developing new, additional revenue to ensure the long-time viability of WARA. In November 2011 we initiated a new Fund Development Plan as recommended by our Finance and Development Committee in collaboration with an independent consultant. The Plan began with generous contributions from our Board of Directors that led to an outpouring of support from our general membership. Since all U.S. universities with major African Studies Centers are already members of WARA, we’ve been seeking new institutional members among largely under-represented institutions, particularly Historically Black Colleges and Universities and community colleges.

We are very proud of the programs and services that we offer. The demand for WARC’s facilities, services and expertise indicates the reputation of WARC as a critical resource. We are determined to ensure that WARA and WARC will continue to thrive despite the financial challenges that we currently face.

Wendy Wilson-Fall, Board President (2015-2018 )

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $654,192 $601,842 $560,327
Total Expenses $660,031 $641,472 $563,499

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $618,205 $567,585 $517,153
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $618,205 $567,585 $517,153
Individual Contributions $10,034 $9,523 $4,544
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $12,824 $11,302 $24,172
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues $13,129 $13,432 $14,458
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $568,016 $548,496 $478,570
Administration Expense $92,015 $92,976 $84,929
Fundraising Expense -- -- $0
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.99 0.94 0.99
Program Expense/Total Expenses 86% 86% 85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $134,971 $119,188 $158,818
Current Assets $134,971 $119,188 $158,818
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $21,622 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $113,349 $119,188 $158,818

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 3.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 6.24 -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

WARA does a lot with very little; over the years, we have been able to keep our administrative costs to a minimum. However, this has precluded doing things that would in the long run be advantageous for the financial security of our programs. For example, we have talked for sometime about conducting a capital campaign to raise funds for an endowment; this is still under discussion but we are making progress. We would also like to explore a wider range of funding sources--in the Boston area, nationally, and in West Africa. 
 
In these tough financial times, instead of scaling back, WARA is actually expanding its programs. Locally, we have reached out to public schools and community spaces, providing critical information and shattering the many myths about Africa. We have also teamed up with other groups to organize programs on pertinent issues involving Africa and the diaspora. This year, for example, we have organized a number of programs in collaboration with other groups, including Africans in Boston, the YWCA Cambridge, Boston University African Students Organization, WorldBoston, the African Studies Association, The Foundation for West Africa, the African Studies Center of Boston University, and other colleges in the area. Programs have included a panel on African women's leadership, the changing face of the African Diaspora in the US, the global expansion of Vodun,  Jewish communities in West Africa, discussions on Ebola, film screenings, and art exhibits. These programs, which aim to highlight the rich diversity of West Africa and our long shared history, require significant administrative time. We would like to be able to offer more of these kinds of programs to wider audiences.
 
We continue to develop our WARA Speakers Bureau. With our extensive network of scholars, this serves as a resource for organizations and institutions seeking expert speakers on West Africa.
 
We are also developing Study Tours in Senegal for non-academic audiences. With years of experience organizing programs for students and faculty, we now want to reach out beyond the academy. Our first such program will be the "Tastes of West Africa" culinary institute, scheduled for February 2017, and organized together with famous Senegalese chef, Pierre Thiam.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

 The West African Research Association (WARA), headquartered at Boston University’s African Studies Center, is a non-profit consortium of research institutions, colleges, universities, and individual scholars. WARA’s mission is to enhance collaborative research and scholarly exchange between U.S. and West African scholars, educators, students, artists, and institutions and to increase knowledge about and interest in Africa and the diaspora.

Through its activities in the U.S. and West Africa, WARA aims to

· Promote research on West Africa and the diaspora,

· Nurture collaborative scholarly relationships between and among individual scholars and institutions on both sides of the Atlantic,

· Provide resources and support to researchers, and

· Organize programs to educate the broader public on African issues.

WARA promotes research through its scholarship programs, through its publications, conferences and other events—both in the U.S. and in West Africa.

WARA nurtures collaborative scholarly relationship through joint projects involving individual scholars and institutions. For example, WARA’s overseas headquarters, the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar, Senegal, works with U.S. institutions to design and implement professional development programs for faculty and study tours for students. It also works with a wide range of international organizations to conduct trainings and host conferences and seminars that bring together interdisciplinary groups.

WARA provides resources and support to researchers both before and during the time they are in the field and disseminates reports on grantee research through its semi-annual newsletter. Many researchers have commented that the support of WARA and WARC have made it possible for them to “hit the ground running” and to accomplish far more than they would have been able to without this support.

WARA reaches out to the larger public, both through our center in Dakar and in the U.S., with a range of programs that take advantage of the network of WARA scholars. WARA’s programs in the U.S. educate the larger public on West Africa and to provide accurate and up-to-date information.

Established in 1989, WARA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. WARA is funded through memberships, program and affiliation fees, and grants. WARA currently has an operating grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI Program. Our fellowship program is funded largely through the Educational and Cultural Affairs office of the U.S. Department of State and through membership dues. WARA is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), based at the Smithsonian Institution. CAORC is the umbrella organization for 24 American overseas research centers—each an independent center. WARC is the only American overseas research center in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

WARA works to accomplish its goals through the following strategies:

Promoting research: WARA’s fellowship programs enable educators and students to participate in professional exchanges and to carry out research projects in West Africa. WARA provides opportunities and support for study in Africa to students and faculty in the U.S. and West Africa through several fellowship programs:
WARA Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral Fellowship programs support scholars with their research endeavors in West Africa
WARA’s Residency Fellowship program supports 6 to 8 week residencies for West African scholars at WARA member institutions in the U.S. for library research, guest lecturing, or collaborative work with American colleagues
WARC Travel Grant Program supports West African scholars conducting research on the continent
The Ideas Matter Fellowship program supports three West African researchers on the continent for research contributing to meeting critical needs on the continent, emphasizing women, technology, and entrepreneurship

Nurturing collaborative relationships: WARA/WARC regularly collaborates with other institutions to develop new cross-institutional programs, such as
Saharan Crossroads Initiative is an ongoing collaboration with the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and the Saharan Studies Association. For ten years, the initiative has fostered academic exchange and research collaboration among scholars from America, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through conferences, a Saharan studies library in Algeria, and a research fellowship program.
The West African Peace Initiative, a multi-faceted project that included regional conferences, a fellowship program, youth conferences and a journalism institute for West African journalists reporting on conflict. It also resulted in a new scholarly journal – African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, published by Indiana University Press
The Dakar American Applied Research and Training program, a capacity building program for young African leaders in the arts, politics, agriculture, environment, education, and working with marginalized communities.
The West African Acquisitions Project was created, designed and implemented at the request of the Library of Congress. It collects materials in 10 West African countries and now serves as model for other potential LOC collaborations elsewhere around the world.

Providing resources and support to researchers: WARC provides a permanent institutional presence and lends continuity and stability to West African programs sponsored by postsecondary U.S. institutions. It is the only American overseas research center in sub-Saharan Africa and covers the entire West African sub-region. With its growing library collection, schedule of scholarly events and lectures, conferences, seminars, and workshops, WARC has firmly established itself as a regional research center of excellence in West Africa, providing vital logistical and scholarly assistance to researchers and students working throughout West Africa.

WARA also provides resources to scholars through several ongoing programs:
The West African Acquisitions Project (see above)
West African Collaborative Acquisitions Project (a new project that will collect materials published in West Africa for member libraries in the U.S.)
The African Language Materials Archive (preservation and dissemination of materials published in Africa, in African languages).

Organizing public programs: WARA’s public programs in the U.S. include its ongoing “Rethinking Islam in West Africa” lecture series, traveling art exhibits that feature the work of West African artists, lectures and programs featuring West African scholars, film screenings and discussions, as well as publications and our online presence.

WARA also organized the "Tastes of West Africa," program, which provided an opportunity for Americans to experience Senegalese culture, including workshops and site visits, alongside renowned chef Pierre Thiam.

In Dakar, WARC hosts a regular series of book presentations and public discussions, exhibits, performances, and film screenings, and provides frequent commentary for the local and international media on issues affecting West Africa and the U.S.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

WARA’s capacity and strength derive from the fact that it is an international, interdisciplinary network that includes hundreds of scholars, artists, policy makers, and members of civil society. WARA can and does draw on a significant wealth of knowledge and expertise for organizing conferences, workshops and trainings; writing statements and preparing newsletters, journals, and other publications; conducting our fellowship programs; responding to media requests for information on current events; and providing support services to researchers in the field.

WARA is also part of a large institutional network. Since its establishment in 1989, WARA has grown to be a pivotal member of the African studies community. WARA is a member of the Association of African Studies Programs and is an affiliated member of the African Studies Association, thus linking it with mainstream organizations dedicated to the development of African area studies and research exchanges with sub-Saharan Africa. WARA programs complement the efforts of America’s National Resource Centers (NRC) for African Language and Area Studies (Title VI Centers) to improve the cross-cultural learning of students and faculty in the U.S. through study in Africa. As such, WARA’s programs help to address the NRC’s concern for quality infrastructure for overseas study and research programs in Africa.

WARA is also a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). Under its umbrella within the Smithsonian Institution, CAORC is a network of American overseas research centers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia. WARA is the only such center located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

WARA’s overseas headquarters, the West African Research Center (WARC) is the only American Overseas Research Center in sub-Saharan Africa. Located in Dakar, Senegal, WARC provides an institutional presence in the region and lends continuity and stability to programs sponsored by American post-secondary institutions. WARC offers an array of supportive services to visiting scholars and affiliated institutions from the U.S., including a research library, Internet access, fully equipped seminar and conference rooms, conference and study tour coordination services, office space, and administrative services. Affiliated scholars are assisted with such things as research clearances, housing and local transportation, and professional contacts. Through its program of regular seminars, exhibits, and forums WARC provides a rich and vibrant venue for scholarly exchange.

WARA’s strategy for reaching its goals of supporting and promoting research and knowledge on draws on this network of individual scholars and institutions, as well as on a dedicated staff and an active board of directors.

Our 48 institutional and more than 350 individual members give us the breadth and depth to draw on leading humanities scholars and practitioners around the U.S. and the world. WARA is regarded as a reliable resource on matters relating to West Africa and is frequently contacted by the media for interviews on current events in the region.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

WARA measures its progress in meeting its goals in a number of ways. Some of these measures include

Qualitative
Publications and positions held by former grantees
Grantee reports and surveys
Feedback from researchers and participants in WARA and WARC programs
Comments on WARC Visitor Satisfaction surveys
Informal interviews with researchers using WARC facilities
Formal evaluations of particular programs (e.g., WARC and its library)
Qualitative
Publications and presentations by former grantees and WARA members
Membership numbers
Visitors to WARC
WARC affiliations
Attendees at WARA and WARC events
Rankings on Visitor Satisfaction Survey
Applicants for fellowships and conferences
Diversity measures for grantees and participants in all WARA programs
Visits to our website and facebook page

We measure the success of our fellowship program by how many fellows we are able to support and, over the longer term, the quality and impact of their work. Fellows submit reports and are periodically invited to complete former grantee surveys that permit us to note degrees granted, publications, and positions in academia, public service, or the private sector. That almost all WARA grantees have gone on to become key members of the Africanist community and significantly contribute to area studies through teaching and publications testifies to the success of the WARA fellowship program

We measure our success in providing support to researchers in the field by the number of scholars electing to affiliate with our overseas research center in Dakar (WARC); these numbers continue to increase. All WARC visitors fill in a visitor survey that captures not only their affiliation and contact information (for reporting and follow-up purposes), but also asks them to evaluate and rate the services WARC provides. In 2013 all visitors gave WARC services a rating of 4 or 5 (on a 5-point scale).

We also track WARC Library usage: since 2009 usage by U.S. and West African scholars and students has almost doubled (from 1,573 in 2009 to 3,015 in 2013). The WARC Library helps U.S. researchers find research materials available nowhere else in the world; for West African researchers, it provides access to books, journals, films, and online scholarly resources available nowhere else in Senegal. The WARC Library regularly surveys its users to determine their usage of its various resources, to ensure it is meeting their needs, and to solicit their input for improvements and new titles to acquire; Library users call it “the backbone of WARC.”

Since adding free access to JSTOR and other online scholarly resources, the Library has helped about 150 graduate students conduct research for and complete their PhDs, with another 25 graduate researchers completing their M.A. theses. Many of these researchers are now being hired by NGOs, the UN, embassies, the private sector, and as academics and teachers throughout West Africa.

In 2014 an independent consultant conducted a comprehensive evaluation of WARC; the report is attached. The evaluation covered the quality of researcher services, the library and documentation center, program activities, personnel, physical plant, financial management, outreach, and public relations. The evaluation “found WARC to be a critically important resource for U.S. scholars, institutions, and educational programs, very professionally administered, and admired greatly by U.S. and Senegalese scholars, students, and the public.”

We track the number of collaborative initiatives in any given year. These include major international conferences, trainings, small research collaborations, lecture series, exhibits, joint publications, and a range of programs, events and initiatives co-sponsored with academic institutions, civil society groups, and international organizations.

WARA annual A-133 audit confirms our compliance with federal requirements for financial management and has led to significant improvements in policies and procedures.


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

WARA’s long-term goals are to maintain the high level of services and programming at our center in Dakar, to grow our fellowship program, to build our capacity for working with libraries to improve their African collections, to continue our work of collecting and digitally archiving African language materials, to convene international and regional gatherings on topics pertinent to the scholarly community, and to increase our impact in the U.S. through greater outreach and programming. A key part of that is marshalling the resources needed. This is especially critical in these times of dwindling federal support.

Specific near-term (1 year) goals include:

Seeking long-term partners invested in maintaining WARA, specifically its operations, in order to allow of its programs to flourish without over-burdening administrative staff in the US office.

Continuing to circulate a traveling exhibit featuring the work of Senegalese calligrapher, Yelimane Fall. An excellent educational tool, this exhibit will introduce the viewer to a slice of Islamic West Africa through Mr. Fall’s compelling art. The exhibit is accompanied by a rich store of resources and pedagogic materials and will circulate to academic institutions, museums, and community groups across the U.S.

Hosting a second annual "Tastes of West Africa" culinary tour in Senegal which serves as an educational and fund-generating tool.

Completing a WARA Members' website.

Having a regular internship position at WARA to assist with specific tasks. (This year we had an intern who worked on developing the traveling exhibit mentioned above.)

Establishing an endowed fellowship for West African scholars working in applied fields (e.g., agronomy, natural resource management, environmental sciences).

Specific mid-term (3 year) goals include:

Increasing the number of WARA research grants. In particular, our aim is to be able also to award larger number of fellowships for West African scholars living and working on the continent.

Implementing more programming in the U.S. in collaboration with WARA member institutions and in particular, with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Building our membership numbers. Our target is to add 35 new individual members per year and, over the three year period increase our institutional member base by 15.

Hiring a development specialist to assist us in raising the funds we need to realize our goals.

WARA and WARC are committed to continuous improvement: the 2014 comprehensive evaluation found that WARC had made significant progress in all areas noted for recommendations from previous audits and evaluations; further, before the consultant left Senegal, WARC began to implement the recommendations from that evaluation.