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The International Forum on Orisha Tradition and Culture in the Third Millennium: 5/21/99

Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center

The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center/African Diaspora Institute is a unique cultural arts organization that celebrates and documents the rich cultural heritage and vibrant spiritual and creative expressions of people of African descent throughout the world, particularly of the Caribbean and South, Central, and North America. from their web site: http://www.caribectr.org

408 W.58th Street NY, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 307-7420 Fax: (212) 315-1086
E-mail:info@caribectr.org

The International Forum on Orisha Tradition and Culture in the Third Millennium

The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center/African Diaspora Institute

Proudly Presents

The International Forum on Orisha Tradition and Culture in the Third Millennium

Prospect Park Picnic House
Brooklyn, NY

Friday, May 21, 1999  -  6:30-9:30 PM

Since 1976 the Caribbean Cultural Center has remained committed to developing programming that highlights the traditions and cultures of the African Diaspora. By creating and implementing panels, workshops, and conferences related to these themes, the Center has worked to provide our audiences with access to traditional leaders and scholars expert in the African-based traditions which have been transported to and transformed in the Americas. It is from the Caribbean Cultural Center's 1980 "Expressions International Festival" that the ideas and plans for the implementation of the First International Conference on Orisha Tradition and Culture, were developed.

The first conference took place in Ile Ife, Nigeria, in 1981. This historic gathering facilitated the reunion of leaders and devotees of the Yoruba-based traditions from throughout the African diaspora. The meeting of traditional leaders and scholars expert on the religions of Santería(Lukumi), Candomblé, Vodun, Shango and other belief systems maintain the philosophy, traditions, and culture of Africa in the Americas. The first conference led to the development and implementation of the latter two that followed in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in 1983, and in New York City in 1986. These conferences established an informal international network of traditional leaders, scholars, and artists, which provided a forum for continued dialogue among the branches of the African-based religious community. As conference participants developed research projects, and documented their experiences in books and through the creative arts, other international gatherings have occurred.

The three conferences affirmed that communities of African descent throughout the diaspora, have managed to maintain (shared) sacred belief systems that have nurtured the proliferation of common values, ethics, and aesthetic visions that have influenced popular cultures globally. Of equal importance is that the conferences highlighted that the belief systems were the foundation of movements of cultural resistance and affirmation, which have shaped the lives and experiences of Africans on the continent and in the Americas. The conferences highlighted that followers of the African-based belief systems were at the vanguard of liberation struggles, the forging of independence movements, and the development of culturally grounded communities, societies, and institutions. 

As we enter the third millennium, it becomes critical to assess if the proactive roles of our communities' leadership continue to be an active part of the solutions to the contemporary problems and issues that impact communities of African descent. Where are the priests and priestesses of the African-based religious traditions with respect to the issues that impact the well being of our communities? How do our traditional religious communities impact the following areas:

Public Policy
Education
Economics
Community-based organizations
Religious Freedom
Cultural Lifestyles

The International Forum on Orisha Tradition and Culture in the Third Millennium has been planned around a series of questions and issues that traditional leaders, scholars, and artists have posed and submitted to the Caribbean Cultural Center. The central theme seems to be the role of the Orisha tradition(s) and practitioners in improving the lives of our communities into the third millennium.

We encourage practitioners and researchers of Santería, Candomblé, Shango, Vodun and other belief systems to attend this event and help further the dialogue, as the objective of this forum is to initiate a dialogue that addresses our role in empowering our communities, as a united entity.

To join us in our discussion and help frame the issues will be: 

Rowland Ola Abiodun, John C. Newton Professor of Fine Arts and Black Studies, Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts).

Mãe Coleta de Omolu, Irmandade de Boa Morte, Bahia, Brazil.

Robert Farris Thompson, Professor of Afro-American History/Master of Timothy Dwight College, Yale University (New Haven, CT).

Marta Moreno Vega, Assistant Professor of Black and Hispanic Studies, Baruch College (CUNY); President, The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center/African Diaspora Institute.

Seating is limited and reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Caribbean Cultural Center members will be given priority.

We encourage you to become a member of the Caribbean Cultural Center.  Your membership will assist in supporting programs like the First International Conference on Orisha Tradition and Culture in the Third Millennium.

For more information and to make reservations please call 212-307-7420.

http://www.caribectr.org/Orisha2K.html

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