The Africa Awareness Initiative was founded in 2002 as a response to the lack of representation and intelligent dialogue of Africa on the University of British Columbia’s campus.
In general, Africa was rarely ever discussed in the Academic arena, and when it was, it was presented as a homogeneous and often negative entity. This was evidenced in the general lack of knowledge about Africa, the lack of attention given to contemporary African issues and initiatives, and the lack of African subject matter in courses at the university. It was thus through the collective efforts of members of the Vancouver community, the International House at UBC, the UBC World Universities Services Canada (WUSC) and concerned faculty members that Africa Awareness hosted its first conference. Founding members of the initiative are Veronica P. Fynn, Dr. Gloria Onyeoziri, Shirin Theophilus, Professor Nancy Gallini, Dr. Margery Fee, Sarah Twomey, Pascaline Nsakera, Carolyn Long, Winnie Cheung, Parker Johnson and other support staff, students and community members. It is through their efforts, that Africa Awareness enters ninth year.
Africa Awareness is committed to improving discourse surrounding including Africa at UBC. We aim to produce outstanding academic forums to encourage critical discussions pertaining to the relevance of the African continent, the Diaspora and its globalization. In order to realize our vision, our mission is to exceed the layperson's expectations of how much Africa has to give to the world. We will accomplish this by presenting world-class African scholars, writers, artists and activists representative of the high standard of knowledge being produced about Africa.
We believe that as an organization we should have values that we stand by. Our core values are:
- Transparency: : As an organization we believe in the importance of honesty and integrity in everything we do
- Accountability: We believe in taking responsibility for what we do whether it be through our events, information, or commitments
- Professionalism: We uphold respect and proficiency in our actions and appearance
- Excellence: We stand firmly with the belief that whatever must be done, must be done well and to the best of our abilities
- Inclusivity: We value those interested in Africa and the African idelogiestowards wellbeing of its people in every aspect. We encourage the inclusion of all people, Africans and non Africans
- Education: To achieve the creation of an African Sudies Program designed to lead to better dialogue surrounding Africa in the Western higher education
- Awareness: To create a legacy of Africa Awareness in the UBC learning community
- Unity: To unite both Africans and non-African individuals and organizations affiliated with Africa on on campus in order to build an effective African support base. Also, we aim to create unity among Africa Awareness Initiative members because of the importance we place on community building
- Leadership: To encourage, facilitate and support leadership skills intensification among Africa Awareness Initiative members. Preparing them to utilize the skills gained within real world settings. We believe in the importance of great leaders to shape the future of Africa and aim to provide the tools to make that goal a reality