(Virtual) Knowledge on Tap presents 'African Democracy: Hopes and Challenges'

Date: January 21, 2021
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: wayne.edu/live
Category: Special Event

As the U.S. inaugurates a new president after the most polarizing election in modern times, we can learn a great deal about our own democracy by studying young democracies in other parts of the world.

Pull up a chair, grab a beverage of choice and join Dr. Irvin D. Reid, president emeritus of Wayne State University, for a virtual Knowledge on Tap conversation about African democracy.

Inspired by his newly released documentary, “African Democracy: Hopes and Challenges,” Dr. Reid will discuss his experience exploring democracy in Africa through the African Democracy Project. The documentary underscores not only how democracy is fragile, but also why it is profoundly worth defending. The discussion begins at 6 p.m. and will be moderated by John Corvino, dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. Immediately following will be an audience Q&A session.

The documentary explores responses to several critical questions: What were citizens' hopes and dreams? Where did they think African democracy ranked among the different countries? To what extent do national leaders share governance with local authorities?

Dr. Reid — who was WSU's first African American president, serving from 1997 to 2009 — will also share what those African nations see as their greatest challenges, such as corruption, and whether they are optimistic for the future of democracy on the continent.

In 2008, Dr. Reid established the African Democracy Project, bringing Wayne State Honors College students and others to Africa for a close look at democratic progress on the continent. From this exploration, the documentary “African Democracy: Hopes and Challenges” emerged.

The 90-minute documentary is based on more than 200 interviews of citizens of six African countries as well as nearly 75 U.S. students. The project was initially funded by the Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement with the support of Applebaum Family Philanthropy.

More information about the documentary is available at honors.wayne.edu/adp