we welcome you to discover


Year 1 – Fall 2017 | Winter 2018

Our opening year focuses on discovery and understanding of health, art, and cultural parallels between West Michigan and Sub-Saharan Africa. The humankind series is designed to engage our students and community in the possibilities afforded when we explore beyond our borders. Take part in this unique global learning opportunity, right in your backyard.

We welcome you to recap our Year 1 program

FALL 2017 | WINTER 2018

Lectures & Presentations

Sustainability in African Agriculture

It’s impact on Refugees, Citizens and Immigration Law

November 7, 2017

Presented by Dr. Ruth Mbabazi

Dr. Ruth Mbabazi is a Research Assistant Professor with the World Technology Access Program (WorldTAP) in the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University (MSU). The WorldTAP is an international capacity building and technology transfer program. Dr. Mbabazi is also a core faculty with the African Studies Center and the Asian Studies Centre at MSU. Her research focuses on the policy and regulatory aspects of agricultural biotechnology and biosafety. Dr. Mbabazi is working with several countries in Africa to enhance policies and regulatory frameworks governing biotechnology and seed systems. She brings more than 12 years of experience in agriculture policy, regulations and technology transfer as it relates to applications of modern biotechnology tools to enhance food and nutritional security and economic growth in developing countries.

Would You Choose GMOs Over Hunger?

Developing an Ethical Framework for Life in a Global World

January 25, 2018

Presented by Dr. Stephen Esquith

Dr. Stephen Esquith, professor and philosopher, presents the notion that our singular, first world perspective may render an improper moral judgement on developing countries. Might we make different choices about GMOs if we were living in poverty in a parched climate? Dr. Esquith explores the boundaries of our moral and ethical perspective in hopes of expanding our awareness and impact on life beyond our borders. Join us to discover and discuss if there can be a balance related to the complex moral issues facing our world related to GMOs.

How Will GMOs Impact Our Future?

Examining Genetic Engineering: How Our Past Can Prepare Us for the Future

February 15, 2018

A Panel Discussion with Industry Experts

When we assign a singular story to a person, people, region, country, or continent, we risk a critical misunderstanding. This expert panel has been assembled to address the differences between developing and developed nations regarding chosen crop sciences, implementation, and the impact they have on the region and its people. Panelists representing fields as diverse as animal biology, genetics, and agricultural biotechnology will explore and discuss the ethics of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) found in everyday life within Nigeria and West Michigan.

Why is Simple Disease Not So Simple?

Effects of Parasitic Diseases in Michigan and Sub-Saharan Africa

March 15, 2018

Presented by Dr. Judith Humphries

Animals and people in both Africa and Michigan are exposed to parasites each and every day with contrasting consequences. Dr. Judith Humphries will compare the effects of how common parasitic diseases like swimmers itch and heart worm can threaten everyday life, while providing perspective on their impact here and in developing countries.

Is AIDs More Than a Single Story?

A discussion of a wold wide issue

April 17, 2018

Lecture by Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein

HIV is a worldwide problem, and it does not discriminate. Robert Root-Bernstein presents an expanded perspective of HIV and AIDS, helping his audience to think beyond the borders of traditional stereotypes of the disease and its transmission. In his presentation, he offers an unconventional view to help our community better understand this disease, and shares his research on potential advancements in slowing progression.

Why is Creative Thinking Important?

Creativity, Poetry, & Movement

April 17, 2018

Presented by Michele Root-Bernstein, artist

Michele Root-Bernstein explains the value of creative thinking across the arts and sciences, illustrating the importance of imaginative play in childhood and adulthood, particularly play involving the elaboration of alternate places and peoples.

FALL 2017 | WINTER 2018

Photography & Gallery Talks

Mopti a la Mode

Portrait Photographs by Tijani Sitou

October 26, 2017

Presented by Tijani Sitou

Join Malick Sitou, son of Tijani Sitou, as he explores the cultural origins and inspiration behind his father’s work as well as his own experiences as a photographer.

20th Century Photography in Africa

Photographs by Dr. Candace Keller

November 15, 2017

Presented by Dr. Candace Keller

Explore the development of photography in Africa with Dr. Candace Keller, art historian and specialist in mid-20th century African photography.

Book Discussion

Author & Book Talk

Author Talk & Book Discussion: 

Novel X – African-American Experience

Presented by Co-Author Kekla Magoon

Acclaimed young adult author Kekla Magoon will visit Center Stage as part of the Great Michigan Read program in which schools and reading groups all across our state encounter the same book together. Magoon is co-author of X: A Novel, a reimagined narration of the youth and young adult hood of civil rights activist and Lansing native Malcolm X. Writing with Malcolm’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, Magoon has crafted a powerful and personal account of the challenges that led to Malcolm’s emergence as one of the most powerful voices of the twentieth century.

LIVE on stage


Out of Africa

A Dynamic Music and Dance Experience

Join us for an unforgettable music experience celebrating WSCC’s academic focus on Sub- Saharan Africa. World-renowned percussionist Dane Richeson, leading Ghanaian dancer Nani Agbeli, and award-winning kora and oud player Kane Mathis come together for a dynamic performance of African percussive arts, music, and dance.

Fall Exhibit

Mopti a la Mode

Portrait Photographs from Tijani Sitou

Join Malick Sitou, son of Tijani Sitou, as he explores the cultural origins and inspiration behind his father’s work as well as his own experiences as a photographer.

Winter Exhibit

African Textiles and Beadwork

Color & Diversity Across a Continent

Throughout Africa, textiles and beadwork are an important part of the aesthetic language. Visitors to the Manierre Dawson gallery can view and appreciate many different traditions of African textiles and beadwork. In the exhibit are pieces from Morocco to the southern fringes of the Sahara, through West Africa to Cameroon and on to the Congo Basin.

Thank You

Thank you for your interest in Sub-Saharan Africa, we hope that you will join us for an upcoming lecture soon!

Special Thanks To

Manierre Dawson Gallery

M-TH: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
F : 9 a.m. – 1 p.m
Weekends during performances
on Center Stage Theatre

Contact us

3000 N Stiles Road
Scottville, MI 49454

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