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    Presidential Address by Dr. Mrs. Ada Uzoamaka AzodoAt the 2018 16th Annual Conference and Meeting of the Igbo Studies Association (USA), Dominican University River Forest, Illinois, USA

     As delivered, May 12, 2018

    Ndi Igbo, Nma, Nma nu o!

    Ladies and Gentlemen, lend me your ears. The Executive Management Team and I have come full circle in the responsibility entrusted on us in 2016 to further the mission, objective and goals of the Igbo Studies Association.

    Last year, at Owerri, I put out a clarion call for a return to our Igbo roots and for stock-taking about who the Igbo are as a people. That call, happily resulted in the choice of 2018 conference theme: Igbo ga-adị. Then, together, we have thereby worked hard to enhance our mission as teachers and researchers, employing our communication organs in so doing, including the ISA Newsletter, The Igbo Studies Review, and the listserv ISA Google Scholars Group.

    Association Outreach: Very recently, The Igbo Studies Review was nominated for inclusion in a new line of academic databases in libraries of colleges and universities by EBSCO database. Similar to google search and yahoo commercial search engines, EBSCO facilitates the display of a list of articles from different sources, making it possible for different web sites to source these publications, thus widening the use of the articles. Needless to add, this association with the Publisher Partners should widen the circle of academics that use our Review.  By the same token, the association prompts us to be watchful of the caliber of articles that are allowed to feature in The Review from our annual conferences. Thankfully, our web site has a completely new design now, a user-friendly interface proper to a 21st century kind of search, thanks to our knowledgeable and digitally savvy Public Relations Officer.

    On the day-to-day running of the Association, the Advisory Board has employed strength and distinction in supporting the vision of the Executive Management Team, seeking nothing less than the development of the Igbo Studies Association of America in the mid path way of balance and passion for equilibrium in a complex world.

    We had a largely uneventful year, minus the short-lived ‘two Igbo women’s war,’ which called for quick and drastic measures to quell the ‘riot’ in order to avoid potential damage to our ISA. I would like to see members scheduling other conferences of their own around our ISA annual conference to do schedule them well away from ISA. For indeed, how can any of these other conferences that end at midnight before ISA starts ever afford their attendees enough time to turn around and attend ISA from day one? Assuming they are there physically, how ready would they be for ISA as well mentally? I have taken time to reflect on what caused the conflict(s) and what can be done to avoid a repeat in the future. Here are my thoughts:

    • Although I see the need, as one member has said to me, to ‘kill two birds with one stone,’ this need to actually go home to Nigeria and be able to say I attended two conferences during my week abroad in the United States of America
    • Although that in itself is maximizing the cost of academic expenses for potential recognition and promotion;
    • Although I understand a group of Igbo scholars seeking an avenue to hone into their particular subfield of passion not covered by the principal conference theme and subthemes;
    • Still, I suggest that we extend our ISA conference to Sunday morning sessions, before 12 noon, in order to schedule more panels than a three-day conference currently allows us to do. OR
    • We could also ask Dominican University to give us more rooms than the 4 rooms presently available to us, so that we can schedule more concurrent panels; OR
    • We could also accommodate within ISA particular interest groups that can be scheduled to pursue their passion while other panels are going on (The kind of “Friends of …” that you would see in African Literature Association or African Studies Association of which we are an affiliate member.
    • Successes and Limitations: Our membership continues to grow with many first-time members this year.
    • We are funding this conference completely on our own means, not having received as much help as we did in the past.
    • A volume of selected papers from the Owerri Summit is in the works and shall be published later this calendar year.
    • We have received a reasonable and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from Dominican University, River Forest, for educational cooperation between them and our Association that promises to be mutually beneficial. You shall have the opportunity shortly to consider it for acceptance, so that we can move forward with founding a Secretariat and a Center for Igbo Studies in the Diaspora.
    • The arduous ISA Endowment Fund project remains work in progress that, hopefully, will come to fruition in the nearest future.
    • Next year, we shall again attempt to award the Don Ohadike Book Prize. Take note of the December 31 deadline for any submissions and the fact that is should be a work that bears out ISA mission. Surely, we can do it!.

    Hope for the Future: What I would like to see in the nearest future, given the strides we are making with ISA-Dominican Liaison and ISA Endowment Fund, is to establish an Igbo Studies Association Executive Handbook and Calendar,. This document will spell out ISA Traditions of Governance, Executive Meeting Schedules, Executive Duties and Calendars, and a Note to all Officers, Committee Chairpersons and Advisory Board about Absences, Proxies, and Correspondence and Files, including ISA Annual Selected Conference Papers, Editors of other ISA publications, Individuals, ISA annuals—Igbo Studies Review and ISA Newsletter, ISA Headquarters and Director, and Guidelines for Conference Conveners, Chairpersons and Panelists, Standard ISA Meetings, etc.

    Finally, please be lucid and conscientious, therefore, in choosing your new Executive officers to carry on the mission of the Association.

    Thank you! God bless you!

    And God bless the Igbo Studies Association of the United States of America!


    Your ISA membership must be renewed annually in order to remain active.

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    • Student Member (Renewal) - $30
    • Regular Member (New) - $75
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    • Life Member - $1000


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    The Director,
    Igbo Studies Association Secretariat & Center for Igbo Studies
    Fine Arts Building, Room # 321
    Dominican University
    7900 W. Division Street
    River Forest, IL 60305 USA
    Telephone: (708) 488-5302

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