The MANSA Mission

The Mande Studies Association was officially founded on November 1, 1986 during the annual meeting of the African Studies Association in Madison, Wisconsin. MANSA now has over three hundred members in twenty eight countries including Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Zimbabwe, China, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Egypt, Canada, United States, and Australia.

MANSA ’s mission includes the following:

•To promote scholarly research, both within and outside Africa, in all areas and disciplines of the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities relevant to the Mande experience and environment.
•To encourage international cooperation and facilitate the exchange of ideas and meaningful dialogue among persons engaged in research on Mande societies.
•To encourage the publication and dissemination of scholarly and artistic works as well as primary sources on Mande studies and related topics.
•To organize panels, symposia, and conferences on Mande Studies at meetings of regional, national and international organizations.
•To provide the general public with information on issues of historical, cultural, and contemporary interest in Mande areas of Africa.

A primary goal of MANSA has been to promote the participation of our West African colleagues. Our West African members residing in Africa are exempt from paying membership dues, while enjoying all rights and privileges of the organization. This is possible because from the time of the organizations founding, many MANSA members have paid an annual sponsoring membership in order to cover the membership costs of our colleagues in West Africa.

An important part of MANSA membership is a commitment by our participants to return the results of their research to Africa. Members regularly take or send copies of their articles and books to colleagues and institutions in our West African host countries. Books have been deposited at the University of Mali (formerly ENSUP), the University of Conakry, the University of Kankan, the Institut des Sciences Humaines (Bamako), the Guinean National Archives (Conakry), the Gambian National Library (Banjul), and the USIS libraries in Conakry and Bamako.

MANSA has organized international conferences on Mande studies in Bamako, Mali (March 15 - 19, 1993); Leiden, The Netherlands (20-24 March, 1995), and Serrekunda, The Gambia (13-17 June, 1998). On each of those occasions
the organization succeeded in acquiring travel funds for a limited number of African colleagues, receiving support from government agencies and academic research institutes of the The Netherlands, the United States government, the Bremer Stiftung fr Kultur und Sozialanthropologie of Bremen, Germany, and two anonymous benefactors.

An important part of MANSA membership is a committment by our American and European participants to return the results of their research to Africa. Members regularly take or send copies of their articles and books to colleagues and institutions in our West African host countries. Books have been deposited at the University of Mali (formerly ENSUP), the University of Conakry, the University of Kankan, the Institut des Sciences Humaines (Bamako), the Guinean National Archives (Conakry), the Gambian National Library (Banjul), and the USIS libraries in Conakry and Bamako.