2021 Featured Speaker
Molefi Kete Asante
Molefi Kete Asante is Professor and Chair, Department of Africology at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is President of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies. Asante was a Guest Professor, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, and is Professor Extraordinarius at the University of South Africa. He is the Founding and Current Editor, Journal of Black Studies and first director of UCLA’s Center for Afro-American Studies in 1969. Asante, often called the most prolific African American scholar, has published 94 books, among the most recent are The Perilous Center, or When Will the African Center Hold; Radical Insurgencies; The History of Africa, 3rd Edition; The African American People: A Global History; Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation; Revolutionary Pedagogy; African American History: A Journey of Liberation; African Pyramids of Knowledge; Facing South to Africa, and, the memoir, As I Run Toward Africa. Asante has published more than 500 articles and is considered one of the most quoted living African authors as well as one of the most distinguished thinkers in the African world. He has been recognized as one of the 10 most widely cited African scholars. Asante has been recognized as one of the most influential leaders in education. He has been named a HistoryMaker with an interview in the Library of Congress. In 2019 the National Communication Association named him an NCA Distinguished Scholar, its highest honor, saying that his writings were “spectacular and profound”. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, at the age of 26, and was appointed a full professor at the age of 30 at the State University of New York at Buffalo. At Temple University he created the first Ph.D. Program in African American Studies in 1988. He has directed more than 140 Ph.D. dissertations making him the top producer of doctorates among African American scholars. He is the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity.
Asante was born in Valdosta, Georgia, of Sudanese (Nubian) and Nigerian (Yoruba) DNA heritage. He is one of sixteen children. He is married to Ana Yenenga, an African Costa Rican, with Akan ancestry via Jamaica. He is the father of the writer and filmmaker, MK, Jr. and Eka Asante, and Mario Root. He has six grandchildren, Jamar Ramses, Ayaana, Aion, Nova, Akira, and Akila. He is a poet, novelist, dramatist, and a painter. His works on African language, African history, multiculturalism, and human communication and philosophy have been cited and reviewed by journals such as the Africalogical Perspectives, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Journal of Black Studies, Black Scholar, Journal of Communication, American Scholar, Daedalus, Western Journal of Black Studies, and International Journal of Pan African Thought. The Utne Reader called him one of the “100 Leading Thinkers” in America. Asante has appeared on numerous television and social media programs in Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Europe. He has received many awards and honors for scholarship, philosophy, and political activism. He regularly consults with heads of state in Africa and has become one of the most popular lecturers on issues related to the United States of Africa. He serves on the Thabo Mbeki African School of Leadership at UNISA. Asante was invited in February 2020 by the Russian Academy of Sciences and RUDN to co-chair a seminar on African Affairs with Professor E. Vasiliev; and his writings are in Russian, Spanish, Kiswahili, Portuguese, French, Hungarian, and Japanese. He was the President of the Civil Rights organization, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee’s chapter at UCLA in the 1960’s. In 1995 he was made a traditional king, Nana Okru Asante Peasah, Kyidomhene of Tafo, Akyem, Ghana. He was appointed a Wanadu of the Court of Hassimi Maiga, the Amiru of Gao, Songhay, Mali in 2009. Asante trained journalists in Zimbabwe immediately after the 2nd Chimurenga and was a mentor to the first group of liberated journalists from Zimbabwe Institute of Mass Communication. Asante has received honorary doctorates and awards from several institutions, including Pepperdine University, Sojourner-Douglass College, University of South Africa, and University of New Haven. He remains a popular consultant for many school districts seeking to build Afrocentric curricula.