the History of the Southeast Model African Union (SEMAU)
by Dr. Saba Jallow
(REVISED by Dr. Peter B. Makaya and Dr. Mary Mears: 06/22/2015)
SEMAU was established by the Regents’ Advisory Council on Africa (RACA) in the 1990s. RACA is the forerunner of the University System Africa Council (USAC), which is one of the five USG’s regional
councils operating under the auspices of the USG System Council on International Education (SCIE). The main purpose was to bring Africa as close to the students as possible by simulating the activities
of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, given the lack of adequate resources to enable many students to participate in study- abroad programs on Africa. The SEMAU simulation is, therefore,
the closest program that students will have to a study-abroad program. Students will have an opportunity to meet ambassadors from African Union member states, and discuss major issues and problems
facing the African continent. Students will also serve as ambassadors of African countries and will be charged with debating African issues and passing draft resolutions.
The first SEMAU simulation conference was held in Macon in November, 1997 at what was then Macon State College, now Middle Georgia State University. Dr. Mary Mears, Professor of English, became the first
SEMAU Conference Director, under the guidance of two Georgia Southern University Professors: Dr. Saba Jallow and Dr. Alfred Young. Professors Jallow and Young had served as faculty advisors at the
National Model African Union Conference sponsored and hosted by Professor Michael Nwanze at Howard University, Washington, D.C. Regents Advisory Council on Africa selected Macon for its first SEMAU
conference because of its central location . RACA members also agreed to hold subsequent SEMAU conferences, for at least five years, in Macon to have a sense of history and establish a tradition.
Once that objective was achieved and SEMAU received name recognition and significance, RACA now called USAC, under the able chairmanship of Professor Lovett Elango, now at Clark-Atlanta University,
decided that schools should be given the opportunity to submit bids in order to host SEMAU. Thus, USG institutions were able to host SEMAU by providing conference venues and subsidizing conference
costs. Overall, this experiential model of learning has benefited hundreds of students since the inception of SEMAU in 1997.
The University System of Georgia professors who have served as SEMAU Directors include:
- Professors Mary Mears (Middle Georgia State University, then Macon State College-1997)
- Saba Jallow (Georgia Southern University-1998,2006);Lovett Elango, (Kennesaw State University, 1999)
- James Kahiga (Georgia Perimeter College, 2002, 2007); Florence Wakoko (Fort Valley State University, 2000)
- Florence Wakoko and John Studstill (Columbus State University,2005,2013)
- Eustace Palmer and Funke Fontenot (Georgia College and State University,2004)
- Chester Fontenot (Mercer University, 2009); Nuru Akinyemi (Kennesaw State University,2008)
- Akinloye Ojo (University of Georgia, 2003)
- Angela R. Bratton and Augustine Hammond (Georgia Regents University, then Augusta State University,2010)
- Stephen Agyekum, (Armstrong State University, 2006, co-hosted with Savannah State and Georgia Southern)
- Professor Augustine Ayuk (Clayton State University,2014)
- Professor Emmanuel Naniuzeyi (Savannah State University—hosted three times with last two under the direction of Naniuzeyi-2006,2011, 2012)
The Co-directors for the 2015 SEMAU Conference are: Professors Peter B. Makaya, Mary Mears and Grace Adams-Square (Middle Georgia State University, 2015).
The Southeast Model African Union would not have been a successful teaching tool without the commitment and dedication of the following faculty and administrators: Professors Lovett Elango, Saba Jallow, Eustace Palmer, Nuru Akinyemi (all former Chairs of USAC),
Funke Fontenot (current Chair of USAC),
James Kahiga (webmaster),
Alfred Young, Ken Eke, Ife Williams,Diane Napier, Lioba Moshi, Mary Mears, Doyin Kolo, Florence Wakoko-Studstill, John Studstill, Charles Ubah, Victoria Paisley, Patricia Campbell, Alethia Livingston,
Funke Fontenot, Chester Fontenot, David Hunter, Akinloye Ojo, Karim Traore, Mary Jo Fayoin, David Smith, Christain Horton, George Vargis, Sally Vargis, Angela R. Bratton, Augustine Hammond, Emmanuel
Konde, Claudia Jones,Shiroya Okete, Stephen Agyekum, Augustine Ayuk, Peter Makaya, Grace Adams-Square, Gerald McIntosh, Crispen Matsika and last but not least, Richard Sutton, Director, System Council
on International Education (SCIE) and Jennifer A. Lund, SCIE Special Projects Coordinator and Africa Council liaison.