Panel Discussion: HEAR WORD!

A panel discussion will follow the matinee performance of HEAR WORD! at 2PM on Sunday, April 17. Panel participants include:

Sue Cook, Moderator
Executive Director, Harvard University Center for African Studies

Ifeoma Fafunwa
Director, Hear Word!
Founding Creative Director, iOpenEye Productions

Biodun Jeyifo
Harvard University Professor of African and African American Studies and of Comparative Literature 

Hauwa Ibrahim
Visiting Lecturer, Women’s Studies and Islamic Law, Harvard Divinity School
Fellow, Human Rights Program, Harvard University
Fellow, Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard University

Pamela Nwaoko
J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School
Executive Board Member, Harvard African Law Association

More about the participants:

Sue Cook is the Executive Director of the Harvard University Center for African Studies. Trained as a linguistic anthropologist and comparative genocide scholar, Sue has worked extensively in South Africa (with the Royal Bafokeng Nation), Cambodia (with the Cambodian Genocide Program), Botswana, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. She has held academic appointments at Yale, Brown, and the University of Pretoria. Her interests include mine-community relations in Africa, traditional leadership, urban language varieties, and sports and development. She is the author of The Business of Being Bafokeng: Corporatization in a Tribal Authority in South Africa, Performing Royalty in Contemporary Africa (with Rebecca Hardin) and Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda: New Perspectives (ed.).

Ifeoma Fafunwa is the founder and creative director of iOpenEye, a Nigerian production company formed in 2014, which utilizes performance art to drive social change. Her recent work includes producing and directing HEAR WORD! Naija Women Talk True – a collection of riveting monologues based on true-life stories of Nigerian women, aimed at challenging social, cultural and political norms that limit the potential and contribution of women. Ifeoma has over 20 years of creative collaborative experience on projects in theatre, architecture, film and fine art in the US and Nigeria.  Her work in theatre includes directing The Vagina Monologues and a number of plays by contemporary Nigerian writers including Not My Affair, The Naming Ceremony, Bigger & Better, Digging for Gold and Diagnosis for the British Council’s Lagos Theatre Festival. She wrote and performed a one-woman show Eggs and Fleas,which was nominated by the Los Angeles Weekly for best solo performance. In 2012 Ifeoma directed Nigeria’s cultural submission for the London Olympics and in 2014 she participated in the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT).  In April 2016, Ifeoma will work as a visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in Cambridge. She is a fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and runs a pro-bono performance art workshop building capacity for young female performers and university students in Nigeria. She currently lives in Lagos and is married with four children.

Hauwa Ibrahim is a Visiting Lecturer on Women’s Studies and Islamic Law at Harvard Divinity School and is currently a fellow at both the Human Rights Program and the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard University. She is also a senior partner at Aries Law Firm. Working as a lead attorney with a team devoted to the cause of human rights for women in Nigeria, she has won a number of precedent-setting cases before Islamic Sharia courts. Ibrahim has been a visiting professor at Saint Louis University School of Law and Stonehill College, as well as a World Fellow at Yale University. In 2005, she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament, which honors individuals or organizations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and freedoms. She was cited for her work as defense counsel in approximately 50 cases that were brought under the aegis of Sharia law, many of which involved women sentenced to death by stoning. Ibrahim earned an LLB and a masters in international law and diplomacy from the University of Jos in Nigeria; a BL for legal practice from Nigeria Law School; and a masters of law degree in international studies at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Pamela Nwaoko, born of Nigerian immigrants in New Jersey, is currently a 2L. Prior to HLS, she received her M.Sc. in African Studies from the University of Oxford and worked as an intern with USAID’s Africa Bureau.  She spent her 1L summer at Microsoft Corporation in the company’s Legal and Corporate Affairs group.