Wayne State University's Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society presents a free program, "Democracy in Far Away Places: Namibia and Afghanistan," Nov. 17-18

November 3, 2014

Wayne State University's Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS) will feature two sessions on Nov. 17 and 18, focusing on the theme, "Democracy in Far Away Places: Namibia and Afghanistan." 

As part of International Education Week, guest speakers will explore the challenges of democracy and education in Namibia and Afghanistan. 

On Monday, Nov. 17, The Honorable Martin Andjaba, ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to the United States of America, will discuss "The Emergence and Challenges of Democracy on the African Continent,"  2 p.m. at Wayne State University's Law School Auditorium, located at 471 West Palmer in Detroit.

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi will examine "The Challenges of Democracy and the Education of Women in Afghanistan," at the McGregor Conference Center, located at 471 Gilmour Mall in Detroit.  

"People often ask why we should care about democracy and education in Africa and Afghanistan,'' said Irvin D. Reid, director of FOCIS and inaugural holder of Wayne State's Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement. "Part of the answer is that we care about building relationships based on mutual prosperity and support.

"Democracy helps to build civilized educated nations while stimulating cultural conversation among nations. Education and democracy together fight corruption and poverty, while enhancing press freedom and building relationships."

Andjaba, named ambassador of Namibia to the United States in 2010, previously served in several leadership positions. After Namibia declared independence in 1990, Andjaba served for the next six years as the government's chief of protocol. In 1996, he became Namibia's permanent representative to the United Nations. During the period that Namibia was a member of the UN Security Council (1999-2000), Andjaba twice served as president of the Security Council. 

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi co-founded Creating Hope International and is founder and CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL). Yacoobi founded AIL in 1995 to provide teacher training to Afghan women, support education for all Afghans, particularly women and children, and provide healthcare and education to women and children. AIL was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women. AIL and Yacoobi are internationally known and recognized for their work and jointly received the 2005 Democracy Award of the National Endowment for Democracy and the 2004 Women's Rights Prize from the Peter Gruber Foundation. 

For more information about FOCIS and "Democracy in Far Away Places: Namibia and Afghanistan," visit
Admission to the event is free. However, seating is limited and reservations are required. RSVP at, or call 313-577-0300.

Established in 2007, FOCIS is a special initiative that focuses Wayne State University's problem-solving resources on an eclectic range of topics important to the campus community and beyond. FOCIS lectures and related events bring together the institution's teaching, research and service missions to advance the frontiers of knowledge, promote informed debate and encourage responsible citizenship in an increasingly fast-paced, interconnected and complex global society. FOCIS presents coordinated public programs, foreign-study projects, research opportunities and ongoing community dialogues addressing specific issues that confront the citizens of Detroit, the United States and the world.

About the Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement
The Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement was created through the generosity of alumnus Eugene Applebaum, founding chair of the Wayne State University Foundation. The Applebaum Chair is a catalyst for cooperation between the university and community organizations on issues in business and economic development, education, health, international outreach, politics and other areas. FOCIS is the Applebaum Chair's primary public platform.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students.