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Old Dominion University's Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center will host the first Umoja Conference Jan. 25-26, 2002. The conference, derived from the Swahili word for "unity," merges the Sisterhood Symposium and the Black Male Summit into one program under the theme of "Masculinity, Femininity, One Entity."

The two-day Umoja conference will feature guest speakers, workshops and cultural events designed to enhance unification among black students. It is open to all colleges and universities as well as various community groups. Students will have the opportunity to network with workshop presenters, members of the black community and students from other schools.
According to Bobbi Lynn, a conference spokesperson, between 300 and 500 representatives from six universities across the state are expected to attend: Old Dominion, Norfolk State, Hampton, Christopher Newport, Norfolk State and Virginia Tech.

The Sisterhood Symposium seeks to encourage academic success among Black females; heighten awareness of cultural issues; encourage success in the occupational setting/workforce; promote leadership; and emphasize the importance of spirituality and a healthy self-image. The Black Male Summit is designed to provide a link between faculty, especially black faculty, and the black male student body. It also aims to establish contacts and resources for the social and academic development of black male students, and create ties between black male students and the larger university population.

Participants will check-in beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, in the North Mall of Webb University Center. The Umoja Unity Dinner will start at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, the conference resumes with a continental breakfast, followed by check-in and registration from 8- 8:50 a.m. in the North Mall of Webb Center. Workshops will begin at 9 a.m. Casual dress (no jeans or tennis shoes) is appropriate for Friday night, and professional attire is required for Saturday.

Visit www.odu.edu/AO/student_serv/AACC to register online or complete the process in person at the Hugo Owens African American Cultural Center, located at 1417 W. 49th St.

The registration deadline is Dec. 14.

The cost to attend is $5 for Old Dominion students, faculty, and staff; $10 for representatives of other colleges and universities; and $25 for members of the surrounding communities.

All registered participants will receive a free T-shirt and a workshop packet. For more information, call 683-5490.

This article was posted on: November 15, 2001

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