This is an interdisciplinary conference like no other. Organized by the Ghanaian Association of Hispanists, the purpose of ICALLAS is to build and sustain, on African soil, a dialogue among the various disciplines engaged in the study of issues related to Africa and the peoples of African ancestry in Brazil and the Spanish-speaking world. Participants are also encouraged to consider presentations on diasporic French-speaking communities. Further, we welcome topics related to language acquisition and pedagogy. Since its inauguration in 2007, the conference has garnered a reputation for promoting cross-disciplinary interactions and placing a strong emphasis on camaraderie and networking. As such, conference activities are geared toward fostering interpersonal exchange and social entertainment: snack breaks; an excursion to Kakum National Park, Cape Coast, and Elmina; a Welcome Dinner Reception with cultural performance; a Closing Dinner Reception with live music and dance. Indeed, over the years, a number of conference participants have returned to the University of Ghana, this time to serve as professors of Spanish.
The rationale for choosing the site of this conference has not changed. Most of the slaves that were transported to the Americas came from this part of Africa. Consequently, a historical connection exists between Ghana and the daughters and sons of Africa who ended up on the shores of the Caribbean and other slave ports in the Americas. The slave forts of Cape Coast and Elmina have, therefore, become key destinations for many from across the world. Since Ghana’s political independence over sixty years ago, it has played a leading role in advocating for peace and freedom on the African continent. Holding this event in Ghana is a way of recognizing the importance of this country within the annals of world history and its current position as a genuinely democratic nation in Africa. Furthermore, since its establishment, the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Ghana has been at the forefront of the promotion of Hispanic studies on the African continent. The conference continues to honor the efforts of the Spanish Section, which has produced outstanding African Hispanists, who teach in various institutions in North America and Europe.