The continent of Africa represents 10 percent of the world's population and one-quarter of its land mass.
African art, music, and literature have had a profound effect on the artistic achievements of the United States.
Thousands of Africans have studied at colleges and universities in the United States and many are now the professors, the prime ministers, or even the presidents of their own countries.
A large number of the citizens of this nation trace their ancestry to the continent of Africa.
It is a continent of vast potential, huge resources, and immense importance to the global economy.
Said William H. Twaddell, deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, in an April 7, 1997, speech at a town meeting in New Orleans: "Peace and political stability in Africa mean greater stability for us; economic growth there translates into greater opportunities for economic growth here. I . . .am. . .unapologetically optimistic for its future."
Yet, as important as Africa is to our global future, it has been too long neglected in our consciousness.
In conjunction with the Second Annual Harry and Berniece Gockel International Symposium at Missouri Southern State College, the College declared the Fall, 1998, semester to be "The Africa Semester."