The Center for American Studies (CAST) was founded on August 19, 1998 in the University town of Nsukka, Nigeria by a group of young intellectuals who share a common vision for better Nigeria. The original idea to establish the Center was conceived in Washington D.C. in July 1998 while the Executive Director of the Center, Professor Jonah Onuoha, was participating in United States Information Agency (USIA) sponsored summer programme in the Making of United States Foreign Policy. The Programme afforded him the opportunity to appreciate the beauty, peace and stability in the United States.
On arrival to Nigeria within the first week of August, 1998, he was anxious to share his experience with his professional colleagues and students at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The outcome of this discussion was the establishment of the Center for American Studies. On August 19, 1998, the Center successfully organized a ONE-DAY workshop on the Obituary of Socialism and the Need for American Studies in Africa.
The Center for American studies (CAST) is a voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit-making organization designed to provide a positive, supportive, and egalitarian environment for friendly exchange of ideas between the people of the United States of America and Africa in the area of governance, conflict resolution, manpower development, gender and environmental studies among others.
The central aim of the Center is to promote international peace and understanding through cross fertilization of ideas between the people of the United States of America and Africa. The Center has been designed to get the best from the wealth of experience of the United States in the areas of governance, conflict resolution, gender and environmental studies to enhance African development.
The Center has been designed to achieve the following objectives:
To stimulate, co-ordinate and carry out research, teaching and learning in the areas of United States political institutions, democratic practice, federalism, rule of law and foreign policy.
- To create awareness about the role of the United States and its agencies such as the USIS, USAID etc, in African development.
- To conduct specialized short training programmes for capacity building for diplomats, labour leaders, student activists, rural community based organizations (CBOs), industrialist, and administrators.
- To promote teaching and research in the area of conflict resolution, peace education and peace building in Africa.
- To promote grassroots mobilization and sensitization campaigns to ensure economic and political development in rural Nigeria in liaison with community based organizations (CBOs).To promote research, training and development in the areas of gender studies, education and women empowerment.
- To encourage intellectual development of the youth among university and high school students through essay competition on the role of the United States in world politics.
- To engage in networking with other credible NGOs with similar and complementary objectives with the center.
- To promote Afro-American art and culture
- To encourage linkages between African and American institutions and scholars.
- To promote all other activities which enhance sustainable development in Africa.
The Administration of the Center is controlled by a five-member Board comprising the following officers:
- Prof. Jonah Onuoha, PhD, Executive Director
- Rev. S. I. Odoh, PhD, Secretary
- Prof. E.O. Ezeani, PhD, Programme Director
- Prof. Malachy Okwueze, PhD, Legal Adviser
- Omenma J. T., Director of Publication and Information Services
The programmes of the center include the following:
- Gender Studies and Women Empowerment
- Conflict Resolution and peace Studies
- Human Rights and Rule of Law
- Rural Development
- Afro-American Studies
- Manpower Development and Training
- Environmental Studies
- Education and Communication Studies
- American Foreign Policy and Diplomacy
To execute our programmes, the Center carries out the following activities:
- Initiation and co-ordination of scientific research
- Round tables
- Publishing of regular journals
Board of directors
The Center has a working Board of Directors of scholars and experience bureaucrats drawn from various academic and professional groups. The Board has international composition.
Membership of the Center is open and in four categories:
- Life Membership
This position shall be filled at the pleasure of the Center
- Honorary Membership
Honorary membership may be conferred on scholars who have distinguished themselves on the area of American studies. This shall be on the recommendation and approval of the Board of Directors. Such members shall be free to use the letters MCAS after their names.
- Fellow of the Center
Any person who has distinguished himself/herself in public service, research and international relations may be conferred with the fellow of the Center (FCAS) on the recommendation and approval; of the Board of Directors. Such a member shall be free to use the letters FCAS after his/her name.
- Associate Membership
Associate membership may be conferred on university and high school students who have interest in American studies.