Prof. Will Leben of Stanford University
Will Leben is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Stanford University, where he has taught since 1972 and still teaches the occasional course. After field work in Niger and Nigeria, he wrote and collaborated on many articles on African languages and several textbooks on Hausa. He and Brett Kessler recently completed a new edition of Introduction to the Languages of the World for Oxford University Press.
With a team he and Firmin Ahoua directed, Leben has published two works on the Kwa languages of Côte d’Ivoire, Morphophonologie des langues kwa de Côte d’Ivoire and Contes et textes documentaires kwa de Côte d’Ivoire. He is a recipient of a Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Stanford and is an Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite Ivoirien.
Yazi Dogo – Hausa Theater Icon from the Republic of Niger
Yazi Dogo’s life and his career represent untoward loyalty and devotion to his language, his culture, and his country.
El-Hadj Yazi Dogo was born in the Republic of Niger during the 1940s. He went through the French language primary school and secondary school in pre-independence Niger, and went on to become an educator in the early part of his career, and later moved up through the hierarchy in education. He was one of the first primary teachers to teach the new Hausa curriculum that was introduced into the public school system in the 1970s. During a visit to Niger in 1974, I was fortunate to visit his school and to be introduced to the methodology that was adopted in an environment where French had always been the exclusive medium of instruction. This was a pioneering effort that led to the introduction of Nigerien languages into schools throughout the country.
Yazi Dogo, or just Yazi, as he is known throughout Niger, is famous for his theater group which has performed for the past 30 years throughout Niger and West Africa. From comic through educational theater, he and his group have performed before heads of state, and before village children. Through the comedy and the laughter, there are always deeper messages and lessons to be drawn from his work.
Alio Mainasara graduated from the Université Abdou Moumouni in Niamey, Niger in 1993 with his master’s degree. Upon completion of his studies, he then taught transcription and writing in Hausa at the same university from 1993 to 1996. During the same period, he also taught French, history, and geography at the Collège la Réussite (Annajah). From 1996-1998, he became a literacy trainer – for Hausa and French – at the departmental inspection office of the Literacy and Adult Training office of the Communauté Urbaine de Niamey. From 1996 to 2004, he held taught French writing in several literacy centers. Presently, Alio Maïnassara is teaching Hausa language translation and literacy techniques and methods at the Centre de Formation des Cadres de l’Alphabétisation in Niamey.
Linguist, sociolinguist, educator, and author
Abdu Mijingini was born in Koona, Niger in 1951. After his training in education and linguistics, he was assigned a position in educational reform at the National Institute for Pedagogical Documentation, Research, and Promotion (INDRAP) in 1981. At INDRAP, he established a division for education in national languages and elaborated the first project for linguistic consciousness raising in Niger. He work in the writing and preparation of educational materials and was then named Permanent Secretary of the National Commission for the Educational Reform, among other titles. He has published several titles in the Hausa language, including an important Hausa-French dictionary. He also translated the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights into Hausa. He established his own publishing house in 2007 and continues to make important contributions to the print environment of Niger.
Halima Djido SARMEI was born in Zinder, Republic of Niger in 1961. She attended primary school and middle school in Zinder before being trained in literacy work by the Centre de Formation des Cadres de l’Alphabétisation in Niamey from 1978-81 and received a Diploma in literacy training. She obtained a bacherlor’s degree in Development and Adult Education from the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso after studying there from 2005 to 2007. Today she works in Niamey as a Hausa literacy specialist. She is a member of the Nigerien Writers’ Association as well as the Association of National Language Authors.
Halima Djido SARMEI est né à Zinder, République du Niger en 1961. Elle a fait son école primaire à Zinder. Elle a aussi étudié au Collège Fatima de Zinder de 1974-1978. Elle était formée en alphabétisation au the Centre de Formation des Cadres de l’Alphabétisation à Niamey de 1978-1981 et elle a reçu son Diplômes d’Aptitudes à la Formation Permanente et l’Alphabétisation (DAFPA) à la sortie. Elle a étudié à l’Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso de 2005-2007 et a reçu son Licence en Développement et Education des Adultes comme résultat. Elle travaille dans l’alphabétisation en tant que spécialiste de la langue Hausa. Elle est membre de l’Association des Ecrivains du Niger et aussi de l’Association des Ecrivains en Langues Nationales.
David Westley was born in Madison, Wisconsin, USA and received a Masters in Library Science and a PhD in African Languages and Literature both from the University of Wisconsin. He taught English and African Literature at the Northeast College of Arts and Science in Maiduguri, Nigeria and Hausa and Introductory Linguistics at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria. He taught Hausa and African Studies courses at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA.For the past 24 years he has served as Bibliographer at the African Studies Library at Boston University in Massachusetts, USA. He has published numerous bibliographies and book reviews on many different Africa related topics. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA.