Holiday Greetings from AASR President Elias Kifon Bongmba

Dear Colleagues,

I send you holiday greetings on behalf of the Executive of the African Association for the Study of Religions. Thank you for your AASR membership and participation that has made us grow over the years.

2018 has been a fantastic year for us. First, the Biennial Conference held in Lusaka was a great success. I extend our thanks to the University of Zambia and the Justo Mwale University for hosting us. The Co-Chairs of the Local Organizing Committee, Dr. Marja Hinfellar, and Dr. Judith Ziwa and all the members of the committee did a fantastic job in putting together the conference on short notice, and we thank them for this service. We thank the International Association for the History of Religions, IAHR, for the generous support of our Lusaka conference. We also express our appreciation to many of you who presented papers at this conference and invite you to consider presenting papers at the next Biennial Conference that will hold in Senegal in 2020. Our Vice President, Dr. Damaris Parsitau, is in conversation with the Executive Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (Codesria), and we will give you further updates in the New Year. We encourage you to prepare for that conference as well as the 22nd Quinquennial World Congress of IAHR that will convene at the University of Otago in 2020.

Second, we thank all of you who presented papers at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and Society for Biblical Literature (SBL) during the annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. In preparation for 2019, we encourage you to send paper and panel proposals when the call for papers goes out. Consider also sending paper and panel proposals for the African Studies Association (ASA).

Third, we want to extend our congratulations to Professor Jacob Kehinde Olupona of Harvard University for receiving the Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion. Many of you attended the award ceremony and later joined us for dinner at an Ethiopian Restaurant in Denver to celebrate the accomplishment and leadership of Professor Olupona.

Fourth, we congratulate Professor Gerrie ter Haar for the recognition that she received this year with a Life Time Membership in the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR).

Fifth, we have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate with the Journal of Africana Religions, a peer-reviewed journal edited by Professors Edward E. Curtis and Sylvester A. Johnson and published by The Pennsylvania State University Press. We thank Professors Curtis and Johnson for leading this initiative and encourage you to consider submitting your work to this journal as well as book series that the journal has with the press for consideration. This amazing initiative adds to the journal list we support, including the AASR Ejournal, and the Journal of Religion in Africa.

Sixth, we are exploring opportunities for our web services that includes finding a new host and home. The move to a new hosting service is the first for us and involves a large budget for these services. I encourage all of you to pay your annual membership dues and consider making a generous gift to AASR to facilitate this transition. We have functioned and maintained a presence on the World Wide Web, at no cost at least during my tenure, and we have Professor Jan Platvoet and Professor Melissa Browning and Wes Browning to thank for their dedicated service. They will work with Dr. Sara Fretheim our Web and Social Media specialist to effect this transition. The success of this transition depends on our generosity, and I appeal to all of you to consider making a gift to make this work smoothly so that we do not lose our ability to communicate with all of you.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Elias Kifon Bongmba
President