ASI Over The Years……..


1967: A group of young men founded Dignity Institute of Technology in Oakland, California (name changed to African Scientific Institute in 1975).

1970: Sponsored First International African Science Conference held in Oakland, California. Attendees included primarily Bay Area African American scientists and students.

Founded UC Berkeley’s Black Engineering Science Students Association (BESSA – primarily through the efforts of James C. Cherry and Bill Harris) to facilitate Black students not failing and being retained in engineering and science coursework at U.C. Berkeley. DIT and BESSA coordinated activities to assure Bay Area Black communities stayed aware of developments in science and job opportunities in science and technology. Bill Harris was BESSA’s first President. Rodney Maxwell later became one of BESSA’s Presidents. Today, Bill Harris is ASI’s Executive Secretary and Rodney Maxwell is ASI’s Comptroller. This organization became a cornerstone for initiating NSBE (National Society Black Engineers), which today has 15,000+ Black engineering and science students on every major university and college in the U.S.

1971: Sponsored Second International African Science Conference held in Oakland, California. Attendees included primarily Bay Area African American scientists and students. Dr. Pete Bragg (then Chair of UC Berkeley’s Dept. of Material Science), Dr. Kountz (then Co-Chair of UCSF Med Center’s Organ Transplant Operations), and Maurice Dawson (then Director of Oakland’s Model City’s Program) were featured speakers.

1973: Sponsored Third International African Science Conference held, but this time at his Lordship’s in Berkeley. Attendees included primarily Bay Area African American scientists and students. Featured speakers and panelists included Dr. J. Alfred Smith (Allen Temple Church), Dr. Marcus Foster (Oakland Schools Supertindent), Ken Coleman (Hewlett-Packard HR Director and later founded the Peninsula Assoc. of Black Personnel Administrators), Ms. Gerri Lange (film, TV, stage personality), Dr. Edington (of the Bay Area Chapter of NMA).

1975: Sponsored Fourth International African Science Conference was held at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. Attendees included African American scientists and students throughout California. Featured speakers and panelists included leadership from the Northern California and Los Angeles Councils of Black Professional Engineers (Lee O. Cherry co-founded NCCBPE). NCCBPE was responsible for initiating the Interface Program at Allen Temple to assist Black youth to develop in science and math.

Dignity Institute of Technology changes its name to the African Scientific Institute (ASI).

1976: Launched the International African Science Conference to be held for the first time overseas, scheduled to be held in Lagos, Nigeria during 1978, with Black scientists and technologist participating from around the world. Many scientists from Canada, Europe, Japan and China all wanted to participate. The U.S. State Dept. contacted us with interests and concerns. Nigeria had a Coup in 1978. Though this unfortunate turn of events led to the cancellation of this conference, ASI had developed international ties into the scientific and technical communities.

1978: Sponsored “Food: A – Z” conference at U.C. Berkeley to enlighten the public about worldwide food production and distribution. The Director of FAO, Director of Northern CA Grocers Association, and Black Nutritionist Organization representative were featured speakers.

Initiated the “Kajola Farming Project” in Nigeria, a cooperative to support agriculture development within 15,000 acre area. Nigeria’s instability made this project too difficult to move forward.

1979 – 1981: Sponsored Bay Area Job Fairs with the Black Engineering and Science Students Association of UC Berkeley as a partner. These events were held in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, California Bay Area. These fairs were well attended by students and professionals from Bay Area communities.

1984 – 1986: Published “Technology Transfer” magazine, which was distributed to about 5,000 professionals throughout the U.S.

1986 – 1992: Published “SciTech News” newspaper, which was distributed to 25,000+ people throughout the U.S. This publication focused on bringing the world of science and technology into primarily African American homes, churches, barber shops and beauty salons, and wherever we believed Black people congregated. We distributed over 7,500 of these newspapers throughout the Bay Area, with an emphasis on Oakland.

1986 – 1997: Published “Blacks In Science Calendar” and distributed them throughout the U.S. and overseas. This calendar, which featured contemporary Black scientists and technologists super-stars, reached into thousands of homes.

1990 – 2000: Sponsored and presented the Science and Technology Awareness Fair in Oakland, California. Initially, this fair included children from 8 school districts. During the last three years, we jointly sponsored this event with the Oakland Unified School District. Over the years, this most successful two-day event reached 35,000+ Bay Area children. We held this fair in Oakland to make sure African American children and other children of color were exposed to companies and agencies that were excited about the future of our children in the world of science and technology.

1995 – present: Develops its network of notable scientific and technical super-stars through its ASI Fellows Program. These Fellows are loosely networked throughout 47 countries. The thrust of this program is to show our youth about individuals who represent “standards of par-excellence” in their fields of expertise.

1996: Initiated and develops a farming project in Ghana. We grew more than 3,000 pineapples and used this project as a test model to determine requirements to cultivate, harvest and distribute farm produce from agriculture fields to population centers.

2001: Sponsored U.S. Ambassador from Mozambique to the Bay Area, California to present the ill plight of devastation caused by floods to his country that killed hundreds and destroyed the lives of thousands of his fellow country men, women and children.

2002: Commissioned to assess the physical condition of the Dolisie General Hospital in the Republic of Congo and provide a conclusive report that also indicated what was necessary to revitalize this war-torn hospital.

2003 – 2006: Sponsored its outreach efforts to direct Black men and women into the nursing profession, as well as allied health fields. This event was been held every year in Oakland, CA to assure the success of our outreach efforts in the Black community.

2006 – present: Sponsors its Mixers and continues this event today. Though this event is not in a regulated format, the thrust of the gathering revolves around the theme “Bridging the Divide”. We need more Black engineers and scientists. New professionals in these occupations come from our graduate and undergraduate students. We need more of our students majoring in engineering and science, and they come from high schools. Therefore, we need more high school students taking advance mathematics and science courses as prerequisites. Our teachers and educators know what students have the potential to excel in these advance courses. Attendees to this mixer include graduate and undergraduate students, engineering and science professionals and educators from our local schools. We invite people to attend this mixer because they care about our children and future developments as they impact us all in the world of science and technology.

2009: ASI, with support from UNESCO, presented “The African Diaspora Scientific Community Mobilization for Africa” (Adiascom Africa) Initiative”, a conference held in Paris on June 29 – July 1, 2009. The purpose of this conference was:
• To bring together African Diaspora scientists, futurists and technology experts who can assist towards alleviating some structural poverty.
• To address developing infrastructures within Africa.
• To increase networking within the African Diaspora, and also link notable black people with the next generation of black scientists and technologists.

2010: The Second “Fifty Year Manifesto” was developed in the Republic of Benin.

ASI invited to participate in the Third World Festival of Black Arts and Culture (sometimes referred to as FESMAN), held in Senegal. In December 2010, Senegal set the stage for a global celebration of the wealth and diversity of African traditions, culture and achievements, bringing together artists and intellectuals from dozens of African and African diaspora countries, including the United States, Brazil, Haiti, France and Cuba. Unfortunately, due to extreme freeze-over weather conditions in Paris, our workshop was partially held.

UNESCO’s GOOS-Africa presented a Pan-African Conference in the Republic of Benin. ASI participated in this event. We also had an opportunity to speak to students at the University about developments in science and technology and the importance of pursuing courses in these areas for personal opportunities and support for helping the Republic of Benin.The third meeting of the Sub Sahara IHP National Committees organized jointly with an IOC workshop from 15 to 17 February 2010 in Cotonou, Benin. This meeting was organized with the support of the Government of Benin, UNESCO and Global Water Partnership-West Africa (GWP-AO). The meeting aimed to promote better understanding of climate change impacts on water resources and coastal zones in order to assist countries in better managing water resources towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Overall theme of the joint event was climate Change and Water Resources and Coastal Zones Management in Africa. The two events will ran in parallel focusing on two sub-themes: 1.Climate change and water resources management in Africa; 2. Strengthening observing systems capacity for managing the impacts of human activities and coastal inundation in the African regions.

2011: ASI participates in the TCEM. The Republic of South Africa, in collaboration with the African Union (AU) Commission, hosted the African Diaspora Technical Committee of Experts Meeting (TCEM) on 21 and 22 February 2011 in Pretoria. The TCEM brought together experts from the continent and its Diaspora and marked the commencement of the implementation of the first key element of the AU/South Africa African Diaspora roadmap. The other two key elements, as presented by South Africa and endorsed by the AU, were the Ministerial meeting that took place in September 2011, followed by the Global African Diaspora Summit in 2012. In this regard, the main objectives of the 2011 TCEM were, among others, to take stock of factors that might have arisen since the postponement of the 2008 Summit; and to review what the Ministerial and the Summit ought to achieve. The focus of the review was to provide a Draft Summit Declaration, Minister’s Program of Action and previous outcomes reports. Proposals for bankable projects were made within the gambit of the previously agreed areas of cooperation namely, political, economic and social areas of cooperation.

2012: The “Global African Diaspora Summit” was held in South Africa, May 2012. ASI not only assisted in providing input to the “Civil Society” Declaration of the Global African Diaspora Summit, we also participated in the Science and Technology Program for the Diaspora Seminar, sponsored by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology.

ASI presented “STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING THE DIASPORA IN CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA”, held September 17 – September 24, 2012, Howard University, Washington, DC.


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