Ebola Relief

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Kennesaw State stages benefit concert KENNESAW, Ga. (March 10, 2015)— Kennesaw State…

Georgia (Mar 10, 2015)

Kennesaw State stages benefit concert

KENNESAW, Ga. (March 10, 2015)Kennesaw State University is sponsoring an Ebola Relief Benefit Concert featuring the world-famous Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars March 21 at 8 p.m. in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center.

Proceeds from the concert will support volunteers fighting on the front lines to contain the Ebola epidemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 9,800 people in the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.

Kennesaw State’s International Student Association, Division of Global Affairs, Center for African & African Diaspora Studies, College of the Arts and School of Music have joined together to sponsor the concert, with hopes of raising at least $6,000 for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). Since the outbreak began in March 2014, MSF has treated nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of Ebola and has shipped more than 1,400 tons of medical supplies.

“This is an important event for Kennesaw State because it allows us to educate our students and community about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa both by raising money to fight the disease and exposing them to an inspiring group of performers whose songs communicate the rich and complex culture of this region,” said Vice Provost Lance Askildson, the University’s chief international officer and executive director of the Division of Global Affairs.

The concert continues a long Kennesaw State tradition of student and campus-wide engagement in international humanitarian relief, says Catherine Odera, assistant director of International Student Retention and an advisor to the International Student Association.

“Efforts here to support humanitarian crises like the tsunami in Japan and the earthquake in Haiti in just the past several years reflect the University’s emphasis on cross-cultural learning and global citizenship,” Odera said. “The Ebola crisis hits close to home for many international students with families in the affected countries.”

Thanks to the efforts of organizations like MSF, reports of new Ebola cases are on the decline. The Associated Press reported March 8 that Liberia released its last Ebola patient, but more than 100 active cases remain in other affected countries, according to the World Health Organization. 

MSF officials say people in the region continue to move easily over the porous borders that separate Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and they urge against complacency.

The concert’s featured performers, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars, consists of musicians who came together in West African refugee camps while escaping a bloody, horrifying war during the 1990s that forced millions to flee their homes in Sierra Leone.  Its members, all originally from the country’s capital of Freetown, fled to neighboring Guinea where they ended up in the camps or on the streets of its capital city of Conakry. As they played together throughout the refugee camps, a team of American filmmakers recognized their talents and followed them as they performed in the camps over three years.  A resulting critically acclaimed film introduced the band to the world.

Over the last 10 years, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars have performed on concert stages around the world, including performances at the Amnesty International Human Rights Conference in Chicago, a concert at the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, and a special private appearance at the United Nations.

Their fourth album, titled Libation, was released in 2013 and features a collection of songs displaying the riches of Sierra Leonean folklore.  Its selections are based on the highlife, maringa and palm wine styles, as well as baskeda and gumbe, the Sierra Leonean relatives of reggae and soukous, respectively. from the Ebola Relief Concert will support MSF’s efforts to help rebuild healthcare systems in the affected countries.

To learn more about the featured concert performers, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, and to order tickets, visit http://dga.kennesaw.edu/content/ebolarelief.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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