Meet WACAI's Board President Angela Montague 

Angela Montague has been serving on WACAI's Board of Director's since July 2016 and was elected President in 2017. She initially contacted WACAI about volunteering through our website's online "Contact Us" form and came to staff our informational table at a performance event in downtown Eugene through the City of Eugene's EUG Fun Program. Angela has successfully recruited two other members to the WACAI board and was a helpful resource during the process of designing our internship program. She is a very capable and articulate team player and her wide experience, personal and professional connections, and knowledge of industry operations makes her a valuable asset. This fall she was offered an irresistible job in Salt Lake City and serves the board from afar by Skping into meeting and working remotely.

Below is Angela's abbreviated biography along with her Board "Spotlight Interview" where Elizabeth Bezark, WACAI's summer intern asks her a few questions about her experience working with WACAI.

I am a cultural anthropologist and university instructor who specializes in international development, representation, tourism and cultural heritage; geographic focus Mali, West Africa. I also specialize in race, class, and gender issues with a focus on social justice education. My dissertation focused on the role of Intangible Cultural Heritage and performance in formulating Tuareg cultural identity and generating economic development in Mali, particularly through tourism and the Festival in the Desert in Timbuktu. It added to understandings of the role of culture in development. Currently, I am applying my background in mobility studies to refugee resettlement, focusing on identity and belonging among refugee populations in Logan and Salt Lake City, Utah. 

I have expertise developing online courses in a range of topics, and I am adept at (and quick to learn) a range of technologies to improve my teaching and student engagement. I am passionate about teaching and use anthropological insight on the diversity of the human experience to promote peace and conflict resolution. 

What about WACAI and/or its programs inspire you OR why do you feel
called to serve as a board member?

As an anthropologist working in West Africa, I find there is a lot of misunderstandings and misrepresentations about Africa and Africans, especially in the US. I felt drawn to WACAI because it is a local non-profit that brings African culture to Eugene providing a platform (and stage) for cross-cultural sharing and communication. I think that through classes, performances, and educational opportunities that WACAI has the capacity to bridge cultural divides.

What impact has WACAI had on you professionally or personally?

I have learned a lot about how a non-profit works and I love working with other people who are passionate about the arts and culture of Africa and Guinea.

How have you used your skills/connections/resources while serving on
the board?

I used my connections in various academic departments to recruit board members to WACAI, and I am working on finding more! I would still like to find a way to integrate WACAI into my teaching and vice versa. So I'll keep brainstorming ideas.

Is there anything else you want to say about serving on the WACAI
I hope that I can be an asset, even from afar :)