Noted black American psychologist to deliver keynote address during Black History Month

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 21, 2005 – A pioneer in the development of an African-centered approach to modern psychology, the noted clinical psychologist and author Na'im Akbar of Florida State University, will deliver the keynote address for Virginia Tech's Black History Month observances at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, in the Haymarket Theatre, Squires Student Center.

This year's theme for Black History Month is "The African Diaspora." Akbar's talk is one of more than two dozen activities scheduled through the end of February, most of them free and open to the public, that will include films, theater, discussions, lectures, and a formal banquet. The annual "Miss Egyptian Goddess Pageant," hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. to celebrate the achievements of African-American women from Virginia Tech and Radford University, will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, in the Haymarket Theatre with an admission charge of $2 per person.

Acclaimed by Essence Magazine as "one of the world's preeminent psychologists," Akbar has written several books, including Akbar Papers in African Psychology, Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery, The Community of Self, Visions for Black Men, Know Thyself, and numerous scholarly papers and journal articles. He has been a guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Tony Brown's Journal," "The Geraldo Show," and many other national and local television programs and has delivered more than 500 lectures around the world. A former board member and president of the National Association of Black Psychologists, Akbar served on the editorial board of the Journal of Black Studies and for eight years was the associate editor of the Journal of Black Psychology. He earned his bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Michigan. His talk is sponsored by Multicultural Programs, Student Life Office. For more information, contact Takiyah Nur Amin at

Two other noted black American guest speakers, genome pioneer Georgia Dunston and author Sylviane Diouf, will present programs at Virginia Tech as part of Black History Month.

Dunston will make a presentation on "Race and the New Genetics" at 12:20 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, at Fralin Auditorium. At 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, Sylviane Diouf will discuss the lives of African Muslims in the Western Hemisphere in her talk, "Servants of Allah: African Muslims in the Americas," in Room 1100, Torgersen Hall.

Professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Howard University College of Medicine, Dunston also is the founding director of the National Human Genome Center at Howard. She negotiated Howard's partnership with Chicago-based First Genetic Trust to establish Genomic Research in the African Diaspora (GRAD) - a biobank to trace genetic factors behind diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer that disproportionately affect African Americans. Dunston earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Her talk is sponsored by the PREP/APSC/CALS/Office of Multicultural Affairs at Virginia Tech. For more information, contact Ed Smith at

Diouf, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Paris, has worked in journalism, diplomacy, and academia, teaching at the University of Libreville and New York University. The author of several award-winning books, including Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas and several for children, she is a researcher at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority Inc. is sponsoring her visit to Virginia Tech. For more information, contact Averia J. Hilliard at

Black History Month is coordinated by Multicultural Programs in the Student Life Office, Division of Student Affairs. For more information, contact Takiyah Nur Amin at (540) 231-6023 or