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Stephen Belcher, Jan Jansen, Mohamed N'Daou (Eds.)
David C. Conrad has been the president of MANSA, the Mande Studies Association, since its foundation in 1986. Hence, he was sometimes jokingly lauded as the MANSA mansa, the "king of MANSA". His tenure has been marked by a growth in the association's membership and ambitions. The membership list now counts hundreds, spread over twenty-five or more countries. MANSA organized six international conferences, and it has seen the birth of a journal ( Mande Studies) and of a monograph series ( Mande Worlds). Crucial to MANSA's success are David Conrad's leadership and dedication, his insistence on inclusion, and the measures he has taken to ensure that African colleagues would remain involved in the Association's activities. MANSA is an association founded upon the principles of badenya, fully conscious that the core of its mission lies in the Mande world itself.
David Conrad has now retired from his teaching position at the State University of New York at Oswego, and returned to his home in California. He has suggested to the membership that the time is coming for him to step down from his long-held position. He will then no longer be the MANSA mansa. We propose that his new title should be not bemba, which relegates him to antiquity, but one which recognizes the breadth of his effort: Mande mansa.