Raouf Mama

Preferred Name
Raouf Mama
Library of Congress Naming Authority
Mama, Raouf, 1956- [info:lc/authorities/names/n97076601]

Dr. Raouf Mama
Eastern Connecticut State University
83 Windham, Willimantic, CT 06226
Phone Office 860 465 4549
Cell 860 208 6364

Erasmus Mundus Maclands Fellowship Recipient 2011
Winner of Benin’s 2009 Kwabo Trophy of Literary Excellence & Merit
Winner of the 2008 National Multicultural Children’s Book Award

Dr. Mama’s second book, The Barefoot Book of Tropical Tales, was published in February 2000 in Britain. Booklist described it as a book “rich in humor, sorrow, and thought-provoking plot turns.” ZIPIDEE.COM praised it as “a delightful collection of folk tales” that is “as much fun to look at as it is to read” and concluded: “Always entertaining and often enlightening, this collection of folktales will make a wonderful addition to any child’s library.” The Bank Street School of Education rated it one of the best children’s books of the year.

Mama’s third Book, Pearls of Wisdom, was published in February 2001. It is the first Afrocentric collection of folktales designed for the teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages worldwide. His fourth book, Why Monkeys Live In Trees and Other Trickster and Sacred Tales from Benin was published by Curbstone Press in 2006 and won the National Multicultural Children’s Book Award in the USA in 2008.

At the March 2003 International TESOL convention in Baltimore, Dr Mama was given a standing ovation by an audience of more than 1500 people for his plenary address “Why Mankind Has Two Ears And One Mouth.” That address is now available on CD along with a selection of powerful stories and poems.

Click here for details and to hear a sample clip from the CD.

Dr. Mama is the recipient of two Connecticut State University Excellence Awards, two Greater Hartford Arts Council Individual Artist Awards and two artist fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, which has also awarded him the title of Master Teaching Artist. In December 2004 Dr Mama was awarded a Distinguished Immigrant Award. In January 2005, the office of the English Language Program in the State Department awarded him the title of Senior US English Language Specialist.

Dr. Mama performs African and multicultural stories, blending storytelling with poetry, song, music, and dance. An orator out of the African oral tradition, he has been a keynote speaker at literary award ceremonies and fundraisers as well as a plenary speaker at international and regional conferences in the US, Benin,Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Venezuela. He also lectures on African literature and African folklore and conducts workshops on storytelling and creative writing, and the power of folktales as multicultural teaching and learning tools, especially as tools for teaching literacy skills, creative writing, and public speaking.

Dr. Mama regularly travels to Benin to work with English teachers, Peace Corps Volunteers, education professionals and children, using story-telling as a multicultural teaching and motivational tool. Participants’ evaluations and comments often point to Dr. Mama deepening their appreciation of the power and magic of storytelling.

Over the past ten years, Dr. Mama has worked in partnership with UNICEF and the School of African Heritage in promoting education and cultural awareness through storytelling. In 2005 and 2006 he traveled to Benin as a Senior US English Language Specialist and provided training for English teachers in all 12 provinces. In December 2008, he participated in the first International Festival of Storytelling and the Spoken Word in Benin.
A graduate of the University of Michigan with an M.A and a Ph. D in English and Education, Dr. Mama is fluent in English, French, Fon, and Yoruba and proficient in Spanish and German. He teaches English at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Raouf Mama taught the methods of collecting and telling African tales to his apprentice Gideon Ampeire, in the Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Year 16, 2013-2014

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