CONSEQUENCES OF SEPTEMBER
2001, WTC DISASTER FOR
URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S CONFERENCE,
NOVEMBER 2-4, 2001
Long before the cataclysmic events of September 11, 2001, in which the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were brought down, the major plans for the Second Annual Conference of Urhobo Historical Society had been concluded. Its venue in the New Jersey suburb of Persippany had taken into considerations the wishes of Urhobos in the tri-State area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to contribute to the affairs and development of Urhobo Historical Society. Governor James Ibori of Delta State, Nigeria, had agreed to travel to the United States to deliver a key note address. An important delegation from the Urhobo community in the United Kingdom was expected to attend the meeting. There were strong indications from many Urhobo professionals working in the United States and Canada that they would be at the Conference. A good choice number from among them had offered to present papers.
All of these strands of our planning were negatively impacted by the general international malaise that followed from the events of September 11. There was indeed pressure, particularly from the Urhobo community in London, to postpone the Conference. There was extreme reluctance on the part of international travellers to come to the Conference. Governor James Ibori elected to send a replacement team, which did show up for the Conference. The delegation from the United Kingdom fizzled out. A number of Urhobo professionals living in the United States and Canada cancelled their planned attendance at the Conference. Three members of Urhobo Historical Society who had planned to present papers were among those who decided not to travel out following the events of September 11, 2001.
Yet, there was firm commitment from a core group that justified the convening of the Annual Conference. In the end, the Editorial and Management Committee of Urhobo Historical Society decided to pursue our plans for the Conference. We made adjustments. Roundtable discussions were substituted for two of the plenary sessions. As the report of the sessions that follow will demonstrate, quality of discussions replaced quantity of attendance. Those who attended the Conference showed a rare amount of dedication that has enable Urhobo Historical Society to grow. We salute them. But we fully understand the reasons for the hesitation shown by many individuals and groups in their plans for attending the Conference. Needless to say, we expect a bigger group for the 2002 Annual Conference, while retaining the level of the quality of discourse that marked our Second Annual Conference at Persippany, New Jersey, USA, November 2-4, 2001.
Peter P. Ekeh, Ph.D.
Editorial and Management Committee
Urhobo Historical Society
November 15, 2001