The West African nation of Mali is well known for its spectacular art and musical traditions, as well as its famed historical city of Timbuktu. Until March 2012, it was also known as the most stable democracy in Africa. That image was shattered, however, when a military coup threw the country into chaos, leading to the displacement of nearly half a million people, a surge in Islamist rebel fighters in the north, and an influx of French troops and UN peacekeepers.
MSU is one of the few universities in the U.S. that maintains a study-abroad program in Mali.The person largely responsible for this is Stephen Esquith. He’s the dean of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities. He speaks with Current State’s host Mark Bashore about what’s happening in this culturally rich West African country.