Office of the President

Manbo Dòwòti Désir

Gloria S. Duclos Convocation: Keynote Speaker

Dòwòti Désir, Manbo Asogwe

Manbo Dòwòti Désir is the Founder and President of the AfroAtlantic Theologies & Treaties Institute (ATI), and the DDPA Watch Group.

A human rights activist, Manbo Désir is the Chairperson of the NGO Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Afrophobia and Colorism located at the United Nations. She lectures extensively on the objectives of the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024.

She is the designated UNESCO Expert for the International Slavery Museums and Sites Conference 2018, who has worked on cultural policy and development with the International Labour Office in Geneva.

The former Brooklyn College, CUNY professor, serves on the Advisory Board of the Drammeh Institute.

Désir was the Executive Director of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial Education and Cultural Center. With 30 years in the arts, she was tasked as a curator, public education programmer and administrator at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Metropolitan Transit Authority/Art for Transit, Arts International of the International Institute of Education, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/NYPL, among others.

She is a practicing photographer, an essayist, and educator, whose work is focused on the contemporary art and culture of the African Diaspora; and the religions and sacred arts of the Afro-Atlantic region.

Désir has traveled extensively to over 40 countries documenting the historic sites, memorials and monuments of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Captive Africans. She is author and co-author of Conjuring Memory in Spaces of the AfroAtlantic, Essays in Human Rights: A Vodou Priest’s Perspective, and Personal Vision: Photographs Adger Cowans.

She is a Manbo Asogwe (High Priest) in Haitian Vodou, and in 2015 served as the official Spokesperson of, and Ambassador to the Haïtian Diaspora, entitled the Gwètòde de Outre-Mer, appointed by the late Ati Nasyonal Max G. Beauvoir of the National Confederation of Haitian Vodouists (KNVA, in Haïti). In this capacity Manbo Désir was the sole representative the global Haitian Vodou community at the high-level summit, “International Launch of the African Initiative for Education, Peace and Development, Interreligious and Intercultural Dialog: Coexistence, the Key to Dialog,” which focused on security in Africa (Cotonou, 2015).

She is a Sare (Chief) of the Organization of African Vodou Religions in Republics of Benin and Togo (OCVA).

Manbo Désir has served as a cultural consultant for numerous films, documentary, theater and radio programs including The History Channel, Blue Bloods, and Little Children Dream of God at the Roundabout Theatre.

Manbo Désir is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University and has a Master’s degree in contemporary art and critical theory from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

She is committed to the holistic health and wellbeing of communities-of-color and is an advocate of African spiritual practices as eco-theologies of liberation in relation to the human rights of African descendants, and the demand for reparations.


Gloria S. Duclos Convocation
University of Southern Maine, Portland campus
On the green outside of Payson Smith Hall
Friday, September 29, 2017, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM