"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

UCLA Conference 3/5: Freemasonry's Spread to Africa and the Middle East

The 5th International Conference at UCLA has been announced:
Freemasonry's Spread to Africa and the Middle East

Saturday, March 5, 2016
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Pacific Time

University of California, Los Angeles
200 De Neve Drive
Covell Commons, Grand Horizon Ballroom
Los Angeles, California 90095

In the years that followed Freemasonry’s 18th century rise, explorers, merchants, and adventurers brought the fraternity with them as they sought new lands far beyond European borders. Some brothers used the foundational tenets of Masonry to birth the world’s first democracies; yet, the craft endured in unequal societies as well, established by conquerors engaged in exploitive colonization.

Since then, the Masonic contribution to society has endured and expanded, even in societies where cultural values are at odds with Masonic teachings. And, contemporary brothers often find that their fraternity offers a respite from cultural, religious, and economic divides; in some cases even serving as a conduit to political power.

On March 5, join the Institute for Masonic Studies and the UCLA Freemasonry and Civil Society Program for a fascinating exploration of African and Middle Eastern Freemasonry. Learn more about the tensions and permissions that Western social culture has brought to these regions; hear first-person insights on what the fraternity is like there today; learn about contemporary cultural conflicts; and gain a deeper understanding of how Masonic experiences have varied between continents.

This year’s conference will be held in the Grand Horizon Ballroom. This new location features enhanced visibility and acoustics, as well as panoramic views of the UCLA campus.

Registration Fees
International Conference guests may register for the conference only, or may opt to also purchase a catered lunch.

$15     Conference registration
$30     Optional catered lunch

The catered lunch will be served buffet-style, and will feature a hot entrée. Guests may choose to bring their own lunch for consumption at the conference instead. Purchasing or bringing a lunch is recommended, as there are no nearby dining facilities. All conference guests will receive a complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon refreshments.

If you would like to buy a catered lunch, you must pre-register through this website by February 26. Advance credit card payment is required.


  • Alain Roger Pierre Coefe is board chairman of the telecommunications services provider airtel in the West African country of Burkina Faso. In addition to his telecommunications experience, Coefe served a variety of ministerial positions in the Burkino Faso government; held several senior positions in the United Nations Development Program; and was a consultant for the World Bank. He holds a doctorate in regional economics from the Paris West University Nanterre La Défense and a master’s degree in economics and business administration from the University of Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris I.
  • Teko Foly is a senior IT project manager in the Office of State Superintendent of Education and holds a master’s degree in business administration and information systems from Paris Dauphine University. In 2013, he was grand master of the Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M. of the District of Columbia. He has also served as a past grand high priest of Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia, and as the grand commander of the Knights Templar. Foley was instrumental in bringing York Rite Bodies into Africa, and has held a variety of diplomatic Masonic roles there.
  • Said Chaaya holds a doctorate in history from the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, and is a postdoctoral research fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. He has published academic papers in several scholarly journals and has a book on print. His research focuses on 19th century Middle Eastern history, particularly early Masonic lodges in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century and the socio-cultural changes, reactions, and controversies that were created in the Arab society in result; the influence of Masonic lodges on the societies’ cultures; and Freemasons’ role in the enlightenment movement known as “al nahda” – the Arab awakening.
  • Michelle Campos is an associate professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Florida. Campos, who holds a doctorate from Stanford University, has explored the development of Ottoman collective identity in the aftermath of the July 1908 Ottoman revolution, tracing how Muslims, Christians, and Jews defined, practiced, and contested the contours of imperial citizenship and local belonging.  She is currently working on a new monograph, which will provide a social history of inter-communal relations in 19th and early 20th century Jerusalem.

Saturday, March 5
8:00-8:45 a.m.      
On-Site Registration Opens

8:45-9:00 a.m.          
Welcome by John L. Cooper III, Ph.D., Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of California     
9:00-9:50 a.m.          
Presentation by Alain Roger Pierre Coefe, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chairman of the Board, Airtel in Burkina Faso
Question and Answer Session Follows

9:50-10:10 a.m.        
Coffee Break

10:10-11:00 a.m.     
Presentation by Teko Foly, M.B.A., Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge F.A.A.M. of the District of Columbia
Question and Answer Session Follows 
11:00-11:50 a.m.     
Presentation by Said Chaaya, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research
Question and Answer Session Follows 
11:50 a.m. -1:00 p.m.          

1:00-1:50 p.m.          
Presentation by Michelle Campos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Florida
Question and Answer Session Follows

1:50-2:20 p.m.          
Discussion Panel

2:20-2:45 p.m.          
Final Remarks

3:00 p.m.                   
Conference Adjourns

The International Conference is open to all Masons, Masonic and academic scholars, UCLA faculty and students, and members of the general public.

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