NEW YORK, May 5, 2015— Seventeen Carnegie African Diaspora Fellows will travel to Africa beginning this month to conduct joint projects with colleagues at host universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Professors from North America who were selected as Fellows will work on a wide range of projects that were submitted by the hosts to foster collaboration and build capacity at the African campuses. A few of the projects supported by this third round of grants include developing an MBA program, staging a musical, and conducting Africa-sensitive research in cognitive psychology.
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) has now selected and approved a total of 110 Fellows since its inception; ten more than anticipated when the program was launched in February 2014. In addition to the 17 Fellows announced this month, the program had previously announced awards to 33 Fellows in June 2014, and 60 Fellows in November 2014. All of the Fellows and Host Institutions are listed on the program website, along with highlights of projects and comments from the first round of Fellows and Hosts.
When the African Union identified the Diaspora as Africa's 6th region, it highlighted the fundamental role the Diaspora will play in strengthening the continent across political, economic, and social spheres, forcing the conversation of the Diaspora's contributions to expand far beyond remittances. There has been a significant shift in the description of skilled labor migration away from brain drain to brain gain to brain circulation.
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program Advisory Council, comprised of academic leaders from Africa and prominent African Diaspora academics, has remarked on the quick growth, high quality and impact of the program, which allows African universities to take the lead in hosting African diaspora scholars at their institutions.
According to Dr. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of History at Quinnipiac University, who chairs the program's Advisory Council, "Diaspora knowledge networks that bring together academics across disciplines and help to facilitate scholarly collaboration, faculty and student exchanges, and networking opportunities are an important component of brain circulation. Diaspora academics constitute a critical facet of higher education internationalization. The connections fostered through them ultimately support capacity building and innovation in home and host countries. Unique in its organization, CADFP offers opportunities for truly collaborative, innovative and transformative engagements between African Diaspora academics in Canada and the United States and African higher education institutions in six countries."
Many Fellows have continued the work resulting from their academic collaborations after returning home, extending the impact of the fellowship on both their home campus in North America and their host campus in Africa, and both hosts and Fellows have identified the program as a positive catalyst for ongoing cooperation. Professor Pascal Bessong of the University of Venda, South Africa noted that his institution is seeking mutually beneficial linkages with other institutions, and said that "the presence of the Fellow worked towards this achievement since the collaboration is set to continue." According to Dr. Isola Ajiferuke of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, who conducted a Library and Information Science project as a Fellow in Nigeria to improve research and grant writing capacity, "It gives me a sense of fulfilment to be able to contribute to African development despite leaving Africa many years ago."
Many Fellows have brought the benefits of their collaboration back to their home campuses, as well. A feature story in IIE's online annual report highlights the impact that has resulted from the experience of Dr. Nkechi Madonna Agwu, an accomplished mathematics professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), City University of New York, who received a fellowship to travel to her native Nigeria to help advance women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields. After returning to her home university in New York, she has developed curricular resources for teaching discrete mathematics based on the African tradition of storytelling.
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellows Program is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with Quinnipiac University, which chairs the Advisory Council, and is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York.
“The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellows Program exemplifies Carnegie Corporation's enduring commitment to higher education in Africa. It brings together Dr. Paul Zeleza’s expertise and vision with IIE’s long history of managing global scholarships and our ongoing work to develop talent and help build capacity to address the challenges and harness the opportunities emerging on the African continent,” said IIE’s President and CEO, Allan E. Goodman.
Dr. Zeleza’s vision for the mobilization was recently cited in the draft declaration of the first African Higher Education Summit: Revitalizing Higher Education for Africa's Future held in Dakar, Senegal in March. The declaration called for a 10/10 Initiative, which would send 10,000 Africans in Diaspora to aid in projects across the continent over the next ten years.
About the Hosts and Fellows
Public and private higher education institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda were invited to submit a project request to host a scholar for 14 to 90 days. Prospective hosts were eligible but not required to name a proposed scholar in a project request. The proposed scholar and project request were each evaluated by a review committee and were subject to approval by the Advisory Council. Many African institutions and prospective Fellows collaborated on ideas for a project that were submitted by the institutions. IIE also maintains a scholar roster to facilitate matches, according to the discipline specializations, expertise, activities and objectives described in a project request. Scholars born in Africa who live in the United States or Canada and work at an accredited college or university in either of those two countries applied to be on the roster of available candidates. Candidates were required to have a terminal degree in their field and can hold any academic rank. For Fellows matched with a selected project, the fellowship during a project visit includes a daily stipend, transportation and visa funds and health insurance coverage.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.
IIE’s presence in Sub-Saharan Africa has spanned over 30 years. From 1979-2001, the USAID-funded South Africa Education Program opened the doors for black South Africans to obtain the knowledge, skills and professional credentials required to succeed in a post-apartheid government. In 2008, IIE established an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where it implements a strong set of programs in leadership development, organizational effectiveness, and higher education scholarship administration. By creating and administering exchange and training programs, IIE helps develop the talent and human resources needed to address the challenges and harness the opportunities emerging on the African continent.
About Quinnipiac University
Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 6,400 full-time undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students in 58 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business and Engineering, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the North in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges issue. The 2014 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges named Quinnipiac as the top up-and-coming school with master’s programs in the Northern Region. Quinnipiac also is recognized in Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges.” The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Quinnipiac among the “Great Colleges to Work For.” For more information, please visit Quinnipiac's website.