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Education Grant to Support African Studies Initiatives

Will fund development of graduate certificate, summer workshop, Access to Health Project, graduate and undergraduate fellowships to support training in African languages

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies and its consortium partner, the Center for African Studies (CAS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), have been awarded U.S. Department of Education Title VI funding for both the National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) programs.

The total amount awarded to the UIUC-Northwestern University Consortium for NRC and FLAS for 2014-15, the first year of the four-year grant, is $518,000 -- with the total commitment expected to reach more than $2 million through 2018.

With Title VI funding, the Program of African Studies’ longstanding engagement with the African continent will be complemented by local engagement that makes the program’s faculty and student expertise as well as rich library resources on Africa available to a variety of communities. 

The NRC grant will fund collaborative activities between the University’s Program of African Studies and UIUC’s Center for African Studies that enhance African studies on both campuses and provide new opportunities for students and faculty. These include annual joint symposia, new course and concentration offerings and strengthened instruction in African languages.

Highlights for Northwestern include the development of a new interdisciplinary graduate certificate in “African Security Studies,” an intensive summer workshop on Arabic manuscripts from Africa and the development of new practicum sites in Africa for the interdisciplinary Access to Health Project. In that project, students and faculty from Northwestern’s School of Law, its Center for Global Health and Kellogg School of Management work with a community in the developing world to assess its public health needs and to design an appropriate, sustainable intervention.

FLAS funding will allow Northwestern to offer two graduate academic year and three graduate or undergraduate summer fellowships per year for students undergoing training in African languages and related area studies.

“Title VI support for research and education is the backbone of international studies and foreign language training in this country,” said Will Reno, professor of political science and director of the Program of African Studies. “This grant is crucial for the Program of African Study’s mission to train students and aid researchers to engage and work with counterparts in foreign countries. This grant will expand our program’s reach in a comprehensive range of research, teaching and outreach activities.”

The consortium will also support the integration of African studies and languages into K-12 teacher education and community college curriculum through partnerships with Northeastern Illinois University, Malcolm X College, the Newberry Library’s Teachers as Scholars Program and the Global Reach Initiative in Urbana-Champaign.

Title VI was introduced as a part of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 as a means of promoting language development, with a focus on less commonly taught languages. 

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