The University of Michigan’s offices of the president and the provost have designated $90,000 to the African Studies Center for its U-M African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) program in support of rising Ethiopian academics.
Program scholars are paired with a university faculty member in their field of study with whom they pursue new research opportunities.
Presently, scholars from Ghana, South Africa, Liberia and Uganda are invited to participate, along with other scholars if nominated by U-M faculty. This new source of funding will extend the program to interested participants in Ethiopia.
“The University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars program is an important piece of our engagement in Africa,” says James Holloway, vice provost for global and engaged education. “Through this new support, we are strengthening our ties with institutions in Ethiopia, and increasing opportunities for our faculty and students to engage there while also building the capacity of higher education to address challenges and create the next generation of leaders in Ethiopia.”
The program, created by former President Mary Sue Coleman in 2008, aims to foster emerging African scholars from all areas of study by providing them access to U-M’s world-class resources and academic community, including research, conferences, and mentors.
Scholars also serve as important references in their fields for U-M faculty and students. At the completion of the six-month program, scholars return to their home countries to help strengthen universities across the African continent.
“UMAPS was conceived as an intervention to provide respite to talented early-career faculty and to help build capacity once again in African institutions of higher learning,” says Kelly Askew, director of the African Studies Center and professor of anthropology, and Afroamerican and African Studies. “The program aims to support African faculty to reach their full potential as academics and integrate them into international scholarly networks. We are investing in the next generation of African faculty.”
The program joins other important ties that U-M has maintained with Ethiopia, such as the Medical School and College of Engineering’s Ethiopia-Michigan Platform for Advancing Collaborative Engagement.
Similarly, Rosemary Sarri, professor emerita of social work, was integral in the creation of master’s and doctoral programs in the school of social work at Addis Ababa University; and Jacinta Beehner, associate professor of psychology and anthropology, and Thore Bergman, associate professor of psychology and ecology and evolutionary biology, have researched for decades the rare geleda monkeys found only in Ethiopia.
“We are grateful for the support we have to bring talented Ethiopian faculty to U-M to help advance the many research collaborations that U-M has in Ethiopia, spanning social work, medicine, engineering, public health, urban planning, nursing, the humanities, the natural sciences and the social sciences,” Askew says.