Northwestern African Studies program gets grant from the U.S. Department of Education

Alice Yin, Assistant Campus Editor

The U.S. Department of Education will award more than $2 million to the Program of African Studies at Northwestern and its consortium partner at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The four-year education grant, which will fund the National Resource Center and Foreign Language and Area Studies programs, aims to bring the African Studies program’s influence to local communities. The Education Department will award $518,000 in the first year. The grant money falls under Title VI of the National Defense Education act of 1958, a chapter that was introduced in 1958 to promote language development.

“Title VI support for research and education is the backbone of international studies and foreign language training in this country,” William Reno, NU professor of political science and director of the Program of African Studies, said in a news release. “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.”

The resource center grant will help offer annual joint symposia, new course and concentration options and better African language instruction. These programs will be collaborative activities between the two universities.

The Foreign Language and Area Studies will use the funds to create more fellowships for graduates and undergraduates studying languages or issues in Africa.

NU will also develop a new interdisciplinary graduate certificate in “African Security Studies,” which puts students through a summer workshop on Arabic manuscripts from Africa. The funding also will fund new practicum sites in Africa for the Access to Health Project, an interdisciplinary project in NU’s School of Law, Center for Global Health and Kellogg School of Management that works on a sustainable solution to community public health issues.

The UIUC-Northwestern University Consortium will also work towards integrating African studies and languages into K-12 education and community college curriculums.

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