Professional Development Opportunties

The African Studies Outreach Program holds regular professional development opportunities for educators at all levels. Requests for assistance should be initiated through our online form here.

POSTPONED: Politics and Pandemics: Exploring Global Health in Africa 

Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 TBD
Time: 9am – 3pm
Location: Boston University African Studies Center, Room 505 (5th floor), 232 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215

In this interactive teacher workshop, you will: explore global health case studies on malaria and Ebola; use in-class model UN simulations to discuss how the international community works in collaboration with local leaders to address pandemics, receive classroom-ready lesson plans and resources, and earn PDPs for participation. The Model UN Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB) is co-sponsoring this workshop and will be co-leading the event. The event flyer is viewable online here. 

Cost is $85 per attendee with lunch included. Financial assistance is available. Please register online here.

African Perspectives in World History: A Choices Program Workshop

Date: June 28 – 29, 2018
Time: 8:30am – 4:oopm
Location: Brown University, Providence, RI

We are excited to co-sponsor this workshop that will cover an inquiry-based approach to thinking critically about selected topics in African history, especially the colonialism and independence periods. In addition to exploring and receiving two of the Choices Program’s curriculum units, Colonization and Independence in Africa and Nigeria: History, Identity and Change, the workshop will include guest lectures and presentations on related topics. Lunch is provided. PDPs available for MA educators.

The cost of the 2-day workshop is $175. For more information and to register, visit here.

The Outreach Program at the African Studies Center is collaborating with Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) in order to provide an educators’ travel program to Madagascar for Summer 2018. In addition to the organized educational trip itself, participants will receive PDPs, country-specific lesson plans and teaching resources, and post-trip curriculum development support. Boston University’s African Studies Center will be organizing a half-day workshop in-country, which will include lecturers from local universities and pedagogical frameworks for incorporating Madagascar into your curriculum. See our event flyer here.

The July 27 – August 10, 2018 trip itinerary, program details, and registration information can be found here.

The African Studies Center is also pleased to announce a Curriculum Development Grant for educators interested in traveling to Madagascar this summer. If awarded, up to five recipients will receive $1000 to help cover the program costs associated with the 2018 Madagascar trip. The Grant is open only to educators from minority-serving institutions (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education and more fully explained here). Preference will be given to Massachusetts educators, but educators nationwide are encouraged to apply.

Grantees will be required to complete a pre- and post-trip survey and create a trip-specific lesson plan to be published online by the Boston University African Studies Center. Requirements and guidelines will be provided with grant offer.

Interested applicants should submit the following materials to the Curriculum Development Grant application committee as soon as possible. Due to rolling admissions, applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of intent immediately. 

Please submit the following materials to the Curriculum Development Grant application committee via email at

  • Application Form (downloadable here)
  • Resume/CV
  • 1 Letter of Recommendation – The letter should speak to your abilities as an educator and your pedagogical approach to teaching area studies, especially African studies, in your classroom.It should specifically reference this grant and come from a supervisor.  Please have your recommender send the letter directly to with your name in the subject line (e.g., Jane Doe Recommendation Letter).
  • 2 page, double-spaced response to the question: How will this trip impact your ability to teach about Africa in your classroom?
  • Proof of Employment – You must provide proof of employment in order to satisfy the application requirement of working at a minority-serving institution.

For any questions, please contact us at

The Outreach Program at the African Studies Center hosts an annual series of book group meetings wherein participants of all ages and backgrounds are invited to read and discuss engaging novels by African authors. This year’s schedule is listed below and will take place at the Teaching Library at the African Studies Center. To view our 2017-18 series flyer, click here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 4pm-6pm – Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 4pm-6pm – Gold of Our Fathers by Kewi Quartey

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 4pm-6pm – The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

To RSVP for the May 2 discussion, please sign up here.

This year’s authors, Nnedi Okaorafor and Kwei Quartey, might be described as Afropolitans, having grown up in the United States, but remaining closely tied to their parents’ homes in Ghana and Nigeria. Many of our books have focused on some aspect of the past. Our first book this fall imagines a future and unlike that famous quote from The Last Poets, “The revolution will not be televised…” this award-winning novel is scheduled to be produced as a TV series by HBO.    

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor is our first science fiction/fantasy novel, This is our first science fiction/fantasy novel. It explores a vaguely described country at the edge of the Sahel in post-apocalyptic Africa. The narrative blends a heroine’s journey with myth, magic, and issues many cultures are facing now. Barbara and I got hooked by the story and could barely put the book down.   

Gold of Our Fathers by Kwei Quartey is a Darko Dawson murder mystery. Gold mining is booming in Ghana and a modern-day gold rush is filled with as much intrigue and violence as the gold rushes of the 19th century. Set in the heart of the gold mining region of Ghana, this mystery is laced with the entanglements of the lives of laborers and globalization. Needless to say, there are many entry points for a good discussion. 

This seminar series focuses on foundational topics relating to contemporary African events that align with curriculum frameworks. Educators from all backgrounds and grade levels are invited to join us for the interactive seminars. Each event will include a scholarly talk, a question and answer session, and a discussion on relevant pedagogical practices and resources to support educators in incorporating the seminar’s theme into the classroom. No registration fees required.

The seminars will take place in room 505 (5th floor) of the Boston University African Studies Center, 232 Bay State Road, Boston 02215. 

The Fall 2017 Outreach Program Seminar Series has been canceled due to scheduling constraints. 

Once a month, the World Area Book Awards (Américas Award, Africana Book Award, Middle East Book Award, and the South Asia Book Award,) will sponsor a 60-minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards and facilitate a discussion with the author on how to incorporate the book into the classroom. The spring webinar series focuses on social justice. We encourage you to read the books with your colleagues, students, and community, and then join us to hear more from the author. The books are appropriate for students in grades 7–12. If participating in all five webinar sessions, participants will receive a certificate of completion. Be sure to join the conversation with our webinar hashtag #2018ReadingAcrossCultures. All webinars are free and open to the public. View the series flyer here.

For more information on times and to register, visit here and click on “Global Read Webinar Series.”

February 8, 2018 

The Américas Award explores the diversity of Cuba with award-winning author, Margarita Engle. Engle, the national Young People’s Poet Laureate will discuss her book Lion Island and share teaching and discussion ideas.

March 12, 2018

The South Asia Book Award will hold a conversation with Padma Venkatraman, author of Island’s End.

April 26, 2018

The Middle East Book Award is pleased to present a conversation with award-winning author, Ibtisam Barakat on her book Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine.

May 17, 2018 

The Children’s Africana Book Award will moderate a conversation with author Meja Mwangi and his book The Mzungu Boy. 

Primary Source is an educational organization in Watertown, MA promoting global education. The Boston University African Studies Center often collaborates with Primary Source in order to provide high-quality educational resources to the widest audience of educators possible. This year’s Africa-related offerings are listed below.

Democratization & Civic Action in Africa (Boston Workshop) – Wednesday, November 29, 2017 9:00am – 3:00pm – This course will explore dimensions of democratic practice that go beyond elections: the state of the press, NGOs, human rights, women’s rights, and religious communities. Using a simulation exercise, we will strive to understand the perspectives of people, including reformers, in different sectors of society.  Through case studies, we’ll look at what implementing human rights looks like on the ground, particularly in communities struggling to resolve or co-exist in situations of ethnic or religious diversity. We’ll also contrast civic action and democratization in particular African countries with events and trends in our own lives. This course is especially intended for educators who teach history, social studies, film, or political science from grades 8 to 12.

Africans in the Age of Atlantic Slavery (Online Course) – November 1 – December 5, 2017 – In this fully online course, you will examine the making of the Atlantic world and the transatlantic slave trade with special attention to African perspectives and experiences. Participants may earn 22.5 PDPs or 1 graduate credit. 

Modern African History: Colonialism, Independence & Legacies (Online Course) – February 28 – March 27, 2018 – In a community of online learners you will advance your knowledge of African history in the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, understanding the continent’s history not as a “single story” but a multifarious one. The course, as well, will emphasize Africa’s relationship to world historical developments. Participants may earn 22.5 PDPs or 1 graduate credit. 

Transatlantic Educators Dialogue (TED) program at the University of Illinois

The Transatlantic Educators Dialogue (TED) is a free, 12-week online program connecting educators in the US and Europe by meeting once a week (Sundays 12noon-1:30 pm CST in the US) in online sessions to explore a variety of educational topics as they relate to issues of identity and difference. Participants will meet simultaneously online using the Blackboard Collaborate application; in addition, prior to each session, participants are expected access an online course website to read materials and post responses related to the week’s topic.

The program will begin on February 11, 2018 and end on May 6, 2018. Online sessions are 90 minutes. All participants enrolled in the program will receive a Certificate of Completion. Up to 30 non-credit professional development contact hours will be recognized. For more information, visit hereFor questions, please contact Jeremie Smith (TED Coordinator) at

Please register online at no cost at the TED website by January 26, 2018. 

Global Competence Through Career and Technical Education Online Course (No Fee)

This customizable, 10–12 hour, online course and toolkit for middle and secondary school CTE teachers was created by Asia Society’s Center for Global Education in partnership with ACTE and Advance CTE. The first module introduces the concept of global competence and makes the case for why it is important for career and technical education. The second module introduces teachers to how global issues, project-based learning, and project management approaches can be integrated into existing curriculum. This module demonstrates how these three concepts already align to CTE standards and classrooms and walks educators through the process of integrating these strategies into their classroom. This course is beneficial to all educators interested in exploring the importance of global competency in the classroom. For more information, review this flyer.

Participate in the professional development course by registering online here. 

Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program Summer 2018

The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program provides short-term seminars abroad for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities to improve their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries. Each seminar features educational lectures and activities specifically designed for the group, including visits to local schools and organizations, meetings with teachers and students, and visits to cultural sites. Participants draw on their experiences during the program to create new, cross-cultural curricula for their classrooms and school systems back in the U.S.

In 2018, summer programs will be offered in Ecuador, India, and Poland. A total of 48 awards are available (sixteen per program). The program covers airfare, room and board, and program costs. Teacher participants are responsible for a cost-share of $600. For more information, visit here. The 2018 application deadline is February 2, 2018.

National Resource Centers Summer 2018 Programs

There are dozens of federally funded National Resource Centers (NRCs) for different world regions at universities nationwide. Many of these universities host summer institutes to help internationalize curriculum for K-12 and higher education educators. Some programs offer limited funding to educators to help defray travel costs for participants.

The Office of Resources for International and Area Studies at the University of California – Berkeley hosts a comprehensive website of these opportunities. Visit the webpage here.