The African Studies Center, an affiliated regional center of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, has been awarded National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grants from the United States Department of Education. The African Studies Center will receive more than $2.2 million over four years to support Africa-focused education, including African language instruction.
NRC and FLAS grants, part of the Title VI program of the U.S. Office of International and Foreign Language Education, promote greater understanding of countries and regions across the globe through foreign language and area studies instruction and research.
The grants will help the African Studies Center increase the number of well-trained Africanists in diverse disciplines (including professional fields); the number of students with advanced fluency in 10 priority African languages; the number of students, teachers, and non-language faculty capable of reading and writing African Ajami texts; and the richness and volume of influential scholarship produced on Africa.
“I am extremely honored to lead the BU distinguished African Studies Center into the future, as we collectively work to implement pioneering initiatives that will bring the center to a new height of excellence in Africa-focused research, teaching, and service within and beyond the United States,” said Fallou Ngom, Director of the African Studies Center and Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Boston University.
The African Studies Center has been a national leader in training Africa specialists and producing Africanist research for over 60 years. Today, the ASC has an expanded faculty and curriculum alongside its African Language Program, which is a pioneer in training Africanists in the critical skills to engage Africa in innovative ways. The center currently offers courses in Amharic, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Swahili, Twi, Wolof, Xhosa, and Zulu.
The grants will also help expand the ASC language programs to offer Mandinka and higher-level classes, provide training to all teachers in performance-based
instruction, produce new teaching materials, refine and implement assessment plans for all classes, improve instruction at overseas partners, and support professional development of teachers.
Additionally, the grants will help expand the center’s Outreach Program with a special focus on under served regions in the country; strengthen the center’s partnerships with universities in Ethiopia, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania; and train Africanists capable of accessing perspectives recorded in Ajami texts.
“I want to take this opportunity to recognize the hard work of all the staff members and language teachers of the African Studies Center and the enduring support of the office of the Pardee School Dean, the CAS Dean, and the Provost that made this success possible,” Ngom said.
Ngom thanked his colleagues at the BU Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, University of Northern Colorado, Northern Virginia Community College, University of Puerto Rico–Cayey, and others who collaborate with the center on new initiatives to train the best 21st century experts of Africa across disciplines — experts who are capable of engaging Africa in new innovative and meaningful ways.
Founded in 1953, the African Studies Center has long been a national and international leader in training Africa specialists and supporting research focused on Africa. The Center’s mission is to promote knowledge and understanding of the historical, social, political, economic, and ecological diversity of the continent of Africa through maintaining a multidisciplinary community of students, faculty, and researchers from BU and the Boston area with an interest in Africa and encouraging a focus on Africa in teaching and scholarship.