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Keynote Speakers & Panelists Bios

Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

Arun Agrawal emphasizes the politics of international development, institutional change, and environmental conservation in his research and teaching. He has written critically on indigenous knowledge, community-based conservation, common property, population resources, and environmental identities. Agrawal is the coordinator for the International Forestry Resources and Institutions network and is currently carrying out research in central and east Africa as well as South Asia. Since 2013, Agrawal has served as the editor-in-chief of World Development and his recent work has appeared in Science, PNAS, Conservation Biology, Development and Change, among other journals. Preceding his work at U-M, Agrawal was educated at Duke University, the Indian Institute of Management, and Delhi University and has held teaching and research positions at Yale, Florida, McGill, Berkeley, and Harvard among other universities.

Lecturer, Engineering, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Fitsum Assamnew Andargie is a lecturer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Addis Ababa University where he is currently a doctoral candidate in computer engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Computer Stream) and a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Addis Ababa University. His research interests are high performance computing with general-purpose graphics processing units (GP-GPUs), acceleration of mobile applications using mobile GP-GPUs and Computer Vision.

Professor, Sociology/Population Studies, University of Michigan

Barbara A. Anderson is the Ronald Freedman Collegiate Professor of Sociology and Population Studies at the University of Michigan. She received her AB in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and her PhD in Sociology from Princeton University. At the University of Michigan, she has been Director of the Population Studies Center and the Center for Russian and East European Studies. She has published widely on issues of demographic methods, data quality, and population and development in South Africa, the former Soviet Union and China. She has consulted with Statistics South Africa, Statistics Estonia, the China National Bureau of Statistics, the Turkish Statistical Institute and the U. S. Census Bureau. She received the Regents Award for Distinguished Public Service for her work advising the governments of South Africa, China and Estonia and the Ann Arbor District Schools.

Associate Professor, Women’s Studies, Afroamerican and African Studies, Residential College, University of Michigan

Naomi André is associate professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s Studies, and the Associate Director for Faculty at the Residential College at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race. Her publications include topics on Italian opera, Schoenberg, women composers, and teaching opera in prisons. Her current book, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement, is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press in May 2018. Her earlier books, Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (2006) and Blackness in Opera (2012, co-edited collection) focus on opera from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries and explore constructions of gender, race and identity. She has served on the Graduate Alumni Council for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Art and Sciences, the Executive Committee for the Criminal Justice Program at the American Friends Service Committee (Ann Arbor, MI), and as an evaluator for the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program.

PhD, Zoology, College of Literature, Science and the Arts, University of Michigan, 1976

Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi is a renowned academic, who served as the Minister for Education of Ghana in the John Ageyekum Kufour administration. He has also served as Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Coast, and Policy Adviser to the Ministry of Education. Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi co-coordinated the introduction of the Semester and Course Unit System at the University of Cape Coast as well as the production of academic programs for the University College of Education, Winneba, in Ghana’s Central Region.

Associate Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan

Kwasi Ampene is a scholar and practitioner of ethnomusicology. He specializes in the rich musical traditions of the Akan people of West Africa. His research interests include the performing arts as individually and collectively created and experienced, the performance of historical and social memory, politics, ideologies, values, and religious philosophy in Akan court music. He has disseminated his research in conferences, workshops, and speaking engagements at major universities in United States and around the world. He has also provided expert advice for public engagement projects on West African culture and music to institutions such as the British Library, Tufts University, and Princeton University. Professor Ampene is the author of journal articles and books including, Engaging Modernity: Asante in the Twenty-First Century (Michigan, 2016); Discourses in African Musicology: J.H. Kwabena Nketia Festschrift (Michigan, 2015); and Female Song Tradition and the Akan of Ghana: The Creative Process in Nnwonkorɔ (Ashgate, 2005). Professor Ampene is currently working on a monograph entitled Experience and Values in Asante Court Music and Verbal Arts. The work comes out of his extensive field research at the Asante King’s court in Kumase-Ghana, where since 2009, he has been given rare and unrestricted access to the centuries old heritage of stool regalia and other heirlooms. He is documenting esoteric song and instrumental texts, as well as texts of referential poetry by bards and members of the constabulary.

Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan 

Todd Austin is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His research interests include computer architecture, robust and secure system design, hardware and software verification, and performance analysis tools and techniques. Currently Todd is Director of C-FAR, the Center for Future Architectures Research, a multi-university SRC/DARPA funded center that is seeking technologies to scale the performance and efficiency of future computing systems. Prior to joining academia, Todd was a Senior Computer Architect in Intel’s Microcomputer Research Labs, a product-oriented research laboratory in Hillsboro, Oregon. Todd is the first to take credit (but the last to accept blame) for creating the SimpleScalar Tool Set, a popular collection of computer architecture performance analysis tools. Todd is co-author (with Andrew Tanenbaum) of the undergraduate computer architecture textbook, Structured Computer Architecture, 6th Ed. In addition to his work in academia, Todd is co-founder of SimpleScalar LLC and InTempo Design LLC. In 2002, Todd was a Sloan Research Fellow, and in 2007 he received the ACM Maurice Wilkes Award for “innovative contributions in Computer Architecture including the SimpleScalar Toolkit and the DIVA and Razor architectures.” Todd received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1996.

Professor, Law, University of Michigan

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law and director of the International Tax LLM Program, specializes in corporate and international taxation. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on tax competition, and is a member of the steering group for OECD’s International Network for Tax Research. He is also a trustee of the American Tax Policy Institute, a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the American College of Tax Counsel, and an international research fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Business Taxation

Professor, Population & Health, University of Cape Coast, Ghana 

Kofi Awusabo-Asare is a professor in population studies at the University of Cape Coast, where he has taught since 1980. His research interests are in adolescent reproductive health, social dimensions of health, poverty studies, and population, environment and health. He has authored a number of publications based on his areas of research. He participated in the Agenda to Improve the Implementation of Population programmes and involved in policy dialogue on adolescent sexual and reproductive health education for young people in Ghana. He served as Head of the Department of Geography and Tourism (1998-2004), Head of the Department of Population and Health (2008-2010), Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (2000-2006), and Director, Directorate of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance, University of Cape Coast (2012-2017). He is currently the Chair of the Council of the National Accreditation Board of Ghana. He is a member of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), Population Association of America (PAA), Association of American Geographers (AAG), Ghana Geographical Association and Union of African Population Studies (UAPS). He has served on committees and commissions, including the IUSSP Committee of HIV/AIDS (1995-1999), Panel on young people (2010-2014), member of the Nominations Committee of IUSSP (2005-2009), member, the President’s Commission on the Review of Education in Ghana (2001-2003), a member of the Research and Monitoring Committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission and Co-chair of the World Health Organization’s Panel on the Social Science Research on Health (1998-2010). He has been associated with ASRI since 2010. He has had collaborative research and working relationship with Universities and Research Institutes around the world, among them the Australian National University, Brown University, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana, Guttmacher Institute (New York) and Population Council, New York. He holds a BA from the University of Cape Coast, MA (Demography) from the Australian National University and a PhD from the University of Liverpool (UK).  He has been a visiting Fulbright Professor at Brown University (1994-95) and Richard Bernstein Professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (2006-2007).

LLM, Law School, University of Michigan, 1996

Retha Beerman is a director of the leading South African law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc., heading up its Knowledge Management (KM) department. In this role, Ms. Beerman and her team strive to deliver continuous improvements in the quality of legal services, which includes astute use of technological advances in the field of law, proven to improve quality, efficiency, and the overall client experience. The function further includes oversight of all teaching within the firm, as well as effective uses of new and acquired knowledge and information in the firm. Prior to taking on the role as head of Knowledge Management, Ms. Beerman practiced as a director in the firm’s Employment Practice, specializing particularly in employment equity. This interest in employment law and discrimination law stemmed from her time studying these subjects with Professor Emeritus Theodore J. St. Antoine at the University of Michigan. She retains a deep interest in this field, and is part of the management team steering practical implementation of employment equity principles, within her law firm.

Clinical Associate Professor, Health Behavior and Biological Sciences, University of Michigan

Sue Ann Bell is a nurse scientist and family nurse practitioner, with expertise in disaster response, community health and emergency care. Her research focuses broadly on the health effects of disasters and the impact of climate change on human health within a health equity framework. She is particularly interested in the long-term impact of disasters on human’s health, in developing policy that protects and promotes health throughout the disaster management cycle, and in the relationship between community resilience, health disparities and disasters. She is active in multiple emergency preparedness and response activities, including serving on federal panels, co-authoring books and advising on national policy issues. Dr. Bell has practiced nursing and conducted research in multiple global settings including Ghana, Ethiopia, India, Cambodia and the Caribbean.

Nursing, Addis Ababa University

Lemlem Demissie Beza is a lecturer in emergency medicine at Addis Ababa University. She will be a UMAPS scholar in the 2018-2019 cohort. In 2016, Mrs. Beza participated in the 7th annual meeting of the Consortium for Universities for Global Health (CUGH), focused on the theme Bridging to a Sustainable Future in Global Health.

BA, Political Science, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, 1985

Jennifer Bisgard co-founded Khulisa Management Services in 1993 in Johannesburg, South Africa. An expert in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and organizational development, Ms. Bisgard leads evaluations and capacity-building assignments in the Education, Governance, and Media sectors across Africa. Prior to establishing Khulisa, she was the Senior Education Specialist at USAID/Pretoria from 1988 to 1993. Ms. Bisgard currently serves as a senior advisor to the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA). She is the former Interim General Secretary and Southern Africa board representative for 11 countries on the AfrEA board from 2012-2014 and the founding Chair of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA) from November 2005 to March 2007. She also represented AfrEA on the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) board from 2013-2016. Since 2013, she co-chairs the United Nations EvalPartners Task Team on Toolkits to support Voluntary Organisations for Professional Evaluators (VOPE).

President, University of Ngaoundéré, Cameroon

Uphie Chinje Melo was appointed as Rector of the University of Ngaoundéré in 2017. She is a chemical engineer who received her doctorate in 1984 in England. She was a professor at the University of Yaoundé for 14 years before becoming the Director of MIPROMALO (Mission de Promotion des Matériaux Locaux), which advances the use of locally fabricated materials. In 2015, Chinje Melo was elected to the Academy of Science of Cameroon, where she is one of only ten female members.

President Emerita, University of Michigan

Mary Sue Coleman became U-M’s first female president after serving seven years as president of the University of Iowa. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Coleman oversaw the groundbreaking partnership with Google to digitize the University’s 7 million volume library, launched enduring institutional partnerships with universities in China, Ghana, South Africa, Brazil, and India, revitalized student living and learning experiences through a residential life initiative, and worked tirelessly to promote economic revitalization and innovation within the state of Michigan. In recognition of these efforts, Dr. Coleman was named by President Obama in 2010 to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke named her as co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Throughout her career, she has promoted the educational value of diverse perspectives in the classroom and within the academic community, and she has worked in numerous venues to improve access to higher education for all. A strong advocate of internationalization, she launched academic partnerships on three continents while at U-M, including establishing the African Studies Center in 2008 in the wake of her historic visit to Ghana and South Africa. In 2016 she was named president of the Association of American Universities.

MBA, Stephen Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, 1998 

William Cosby has over two decades of experience and has served on a number of boards of both publicly listed and privately held companies, across a number of different industries, where he has contributed international private equity and corporate finance experience gained through completing investments, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and capital raising assignments throughout North America, Latin America, and across Africa. Prior to Sedgefield Capital Partners, he worked with KTH as an Investment Director, as well as Banc Boston Robertson Stephens and Banc of America Securities, where he focused on Mergers & Acquisitions, Leveraged Finance, and Debt Capital Markets. Prior to Banc of America Securities, Mr. Cosby worked with CoreStates Investment Advisors as a Portfolio Manager in the Fixed Income Capital Markets group. He began his career as a Financial Analyst with CoreStates Bank in both the Asset Based Finance and Telecommunications Specialized Finance Group(s).

President Emeritus, University of Liberia (2008-2017)

Emmet A. Dennis obtained a Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Cuttington College and Divinity School in Liberia, now Cuttington University. He holds a Master’s degree in Zoology from Indiana University, and a PhD in Parasitology from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Dennis served as President of the University of Liberia (UL) from 2008 to 2017. In this position, he has focused on academic integrity, curricular transformation, faculty, staff and student development, and infrastructure development and rehabilitation within the context of a student-centered environment. During his tenure, sixty two faculty returned to UL with graduate degrees from institutions all over the world. Over 35 institutional relationships were established with a number of international universities and colleges leading to the acquisition of major grants, graduate studies for potential faculty and the institution of contemporary curricula. Prior to his appointment as President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Dennis was on the faculty in Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. There, Professor Dennis served as Vice Chair for Academic Affairs of the Department of Biological Sciences, Associate Provost for Academic Advancement of the Rutgers New Brunswick Campus, Dean of Rutgers University College, Rutgers–New Brunswick and Rutgers University Vice President for Student Affairs. Recently, his alma mater, Cuttington University named its science college the Emmet A. Dennis College of Natural Sciences. Dr. Dennis is currently a professor in the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia.

Assistant Professor, Engineering, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Adey Feleke Desta is an assistant professor of environmental biotechnology at the Institute of Biotechnology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. She received her PhD in applied microbiology from Addis Ababa University in 2014. Her research focuses on microbial ecology of biological wastewater treatment systems and resource recovery from wastewater, with a particular focus on the fate of bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes during the process of recovering Phosphorus and Nitrogen from domestic wastewater. Through research fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and African Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF), she has demonstrated cost-effective methods for detection and monitoring of microbial communities in biological wastewater treatment plants. During the research fellowship from the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS), she started researching the role and fate of microbes during the process of nutrient recovery from human urine. Dr. Desta is currently working on reclamation of nutrients from urine and domestic wastewater in Ethiopia in collaboration with national and international partners.

President Emeritus, University of Michigan (1988-1996)

James J. Duderstadt is President Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Duderstadt received a BEng in electrical engineering with highest honors from Yale University in 1964 and a MS and PhD in engineering science and physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1967. After a year as an Atomic Energy Commission Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1968 in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, rising through the ranks to full professor in 1975. Dr. Duderstadt became Dean of the College of Engineering in 1981 and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1986. He was elected President of the University of Michigan in 1988 and served in this role until 1996. He currently holds a university-wide faculty appointment as University Professor of Science and Engineering, co-chairing the University’s program in Science, Technology, and Public Policy and directing the Millennium Project, a research center exploring the impact of over-the-horizon technologies on society.

Lecturer, Archaeology & Heritage Studies, University of Ghana

William Narteh Gblerkpor is a lecturer in archaeology and heritage studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and MA degree in Archaeology from the University of Ghana. Gblerkpor’s research and writing explore the active role of material culture in the historical and contemporary construction and maintenance of social identities in West Africa. He is interested in the archaeology of identities; archaeology and community development; cultural resource management; digital archaeology; environmental humanities; environmental archaeology, and biodiversity heritage conservation. Gblerkpor is the Director of the “Shai Hills Archaeological Research Project (SHARP)” and the “Krobo Mountain Archaeological Project (KMAP).” He is currently coordinating a partnership research project between Ghana Forestry Commission (Wildlife Division) and the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Ghana, to establish a “Center for Archaeology, Culture and Biodiversity Conservation at Shai (CACBC-Shai).”

DARCH, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, 1989

George William Kofi Intsiful has taught at universities in Ghana, Liberia, the US, and Zimbabwe between 1979 and 2018. He was voted the Most Outstanding Professor at Tuskegee University in 1991, was the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Building Technology at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 2000. Professor Intsiful was the Chair of the Department of Architecture at the KNUST from 2005 to 2009 and from 2011 to 2013. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Building Technology at KNUST from 2010 to 2011. Professor Intsiful is still teaching at KNUST and has been an External Examiner in Universities in Togo and Belgium. He has published various papers in renowned journals and written chapters in three books, including the Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Culture. He has designed and supervised the construction of educational buildings, hotels and residential buildings across Ghana.

Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan

Timothy R.B. Johnson, MD served as Bates Professor of the Diseases of Women and Children and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan from 1993 to 2017. He is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Professor of Women’s Studies; Research Professor, Center for Human Growth and Development and a member of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine. His education and training have been at the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins. After service in the US Air Force, he rejoined the Johns Hopkins faculty eventually to become Director of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Since returning to Michigan in 1993, he oversaw a department whose national rankings reached #3 in USNWR rankings and top ten in NIH funding. A new world class $750M+ combined Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospitals opened in 2011. He has proven success in development, presiding over the establishment of 9 endowed professorships, 4 endowed lectures and 4 endowed resident/ fellow research funds in the department and a campaign that raised over $100M for the new Mott/VVWH Hospitals. He has a proven commitment and track-record of achievement in academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.

Senior Lecturer, Biomedical Engineering, University of Ghana

Elsie Effah Kaufmann is a senior lecturer and founding head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Ghana. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE), a Master of Science in Engineering (MSE), and a PhD in Bioengineering, all from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Following her graduate studies she received her postdoctoral training at Rutgers University before joining the University of Ghana in 2001. Dr. Effah Kaufmann was a member of the Planning Committee set up by the Academic Board of the University of Ghana to make proposals for establishing the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and was also a member of the three-person Implementation Committee set up by the Vice Chancellor following the submission and adoption of the Planning Committee’s report. She was appointed as the first Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2006.

Lecturer, Comprehensive Studies, University of Michigan

Nkem Khumbah is a lecturer of mathematics with the Comprehensive Studies Program at the University of Michigan who has been heavily involved with ASC’s STEM-Africa initiative. He is a main organizer for the biennial Buea International Conferences on the Mathematical Sciences, which brings global experts to Buea, Cameroon to discuss their research with peers across the continent.

Professor, Economics, University of Michigan

David Lam is Director of the Institute for Social Research, professor in the Department of Economics, and research professor in the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. He is Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He received a MA in demography and a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked extensively in Brazil and South Africa, where his research analyzes links between education, labor markets, and income inequality. He has served as president of the Population Association of America and currently serves on the Council of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP). He was a member of the Committee on Population of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and has served as an advisor or consultant to the World Bank, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the United Nations Population Division, the United Nations Development Program, and the South Africa Office of the Presidency. 

Professor, Economics, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Murray Leibbrandt is the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Poverty and Inequality, at the University of Cape Town. He holds the National Research Foundation Research Chair in Poverty and Inequality Research. He is the Director of the Southern Africa Labor and Development Research Unit in UCT’s School of Economics. His research analyses South African poverty, inequality and labor market dynamics using survey data and, in particular, panel data. He is one of the Principal Investigators on the National Income Dynamics Study. In 2016 and early 2017 he served on the South African Deputy President’s Advisory Panel on the National Minimum Wage. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the World Institute for Development Economics (WIDER) and a Research Fellow of the Institute for Labor Economics.

Associate Professor, Pharmacogsony, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

Abraham Yeboah Mensah is a foundation fellow of the Ghana College of Pharmacists, a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, an associate professor in pharmacognosy, and the current head of the Pharmacognosy Department, Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University and Technology (KNUST). He is the Ghanaian project leader for a German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD)/German Ministry of Education funded project for “Cultivation of plants containing bioactive ingredients for development of cosmetic products” under the broad theme: “Partnership for sustainable solutions with Sub-Saharan African (Phytochem SSA2015-33-074,- Teaching, Research and Product Development”). He is the coordinator of the Vice-Chancellor’s Central Laboratory project, which involves the purchase, installation and operation of modern scientific equipment for research activities. He attended Prempeh College for his secondary education and holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from KNUST, Kumasi and a PhD in Pharmacognosy from the King’s College London (University of London).

Associate Professor, African Languages, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

Innocentia J. Mhlambi is an associate professor in the Department of African Languages at the University of the Witwatersrand. She teaches African-language literatures, black film studies, popular culture, oral literature and visual culture. She is the author of African-language Literatures: Perspectives on isiZulu Fiction and Popular Black Television Series, a timely critical intervention into the aesthetic hiatus in the field. She has published extensively on aesthetics, literature, popular culture and media in South Africa. She was a fellow in the 2012-13 University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars Program and is currently studying black opera in post-1994 South Africa. 

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music, University of Michigan

Lester Monts is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music (ethnomusicology). From 1993 until 2014, he served as senior vice provost for academic affairs and senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity, and undergraduate affairs. He is currently director of the Michigan Musical Heritage Project that seeks to capture on film the state’s folk, ethnic, and immigrant music traditions. Monts received a bachelor’s in music education from Arkansas Polytechnic College, a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of Minnesota.

Professor, Engineering, Makerere University, Uganda

Moses Kizza Musaazi is a professor of engineering at Makerere University and the team leader of Technology for Tomorrow Ltd (T4T). He is an innovator, who is currently working on appropriate cook stoves and granaries for those with no financial means. 

Professor, Population Studies, Makerere University, Uganda

Elizabeth Nansubuga is a faculty member in the Department of Population Studies - School of Statistics and Planning, Makerere University, Uganda. She is a Population Scientist/ Demographer by training. She holds a PhD in Population Studies obtained from North West University, South Africa and an MSc. in Population and Reproductive Health obtained from Makerere University, Uganda. She has commendable knowledge and over 10 years’ research experience in population dynamics, and sexual and reproductive health. She is passionate about engaging in research that impacts policy and society. Specifically, her research interests are primarily geared towards improvement of maternal and child health, with a major focus on characterization of maternal near misses and male involvement in reproductive health. Her other research interests include HIV/AIDS, circumcision, gender, women empowerment, and adolescent health. Dr. Nansubuga’s work is published in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals and she has presented her work in different international fora/conferences. She is a recipient of several prestigious fellowships, including the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars Program (UMAPS), Population Reference Bureau (PRB) - Policy Communication Fellow, USAID – Demographic Health Survey (DHS) Fellow, APHRC - African Doctoral Dissertation Fellow among others. She has done consultancy work for several national and international organizations in the area of population and reproductive health. She is a member of several professional associations such as Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA), Population Association of America (PAA), International Epidemiological Association (IEA), and Union for African Population Studies (UAPS). She is currently a panel member of the UAPS Gender Panel (2018- 2020); and is also a member of the National Task Force -- Health Sector geared towards enabling Uganda achieve a demographic dividend.

Professor, Law, University of South Africa

Annet Wanyana Oguttu is a professor of tax law and the tax law subject head in the College of Law at the University of South Africa. She holds a Doctorate in Tax law (UNISA - 2008), which was followed by Post-Doctoral Studies at the University of Michigan, USA - 2009; a Masters in Tax law (UNISA - 2001); LLB degree (Makerere University - 1993); a Higher Diploma in International Tax Law (University of Johannesburg -2008) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Makerere University Hill - 1994). Professor Oguttu is a visiting professor at the University of Pretoria and the University of Johannesburg, and has lectured on international tax law at the African Tax Institute. In 2015, she was invited to present a lecture on “Tax base erosion and profit shifting in the context of African tax treaties” at the Academy of Public Finance, Vienna University of Economy and Business in Austria. Professor Oguttu is a rated researcher of South Africa’s National Research Foundation, which acknowledges her as an “established researcher,” recognized by peers as having a sustained a recent record of publications that shows ongoing engagement in the field of international tax law.

Lecturer, Economics, University of Ghana

Nkechi S. Owoo is a senior lecturer in the department of economics at the University of Ghana. In her current position, Dr. Owoo teaches courses in Micro- and Macro-economics at the undergraduate level. She also lectures in Health Economics and Applied Econometrics at the graduate level. Dr. Owoo has a specialization in spatial econometrics and her research focuses on microeconomic issues in developing countries, including household behavior, health, agriculture, gender issues and population and demographic economics. Dr. Owoo’s work has been accepted for presentation at high profile meetings such as the Population Association of America (PAA), Global Development Network (GDN) conference, the World Bank-Paris School of Economics ABCA conference, the PopPov conference and the CSAE conference, among others. Dr. Owoo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Ghana in 2006, and received a Master’s degree in Economics from Clark University in 2009. She completed her PhD in Economics from Clark University, MA, USA in 2012.

Professor, History, Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan

Derek R. Peterson is professor of history and African studies at the University of Michigan (USA). He is the author of two books, most recently Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival (2012), which won the Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association. He has edited or co-edited seven books, including The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories, Infrastructures (2015), co-edited with Ciraj Rassool and Kodzo Gavua. In 2016 Peterson was elected Fellow of the British Academy and awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in African Studies; in 2017 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He is currently writing a book about Uganda under the government of Idi Amin.

Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan 

Anne Pitcher’s research comparatively examines the political economy of urban residential development, the distribution of goods under authoritarianism, and the role of regulatory agencies in Africa. She has undertaken extensive fieldwork in Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, and Zambia. In addition, she has built a dataset on the characteristics of privatization agencies in 29 African countries and is also currently geo-coding all the residential projects that have been completed in Luanda, Angola. Her book, Party Politics and Economic Reform in Africa’s Democracies (Cambridge, 2012) won Honorable Mention for best book award from the African Politics Conference Group, an organized section of the American Political Science Association and the ASA. She has also recently published articles in the Journal of Public Policy and African Affairs. She has been awarded a fellowship for 2018 from the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study in South Africa to undertake a comparative study of urban residential development in Luanda and Nairobi. She is the immediate past President of the African Studies Association.

Professor, History, University of Western Cape

Ciraj Rassool is professor of history at the University of the Western Cape and directs its African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies. He has published widely in the fields of political biography, museum and heritage studies and memory politics. His latest books are The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories and Infrastructures (Cambridge University Press, New York 2015), co-edited with Derek Peterson and Kodzo Gavua, and Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2017), written with Leslie Witz and Gary Minkley. He has been on the boards of the District Six Museum, Iziko Museums of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and the National Heritage Council. He continues to serve on the board of the South African History Archive and on the Human Remains Advisory Committee of the Minister of Arts and Culture as well as the Archaeology, Palaeontology, Meteorites, Burial Sites and Heritage Objects Permit Committee of SAHRA. Internationally, he has chaired the Scientific Committee of the International Council of African Museums, and serves on the High Level Museums Advisory Committee of UNESCO, as well as the International Advisory Board of the Luschan Collection, Berlin.

President, University of Michigan

Mark S. Schlissel is the 14th president of the University of Michigan and the first physician-scientist to lead the institution. He became president in July 2014. President Schlissel previously was provost of Brown University, where he was responsible for all academic programmatic and budgetary functions within Brown’s schools and colleges, as well as the libraries, research institutes and centers. A graduate of Princeton University (AB, summa cum laude, 1979, Biochemical Sciences), he earned both MD and PhD degrees at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1986, Physiological Chemistry). He did his residency training in internal medicine at Hopkins Hospital and conducted postdoctoral research as a Bristol-Myers Cancer Research Fellow under David Baltimore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Whitehead Institute. His research has focused on the developmental biology of B lymphocytes, the cell type in the immune system that secretes antibodies. His work has contributed to a detailed understanding of genetic factors involved in the production of antibodies and how mistakes in that process can lead to leukemia and lymphoma. He is the author or co-author of over 100 scientific papers and has trained 21 successful doctoral candidates in his lab.

Professor, Life Sciences, University of Michigan

David Sherman is Hans W. Vahlteich Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and serves as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Pharmacy; he is also a Research Professor in the Life Sciences Institute and Professor of Chemistry and Microbiology & Immunology. Professor Sherman received his PhD from Columbia University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University and MIT before joining the faculty at U-M. Professor Sherman’s research explores the biochemical pathways of marine microorganisms with the goal of finding new drug candidates for infectious diseases and cancers. He collects samples from marine and terrestrial sources around the world to build an extensive library of natural chemical compounds with potential disease-fighting capability.

Professor, History of Art, African Studies and Museum Studies, University of Michigan

Raymond Silverman is professor of history of art, African studies and museum studies at the University of Michigan. As a historian of visual culture, his research and writing explore the historical and contemporary visual practices of Ethiopia and Ghana. He is particularly interested in the movement of ideas and objects through space and time and the ways in which the transfer of knowledge shapes societies. Silverman’s recent work focuses on the visual culture of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His books include Ethiopia: Traditions of Creativity (University of Washington Press, 1999) and Painting Ethiopia: The Life and Work of Qes Adamu Tesfaw (Fowler Museum, UCLA, 2005). He is currently wrapping up work on a monograph titled, Icons of Devotion/Icons of Trade: Contemporary Painting and the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia. Professor Silverman also works in the field of critical museum and heritage studies, exploring “museum culture” in Africa, specifically how local knowledge is translated in national and community-based cultural institutions. He recently edited a collection of essays on this theme, Museum as Process: Translating Local and Global Knowledges (Routledge, 2015), and is now editing a volume that examines the significance of national museums in/for contemporary Africa. In addition to academic projects, he has curated exhibitions, and is currently working on an exhibition of contemporary arts in metal for the Ghana National Museum. He also has been collaborating with colleagues in the city of Techiman, in central Ghana, to develop the community’s first cultural center.

BA, History, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, University of Michigan, 1988

Michael Sudarkasa is the CEO of Africa Business Group (ABG,, a South Africa-based continentally active, African economic development company. Founded in 2005, ABG focuses on three key areas: 1) economic and business development consulting, 2) agriculture and renewable energy projects, and 3) capacity development in the areas of private sector development, trade and investment within Africa and between Africa and the global business community. ABG’s key sectoral areas of focus are agriculture/agribusiness and renewable energy/energy efficiency. A U.S. commercial attorney by training, Mr. Sudarkasa has lived, travelled, and worked in 50 countries around the world (including 35 in Africa) and is the author of several publications, including: The African Union Commission’s Africa Business Directory: Toward the Facilitation of Growth, Partnership and Global Inclusion (African Union, 2014), A Field Guide to Inclusive Business Finance (UNDP 2012) and Investing in Africa: An Insider’s Guide to the Ultimate Emerging Market (John Wiley & Sons, August 2000). Currently a Doctoral Student in the Management Faculty of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, Mr. Sudarkasa received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and his BA degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Director, Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute

Wubalem Tadesse Wondifraw has 29 years of professional experience in forestry development and research in various government ministries, research institutions and regions with different responsibilities. From October 2001 to September 2008 he served in the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) as researcher coordinating different research projects and programs, and from September 2008 to May 2014 he was Director of Forestry Research at the institute. In May 2015 he was appointed Director General of the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute (EEFRI). His academic qualifications are a PhD in Forest Genetics (1997-2001) from Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain, and a MSc and BSc in Forestry (1983-1988) from Pinar del Río University, Cuba. Dr. Wubalem Tadesse has conducted research projects on plantation forestry, non-timber forest products (mainly on natural gum and resin resources) and wood products characterization. He has advised numerous MSc and PhD students and published his research in journals, book chapters, proceedings, manuals, etc. He has actively participated on different collaboration research projects with international partner research institutes and universities of several countries. 

Lecturer, Saint Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College

Zewdu Jima Takle is a lecturer in the Department of Physiology, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Ethiopia and a 2017-18 UMAPS Scholar. He holds an MSc degree in Physiology from Addis Ababa University and a BSc in Physiotherapy from University of Gondar. Zewdu is a doctoral candidate researching “The Molecular Signaling Mechanisms in the Vessel Wall after Stroke and Pathways Mediated by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF).” His research interests include vascular biology and neuroscience. His UMAPS mentor is Professor Daniel Lawrence, Cardiovascular Medicine, Medical School.

President, University of Liberia

Ophelia Weeks was named President of the University of Liberia (UL) in 2017. She previously served as UL’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the T.J.R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology, among other administrative positions at the university. Dr. Weeks is a neuroscientist who spent more than 30 years on the faculty of Florida International University, where she received many university awards. Since 2006, she was also a faculty member at the University of Liberia’s A.M. Dogliotti School of Medicine.

Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan

Krista Rule Wigginton is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at UM, she was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, College Park from 2011-2012. Her research focuses on applications of environmental biotechnology in drinking water and wastewater treatment. In particular, her research group develops new methods to detect and analyze the fate of emerging pollutants in the environment. Dr. Wigginton received her BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Idaho, and her MS and PhD degrees in Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. After completing her PhD degree, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland from 2008-2011.

Horace W. Davenport Collegiate Professor of Physiology, Internal Medicine, University of Michigan

Following 15 years on the faculty at the University of California San Francisco, John Williams has been at Michigan for 30 years as professor of physiology and internal medicine and served 20 years as Chair of the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. He is currently the Horace W Davenport Professor of Physiology. At Michigan he has also participated as a Core Leader and Associate Director in the Gastrointestinal and Diabetes Center. He is active in teaching first year medical students and currently is Co-leader of the Gastrointestinal sequence. He is the author of over 400 publications most of which deal with the pancreas and its regulation by gastrointestinal hormones. He has mentored over 70 trainees at all educational levels. Many former trainees are Professors, Division Chiefs and Departmental Chairs around the world. He has been Editor or Associate Editor of five prominent journals and is the founding Editor of the Pancreapedia, an open access electronic knowledge base for the Exocrine pancreas. He has also served as President of two scientific societies, the American Physiological Society and the American Pancreatic Association. He is the recipient of a number of awards including lifetime achievement awards. He is now phasing towards Emeritus status but expects to continue his academic work.

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan

Herbert Winful is a native of Ghana and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He earned a BS degree in electrical engineering from MIT and a PhD from the University of Southern California. He then spent six years conducting research in fiber optics and semiconductor laser physics at GTE Laboratories in Waltham, Massachusetts. He joined the University of Michigan in 1987 as an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and was promoted to full professor four years later. His international activities in education have included teaching at Cape Coast University in Ghana, the Shanghai Jiao Tung University in China, and the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Italy. From 2011 to 2017 he served as Principal Investigator on the University of Michigan’s portion of a USAID-funded effort to rebuild Liberia’s higher education programs in engineering and agriculture. He has made fundamental contributions to nonlinear optics, the nonlinear dynamics of coupled lasers, and the physics of quantum tunneling.

Museum Studies, Addis Ababa University

Ahmed Zekeria is a museum professional based in Addis Ababa, who has done extensive research on the Harar shrines in Ethiopia. He received his MPhil in anthropology from Oxford.