Ann Arbor, Mich. (August 30, 2019) – The African Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Michigan is pleased to welcome the 12th cohort of the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) program to campus. This year’s cohort consists of 13 faculty members from nine universities in six countries, bringing the number of UMAPS fellows, since the inception of the program, to 162. U-M’s engagement with Africa is built on the premise that strengthening African universities is one of the most effective ways to contribute to the continent’s growth and continued excellence.
Doreen Agyei is an assistant lecturer in commercial law at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. She received her LLM from the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Doreen’s research project, entitled “Enforcement of Copyright and Related Rights: A Burden for Ghanaian Law and Practice,” compares how copyright infringements are being handled in Ghana and the US. Her U-M faculty collaborator is Jessica Litman (Law School and School of Information).
Darlington David is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, University of Liberia. Darlington received his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. His research project at U-M is “Mathematical Modeling of Cancer Self- Remission and Tumor Instability as Prey-Predator System,” which will use a combination of both continuous as well as discrete mathematical modeling. He will be working with Trachette Jackson (Mathematics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts).
Meseret Desta is the vice-president for business and development at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. She received her PhD in Natural Resources and Life Sciences from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria. Her research project is a mixed-methods investigation of women’s participation in agroforestry practices in Maytemeko watershed in Northwestern Ethiopia. Her faculty collaborator is Rebecca Hardin (School for Environment and Sustainability).
Aminu Dramani teaches in the Department of History and Political Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, where he is also a PhD student. He received his MPhil in Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon. At U-M, Aminu will be working on his PhD project, which tries to understand the factors that explain the protraction of low intensity conflicts using the Bawku chieftaincy conflict in Ghana as a case study. He will be working with Michael McGovern (Anthropology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts).
Tesfaye Habtu is a lecturer of theatre arts at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, who holds an MA in Cultural Studies from the Institute of Ethiopian Studies from the same university. He will be working on a research project on one of Ethiopia’s most highly appreciated national heroes: “Representation and State Ideology in Ethiopian Drama: A Critical Study of Historical Dramas of King Thewodros II.” His faculty collaborator is Anita Gonzales (Theatre and Drama, School of Music, Theatre and Dance).
John Hena is an instructor in the Department of Chemistry, University of Liberia. He has a MSc in Applied Analytical Chemistry from Kenyatta University, Kenya. John will be working on a project to develop workflows and teaching methods in mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy metabolomics, with the goal of strengthening the research culture at the University of Liberia, particularly regarding non-communicable diseases. He will be working with Robert T. Kennedy (College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Medical School; and College of Engineering).
Chinwe Ikpo (Moody scholar) lectures on nanochemistry and physical chemistry at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, where she also received her PhD in Chemistry. At U-M, Chinwe will work on a project to design nanostructured electrode materials for advanced lithium and sodium ion batteries: “Investigating the Electrochemical and Structural Properties of Na2MnSiO4 and Li2MnSiO4 in CNT-Graphene Nanonetworks for Na/Li-ion Batteries.” Her faculty collaborator is Pierre Ferdinand Poudeu-Poudeu (Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering).
John Imokola is an assistant lecturer at Makerere University, Uganda, who holds an MA in Journalism and Communication from the same university. John’s research project “Television Local Content Regulation in Uganda: An Exploratory Study” will explore the implementation of the local content quotas for tv programming in Uganda, in view of rapid globalization and the ethnic and language diversity of the Ugandan society. His faculty collaborator is Stuart Soroka (Communication Studies and Political Science, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts).
Nonhianhia Mbatha (Philile) (Moody scholar) is a lecturer at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, who received her PhD in Environmental and Geographical Science from that same university of Cape Town. At U-M, Philile will working on a research paper on "Plural conservation governance systems and rural coastal communities in the Western Indian Ocean region of South Africa." Her work highlights how legal pluralism and historical context affect governance processes, and how this affects the day-to-day livelihoods. Her faculty collaborator is Bilal Butt (School for Environment and Sustainability).
Wawa Nkosi (Moody scholar) is a lecturer in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University, where she is also a PhD candidate. Wawa’s research project “Prosecuted cartels and cartel prosecution: The South African context” aims to assess the implementation and effectiveness of South Africa’s Competition Act by analyzing data on all prosecuted cartels since the implementation of the act in 1998. Her faculty collaborator is Jim Adams (Economics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts).
Abigiya Tilahun has a masters of public health from Addis Ababa University, where she also teaches; she is also a PhD student at Martin Luther University, Germany. Her project “Integrating psychosocial service in routine breast cancer care in rural hospitals in Ethiopia” uses a cluster randomized control trial in order to assess the impact of psychosocial interventions on adherence to treatment, reduction in mental health problems, and improvement in quality of life of breast cancer patients. Her faculty collaborator is Bradley J. Zebrack (School of Social Work).
Valentine Ucheagwu is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Chukwu Emeka Odumegwu University, Nigeria. He has a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Ebonyi State University, Nigeria. Valentine will be working on his research titled “The victims as well as the caregivers: Reducing the burden of dementia in developing African nations (Nigeria as a case point).” His faculty collaborator is Bruno Giordani (Psychiatry, Medical School; and Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts).
Hiyal Yimer is an assistant professor and chair of the Department of Ecosystem Planning and Management at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He has a PhD in Environmental Planning from Addis Ababa University. At U-M, he will be working with Larissa Larsen (College of Architecture and Urban Planning; and School for Environment and Sustainability). His research project is entitled “Integrated assessment of ecosystem services, livelihood dependency and anthropogenic pressures on Lake Ziway, Ethiopia.”
Johannes Machinya will be joining ASC as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow for the theme “Historical and Contemporary Expressions of Populism in Africa and Beyond.” Johannes holds an MA in Industrial and Economic Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand, and recently completed doctoral studies at the same university. His project at U-M is entitled “Migration and politics in South Africa: normalising xenophobia through political demagoguery.” Anne Pitcher (Afroamerican and African Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts) is his faculty collaborator.
Funding for UMAPS is provided by the U-M Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and the South African Initiatives Office. This year, an additional post-doc position has been funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation as part of the “Joining Theory and Empiricism” grant jointly held by U-M’s ASC and Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at the University of the Witwatersrand.