ANN ARBOR, MI (March 4, 2024)—The African Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Michigan (U-M) is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a conference on "Higher Education in the 21st Century: Keys to U.S.-Africa Partnership." The event, scheduled for April 5-6, 2024, aims to showcase the collaborations and partnerships between U-M and Africa through education and research.

The two-day conference features opening remarks by U-M President Santa Ono and keynote speeches from Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mary Catherine Phee. The community will also hear from Dr. Adedolapo Fasawe, Mandate Secretary for Health & Environment, Nigeria’s National CapitalSarah Mosoetsa, CEO of South Africa Higher Education and the Human Sciences Research Council and will conclude with a keynote address from Judd B. Devermont, Operating Partner at Kupanda Capital and former Special Assistant to President Joe Biden.

The conference brings together ASC's vibrant community of researchers through six expert-led panel discussions. The first three panels will feature the impact and progress of the following initiatives: the African Social Research Initiative (ASRI), STEM-Africa, and the African Heritage and Humanities Initiative (AHHI). 

The fourth panel features U-M African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) Program alumni from across West, East, and Southern Africa, as well as their achievements—these accomplished scholars reflect the program's success in fostering exchange and academic growth.

The state of higher education in Africa is the feature for the fifth panel and will bring together policymakers and practitioners to assess and discuss contemporary challenges and opportunities.

Complementing the scholarly discussions, the sixth panel—organized by students—will focus on first-hand experiences of higher education in the 21st century. The African Graduate Students Association, the African Student Association, and the Africa Business Club at the Ross School of Business are collaborating to curate student poster presentations, showcasing their work and research in and on Africa. These presentations not only represent the student voice but also the outcomes of the ASC's continued support for undergraduate graduate research ventures in Africa.

Reflecting on the ASC's role and the importance of this conference, ASC Director Omolade Adunbi shared, 

This conference signifies ASC's commitment to fostering and deepening UM-Africa partnerships and collaborative efforts, highlighting the ongoing dedication to interdisciplinary research, the cultivation of educational leadership, and the exchange of knowledge.

ASC's 15th-Year Anniversary Conference page »

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Contacts: Omolade Adunbi, ASC Director (, Marwa Hassan, ASC Program Specialist (, Teyei Pam, ASC Project Coordinator (, Raquel Buckley, II Communications Editor (