It is difficult to summarize all that Henrike has done for ASC, but perhaps one way to capture the essence of her contribution is to say that she fostered in ASC a community where all who engage with Africa are welcome and welcomed. There are many members of the ASC community (staff, students and faculty) who can tell a story about how Henrike found them and brought them into the ASC fold!

“When I started as a grad student at U-M, I was shocked to find there was neither a dedicated African Studies Center nor any African languages being taught. I’m grateful to all the many students, faculty, and staff who fought to change that,” says Henrike. “Knowing that I’ve contributed my part to institutionalizing all the many activities of ASC as well as the study of African languages at U-M makes me profoundly thankful for my time at ASC.” 

Henrike came to ASC in 2016 after four years as a faculty member at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She is an anthropologist by training (U-M PhD, 2011), specializing in Francophone West-Africa, and Mali in particular. She brought a wealth of knowledge and experience in both Africa and higher education from her engagement with the higher education systems in the US, Europe, and Africa, and ASC benefited from her expertise in all of these areas.

During her time at ASC, Henrike played a central role as associate director in managing ASC’s disciplinary initiatives (AHHI, ASRI, STEM-Africa) — and this is probably where many members of the ASC got to know her best. As an advisor for the African Students Association and African Graduate Students Association, she was also the touchpoint for students’ interactions with ASC. And then, of course, Henrike was involved with all aspects of our UMAPS program, so that for the UMAPS alumni, ASC and Henrike are basically synonymous! 

“Working alongside Henrike as a colleague and partner has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” says ASC Director Andries Coetzee. “I always had someone to think and plan with and someone I could rely on for sound and wise advice.” 

Henrike, we wish you all that is good in your new position! You will always be a member of the ASC community, and we don’t doubt that you will find a way to incorporate Africa also in your new position.

U-M’s e-Health and Artificial Intelligence (e-Hail) initiative is a partnership between the College of Engineering and the Medical School.