The African Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Michigan (U-M) is pleased to welcome the 11th cohort of the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) Program. These 14 faculty, representing universities in Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Gabon, and Tanzania, will be in residence in Ann Arbor from late August 2018 through February 2019.

With support from the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the South African Initiatives Office, and other sponsoring units, ASC has welcomed 149 early-career faculty from over ten African countries to campus since the launch of the program in 2009. The scholars are paired with U-M faculty members for mentorship and/or collaboration on projects that will help advance their careers. During their residence, scholars are encouraged to immerse themselves in university life, attend seminars, present papers in conferences and workshops, and engage with U-M faculty, students, and the broader campus community. These activities promote lasting scholarly relationships that support faculty development and capacity building in the scholars’ home institutions.

2018-2019 cohort of the UMAPS Program. Photo by Calvin Mitchell.

The 2018-2019 University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars are:

Jacqueline Adongo is an assistant lecturer in the Department of Open and Distance Learning, Makerere University, Uganda. She has an MA in Literature from Makerere University and is currently working towards her PhD at the same institution. While at U-M, Jacqueline will work on her research project entitled, “Rethinking Childhood: Child Identity Formation in Post-War Northern Uganda.” Jacqueline’s mentor is Elizabeth Goodenough, lecturer in Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Program.

Zerihun Birehanu is a lecturer in and director of the School of Theater Arts, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Zerihun has an MA in International Performance Research from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. At U-M he will conduct research for his PhD degree on the topic of “Politics, Performance, and Governance in EPRDF Ethiopia.” His mentor is Anita Gonzalez, professor of theater and drama.

Patrick Cobbinah is a lecturer in the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Patrick holds a PhD in Human Geography from Charles Sturt University, Australia. His project, “Urban Growth, Neoliberal Governance Failures, and Water Scarcity in Accra,” will be conducted under the mentorship of Larissa Larsen, associate professor of urban and regional planning.

Lemlem Beza is a lecturer and researcher at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. She is currently working towards a PhD in Nursing in a joint program between Emory University and Addis Ababa University. During her participation in the UMAPS program she will further her research on “Disaster Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery in Two Public Health Hospitals of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” under the mentorship of Sue Anne Bell, clinical associate professor of nursing.

Kholekile Nicholas Malindi is a lecturer in the Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He has a master’s degree in economics from Stellenbosch University, where he is also currently enrolled in a doctoral program. While at U-M, Kholekile will work with David Lam, professor of economics, on a project titled “Labor Market Determinants of Income Dynamics for a Highly Unequal Society: The South African Case.”

Adélaïde Nieguitsila teaches on parasitology, mycology, and general microbiology at the Université des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku, Gabon. Adélaïde has a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Université de Paris 12, France. While at U-M, she will conduct research on “Microbial Water Quality and Biological Contamination in Lakes of the Moyen-Ogooué Region.” Her mentor is Lutgarde Raskin, professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Okechukwu Nwafor is head of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria. He has a PhD in Visual History from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. During his residency, he will work towards completing his book, The Ubiquitous Image: Obituary Photographs in South-Eastern Nigeria and the Allure of Public Visibility. Okechukwu’s mentor is Omolade Adunbi, associate professor of Afroamerican and African studies.

Christina Osei-Asare is a lecturer in the Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, at Central University, Ghana. She holds an MPhil degree in pharmaceutics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and is currently working on her PhD in the same program. During her time at U-M, Christina will work on her research project, “Formulation of Solid Dosage Form of Lippia Multiflora for Managing Stress and Hypertension.” Her mentor is David Sherman, Hans W. Vahlteich Professor of Medicinal Chemistry.

Kabir Otun is an assistant lecturer at Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria. Kabir earned an MSc degree in chemistry from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, and is currently working towards a PhD at the University of South Africa. While at U-M, he will work with Adam Matzger Charles G. Overberger Collegiate Professor of Chemistry, to further his research on “Iron Carbide Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts for the Conversion of Biomass to Liquid Transportation Fuels.”

Uhuru Portia Phalafala is a lecturer in the English Department, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. She has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Cape Town. At U-M, Uhuru will continue work on a book based on her dissertation research, Restless Natives, Indigenous Languages, and Revolution: Keorapetse Kgositsile’s Critical Biography. Uhuru’s mentor is Gaurav Desai, professor of English language and literature.

David Ngendo Tshimba is an assistant lecturer and research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University, Uganda. He has an MA in Sustainable Peace and Conflict Management from Uganda Martyrs University. At U-M, he will work on a research project titled “Transgressing the State: An Inquiry into Violence in the Rwenzori Borderlands, ca. 1830-1998.” His mentor is Derek Peterson, professor of history and Afroamerican and African studies.

Tebaber Chanie Workneh is the chair of the social anthropology department at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. Tebaber has a PhD in Social Anthropology from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. His project will examine “The Roles and Status of Indigenous Medicine for Primary Health Care Services in the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS), Ethiopia.” Tebaber’s mentor is Elizabeth King, assistant professor of health behavior and health education.

Demis Mengist Wudeneh is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. He has a master’s degree in geography and environmental studies from Addis Ababa University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in socioeconomic development planning and environment from the same institution. During his residency, he will conduct research on “Implications of Large-scale Agricultural Investment for Livelihood Security and Regional Development: The Case of Gambella Region, Southwest Ethiopia.” His mentor is Arun Agrawal, Samuel Trask Dana Professor, and professor of environment and sustainability.

Faida Zacharia is an assistant lecturer at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania. She has an MSc in Natural Resource Assessment and Management from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While at U-M, she will work with Kelly Askew, professor of anthropology and Afroamerican and African studies, to further her research on “Small-scale Groundwater Irrigated Agriculture and Livelihoods in Drylands Areas: A Case of Dodoma Region, Tanzania.”