Global Health Institute symposium and grants

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The UW-Madison Global Health Institute is pleased to announce its 2018 Global Health Symposium and new grant opportunities.


Advancing Health In Uncertain Times
Global Health Symposium 2018
April 10, 2018
Union South

UW-Madison Professor Susan Paskewitz will be the keynote speaker for the 14th annual Global Health Symposium. Paskewitz, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, is also co-director of the Upper Midwestern Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The annual symposium provides a forum for the UW-Madison global health community to showcase recent work and connect with each other. The evening includes oral and poster presentations, and a panel discussion on a current challenge.


Deadline: 11:59 p.m., Monday, January 29, 2018

The application period is open for the 2018 Global Health Institute grants and awards. This competitive grant program is designed to support global health efforts of faculty, staff and graduate students across campus, fostering the Wisconsin Idea locally and globally.
Grants will be awarded in four categories:

  • NEW FOR 2018: Henry Anderson III Graduate Student Award in Environmental, Occupational and Public Health supports graduate students interested in pursuing research in those topic areas.  Application information.
  • Graduate Student Research Awards supports doctoral students pursuing work in any relevant discipline whose graduate work will enhance global health activities on the UW-Madison campus and beyond. Grants of up to $5,000 each will be awarded. Application information.
  • Visiting Scholar Awards brings visitors to UW-Madison who substantially enhance global health activities on campus in collaboration with a sponsoring UW-Madison faculty member or faculty team. Grants of up to $8,000 each will be awarded. Application information.
  • Faculty and Staff Travel Awards are available for UW-Madison faculty and staff who are GHI affiliates. They can be used for international travel related to educational and research activities. Grants of up to $2,500 each will be awarded. Application information.


Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Monday, February 12, 2018

The call for proposals for the 14th annual Global Health Symposium is open to members and partners of the UW-Madison community who are addressing global health and disease. From basic research to education to applied projects in the field, the symposium hopes to showcase the full spectrum of UW-Madison global health activity.

The Global Health Institute encourages and welcomes presentations from all disciplines—from arts, agriculture, and business, to education, engineering, and humanities, to all of the health sciences and more.

Scott Straus wins Grawemeyer Award

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Photo by Sarah Morton, College of Letters & Science


Political Science professor and African Studies affiliate Scott Straus has won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order for his book Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa.

The University of Louisville presents the $100,000 award annually for outstanding works in ideas improving world order, psychology, education, music composition and, in conjunction with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, religion. The Ideas Improving World Order award is a major honor in the field of political science, with roughly 50 nominations sent from around the world each year, says award director Charles Ziegler.

In Making and Unmaking Nations, Straus — who specializes in the study of genocide, political violence, human rights and African politics — explains how ideas and political messages can become tipping points for genocide. His research examines patterns and circumstances that have resulted in genocide and contrasts those with similar situations where genocide seemed likely to happen but did not.

Read the full story »

View the African Presidential Speeches Database Straus created for Making and Unmaking Nations »

Study Arabic, Persian, or Turkish with APTLII

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Are you interested in studying Arabic, Persian, or Turkish in an immersion environment? The Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute can provide two semesters of language credit in 8 short weeks, while living on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus!

Visit for more information and application details. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Apply before February 1st and avoid an application fee!

June 16-August 10, 2018 (Beginner Arabic & Persian students will move in June 13)
Tuition: $5000
Room & Board: $2500-$3000 (see website for details)
FLAS Eligible 

For up-to-date news about APTLII, check out the FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages.

Africa in Our Lives: Sam Allen

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UW-Madison senior Sam Allen has never taken the conventional path when it comes to his education. The Geography and International Studies major managed to integrate his passion for Swahili with a career path in the Army. He shares what inspired him to study the continent, his takeaways from his time in Tanzania, and his favorite Swahili phrase.

Field of Study: Geography, International Studies, African Studies (certificate)
Hometown: Appleton, WI

Sam near the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro the week before his studies in Tanzania began. (Submitted photo)

What brought you to Madison?

Aside from the vagaries of the college admissions process writ large, I didn’t see the need to move to a coast to receive a world-class education. The gorgeousness of campus and liveliness of student life, combined with Madison’s role as a locus of government and culture, pushed me over the edge.

Were you interested in Africa before coming to UW-Madison?

My parents traveled through the continent for a months-long epic journey shortly before having children, and I grew up listening to their stories from the trip. Far from a basic backdrop on which they projected their own lives, the Africa they knew was in a constant state of change variously thrilling, daunting and awe-inspiring. My mental imagery of Africa was an archetype for my sense of fascination. However, these stories could have remained just stories if not for the opportunities I found in college.

What inspired your combination of majors?

Both Geography and International Studies are useful for explaining differences among people and nations across the globe. But more importantly, these fields of study deal with the most tangible stuff that goes into these differences, namely environment and political institutions, and how they can be changed. The “so what?” factor was very important to me in deciding majors, and I found Geography and IS as useful not only in interpreting the world but changing it.

Sam with fellow cadets and Angolan military officers at the Instituto Superior Técnico Militar, the country’s military academy. (Submitted photo)

How does being a cadet in Army ROTC relate to your interest in Africa and African Studies?

The Army is my raison d’être for pursuing African Studies, the impetus for turning an interest into a career path. Perhaps what keeps most people from pursuing their dreams is a perceived lack of purpose, the feeling that their passion doesn’t quite square with the “real” world. As a freshman, I too feared I would fall into that malaise. So I can’t quite describe my feelings when I read that the Army considers Swahili, among other African languages, “Critical” to its operations, offering numerous study abroad, scholarship and career opportunities relating to it. I’ve been to Africa twice under ROTC, been on scholarship to study Swahili for two years and met role models and mentors who have helped me tremendously along the way. For an organization that has already given me such purpose, that it also empowers me to study what I care deeply about has been an incredible feeling.

What is it like to study Swahili at UW-Madison?

Liberating. I studied French an embarrassing amount of years in middle and high school, and still struggled to string together basic sentences, much less polished, accented ones. And yet in two years at Madison I’m proficient in Swahili (I can still improve in many areas, but am fluent in most conversations). This is for two reasons. One, as opposed to other language programs which focus on test-taking and worksheets (which can be BS’d fairly easily), Madison goes for the jugular and focuses as much as possible on conversation. Two, Madison has a large and excellent African Studies / African Cultural Studies community, full of excellent teachers, speakers, events and students. This makes studying Swahili fun, but also gives it an added meaning and human dimension that studying alone can’t provide.

Sam with an Angolan military officer. (Submitted photo)

What’s one of your favorite Swahili words or phrases?

I’d heard that Tanzanians have a reputation for being formal, best met with a proper “Hujambo/Sijambo” greeting. So I was shocked to ask one young Tanzanian man how he was doing and get the response “Poa kichisi kama ndizi ndani ya friji.” Literally: “Crazy-cool like a banana in the fridge.” Needless to say, that became my response whenever anyone asked how I was doing.

Tell us about your study abroad program in Tanzania. What are some of your most vivid memories?

I applied to a Project GO (“Global Officers”) scholarship to study Swahili in Tanzania via James Madison University, and was accepted for the summer of 2016. This Department of Defense program prepares the next generation of officers with skills in languages critical to the military’s global missions. Most students on this study were cadets, coming from all branches of the military and universities throughout the country. While Swahili was emphasized, we also studied environmental and geographic issues as we travelled throughout the country.

As far as memories, what could top the 24/7 unlimited alcohol cooler at the Kubu Kubu camp in the Serengeti? Still, others include: riding a motorcycle through the savannah to make it to my Maasai host father’s compound before nightfall; kayaking in the Indian Ocean and stumbling upon an island restaurant; talking with the porters in Swahili all the way up Kilimanjaro; snorkeling with parrot fish off of Chumbe, Zanzibar; canoeing Lake Victoria on our way to a local fish market; and making lasting friendships with the other cadets on this study.

If you could bring one piece of your life in Tanzania back to Wisconsin, what would it be?

We were mostly cadets, at similar points in our lives and interested in roughly the same things. But these similarities (and living in close-quarters) had ways of magnifying the differences in our views and personalities, leading to some of the most interesting and intense discussions I’ve ever had. Nothing avoided scrutiny or discussion, and this hyper-awareness made me feel rooted in place and in the moment. It’s this feeling, not only the sense of rigorously preparing to change the world, but being with the best people to do so, that I would bring back.

What advice would you give first-year students at UW-Madison?

Go to your professors’ office hours. Specialize in a field of study. See speakers, go to conferences, get internships and travel. In the liberal arts, you will vacillate between feeling like a philosopher-king and feeling indistinguishable from someone who could have just read Wikipedia instead of shelling out for a college degree. At your worst hour, you will think of three things to avoid feeling like the latter: your relationships, skills and experiences. Do you work with people who make you the best version of yourself, and whom you trust to evaluate your ideas and progress? Have you put effort into a can-do skill that sets you apart from others and makes you eminently useful? And do you possess firsthand knowledge that can’t be found online or in books, that enhances the acuity of your worldview? These tangibles are the force behind your college degree, and act as stamps of quality to both yourself and any potential employer or superior.

Profile produced by Kyra Fox.

Click here to view more “Africa in Our Lives” profiles.

Apply to teach in Ethiopia this spring

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As a result of the Ethiopian government’s prioritization of higher education, Ethiopian universities are eager to attract foreign faculty, American scholars in particular. The Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars will create a critical foundation for Ethiopia’s development by strengthening the leading Ethiopian universities’ capacity to teach and manage undergraduate and graduate programs, and enhancing research capacity within Ethiopian universities. They may also provide opportunities for long‐term collaboration between U.S. and Ethiopian universities and scholars.

The Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars Program is supported by the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, Bahir Dar University, the University of Gondar, and the Institute of International Education (IIE). The initial cohort of 10 Scholars will teach in Ethiopia in spring 2018. Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars will have the opportunity to engage in primary research with doctoral students, work to publish results, teach, design curriculum, mentor students, and collaborate with faculty at their host institution for one academic semester. Program benefits includes a monthly stipend and in-country advising from the IIE Ethiopia office as well as support from the universities, and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia.

For more information on qualifications and deadlines, see the website.

Newman Civic Fellow applications open

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UW-Madison will select one undergraduate student to serve as the 2017-18 Newman Civic Fellow. This student will participate in leadership development and learning around civic engagement with a cohort of other fellows from schools around the country. The application deadline is Sunday, December 10 at 11:59 PM.

Newman Civic Fellow nominees must also meet the fellowship eligibility criteria:

• Be an enrolled undergraduate at UW-Madison
• Have at least one year of education remaining at UW-Madison
• Must commit to providing a short reflection piece (video, article, or letter format) to Campus Compact during their fellowship year

Students should apply online to serve as the 2017-18 Newman Civic Fellow.

More information can be found here.

Get Funding to Study an African Language – FLAS applications now open!

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Get FLAS funding to study a languageThe African Studies Program encourages both undergraduate and graduate students of African languages to submit applications for Summer 2018 and Academic Year 2018-2019 fellowships and awards. Applications for the following competitions are now open:

– Undergraduate Summer 2018 FLAS award
– Undergraduate Academic Year 2018-19 FLAS award
– Graduate Summer 2018 FLAS awards
– Graduate Academic Year 2018-19 FLAS awards

All competitions are evaluated separately and an application to one competition does not strengthen or weaken application to another.

Application deadline is February 12, 2018.

African language FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the African Studies Program to assist students in acquiring African language and area studies competencies. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Preference will be given to applicants with a high level of academic ability and with previous language training.

For more details and to apply online, visit the UW-Madison FLAS site.

Fellowships and awards

Graduate student academic-year fellowship
tuition + $15K stipend

Undergraduate student academic-year award
$10K toward tuition + $5K stipend

Undergraduate and graduate summer award
Up to $5K toward tuition + $2.5K stipend


Eligible students may apply to study the following languages with a FLAS award from the African Studies Program.

Academic Year
African Language Directed Study*

*FLAS applicants interested in self-instruction of a language not offered in a regular classroom setting at the UW-Madison may do so through AFRICAN 670 (2cr) and 697 (3cr). Applicants interested in the African Language Directed Study need to contact FLAS coordinator Meagan Doll for details, guidance, and special instructions before beginning a FLAS application.

A wide range of African languages are eligible.

Plan your summer African language study with this helpful list of domestic and international language program: Summer 2018 domestic and international programs

The link takes you to a Google spreadsheet that also includes tabs with lists of overseas African language programs that FLAS students have attended in the past. List will be updated as program information is released.

Prospective FLAS students should note that the U.S. Department of Education does not guarantee approval for an overseas program even if approval has been given in the past.

Information sessions

There will be two information sessions for students interested in applying for a FLAS award or fellowship (please note different times for graduate and undergraduate applicants). The content of the November, December, and January meetings will be identical:

November 30, 2017
336 Ingraham Hall
3:00-4:00pm for undergraduate student applicants
4:00-5:00pm for graduate applicants

December 12, 2017
336 Ingraham Hall
3:00-4:00pm for undergraduate student applicants
4:00-5:00pm for graduate applicants

January 22, 2018
336 Ingraham Hall
3:00-4:00pm for undergraduate student applicants
4:00-5:00pm for graduate applicants

January 25, 2018
336 Ingraham Hall
3:00-4:00pm for undergraduate student applicants
4:00-5:00pm for graduate applicants

FLAS Open Houses

These open houses are designed to give students the opportunity to drop in for application guidance or questions. Graduate and undergraduate applicants welcome.

December 1 & 7
301 Ingraham Hall

January 23 & 29
301 Ingraham Hall

Nominate an “unsung hero of conservation” in Africa or Latin America for National Geographic award

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National Geographic Society is currently soliciting nominations for the 2018 National Geographic Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation in Africa and Latin America. These awards honor the unsung heroes of conservation by celebrating the recipients’ past achievements and supporting ongoing work in conserving nature. Each award includes a $25,000 grant.

Click here to submit a nomination.

The awards are limited to nationals of any country in Latin America or Africa working in their regions. The deadline to submit nominations is January 8, 2018. The winners will be announced in June 2018.

Find more information about the awards, including profiles of past awardees on the website.

Callaci publishes new book on Tanzanian street archives

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African Studies Program faculty affiliate Emily Callaci’s new book, Street Archives and City Life: Popular Intellectuals in Postcolonial Tanzania, will be published in December by Duke University Press.

In this book, Callaci explores what she calls “street archives”—popular texts such as women’s Christian advice literature and self-published pulp fiction novellas—to reveal the worlds of youth migrants and urban intellectuals in mid- to late-twentieth-century Dar es Salaam, and to show how they fashioned a collective ethos of postcolonial African citizenship.

For more information and to order the book, visit the Duke University Press website.

Course Spotlight: Sound & African Modernity

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Course Description

This course examines sound and technology as tools of cultural invention and identity in contemporary African life. How do music and its mediums construct national belonging in Africa and the diaspora? What are the embodied senses of these? Posthumanism, new media and globalization are examined against competing theories of modernity through the writings of Achille Mbembe, Yvonne Daniels, Alexander Weheliye and others. Music subcultures in which dance elements are essential are theorized as mediums for Black social and technological modernity. We also examine digital production and media distribution techniques for sound cultures including, pop music, podcasts, radio, and online mediums such as Spotify and YouTube. Literature primarily comes from African Studies, New Media Studies, technology and sound studies, with special attention to street dance cultures and ‘neotraditional’ dance practices in Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, and USA (Chicago/NY/Atlanta/Bay Area).

Course Details

African Languages and Literature 605: Sound & African Modernity: Digitizing the Body & Soul of the Nation
3 credits
Tues./Thurs., 2:30-3:45PM
375 Van Hise Hall
Spring 2018

Sample Texts

Africa in Stereo by Tsitsi Jaji
Sounding New Media by Frances Dyson
Living the Hiplife by Jesse Weaver Shipley
Uproot: Travels in 21st Century Music by Jacye Clayton

About the Instructor

Reginold Royston is jointly-appointed in the School of Information (formerly SLIS) and the Department of African Cultural Studies. His research interests include New Media and innovation in the African Diaspora. He does ethnographic research in Ghana, the U.S., and the Netherlands, examining Ghana’s digital diaspora. As a researcher, developer and professor of information and technology studies, I have produced and designed dozens of new media apps and campaigns with my students and collaborators. He’s worked for 15 years as a reporter, graphics designer, and cultural critic for Knight Ridder, Village Voice Media, and National He has been active in community organizations in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Oakland, CA. His teaching and research interests include: Africana Cultural Studies; New Media and Sound Studies; Philosophy and History of Information and Communications Technology; Diaspora and Transnationalism; Black Studies; Anthropology; Online Education; Civic Technology for the Public Good.