2013-2014 Africa Initiative Student Project Fund Recipients

Congratulations to the following students who were selected as recipients of Africa Initiative Student Project Funds.


[In alphabetical order]

  • Jessica Adimora & DukeAFRICA/ Host guest speaker, Mukoma Wa Ngugi, Kenyan author, poet, and scholar to speak on African identity in the US

“This is an important discussion to have on campus, as the divide between Africans and African-Americans is a popular topic of discussion, but never fully addressed. Are Africans viewed differently from African-Americans by society, and if so, why? We want to put this question out in the open and give Ngugi a chance to address it. The discussion will also be held to address the question– are Africans in the U.S. obligated to “save Africa” because of their elevated position in the Western world?

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  • Dagbedji Fagnisse & Dimeji Adidoye/ Create a searchable consolidated online platform detailing Duke Africanist faculty and scholars

“In a fast-paced environment like Duke, timely and accurate access to information is key to taking advantage of existing opportunities and creating more of such. Due to a number of structural reasons, Duke Africanist faculty and scholars are scattered across schools and departments and have historically had relatively few ways to interact beyond classes. For a year now, The AI has sought to bridge the gap between faculty operating in various areas of campus.”

  • Nupur Gulati & WISER/ Host a WISER student at Duke and have a presentation about their experiences on topics  such as global health and gender equity

“WISER stands for the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research, and it is a community development organization in Muhuru Bay, Kenya that focuses on the social empowerment of underprivileged girls through education and health. Our project would include a talk/presentation by Dr. Sherryl Broverman, the WISER girls, and Madame Dorcus (their principal). The WISER girls would share their stories about their experiences and perseverance. The talk/presentation would cover various topics in global health and gender equity, and would be followed by a discussion open to all members of the audience.”

  • Queen Isu, Business in Africa (BIA) Club, and Black & Latino MBA Organization (BLMBAO) at the Fuqua School of Business/ Africa Innovation Symposium – “Bridging the Gap: Identifying & Developing Sustainable Growth in Africa”

“BLMBAO has tentatively received confirmation from Wal-­Mart Treasurer and Executive VP, Jeff Davis, to be the keynote speaker.In years past, the BIA Innovation Symposium has focused on the opportunity for impact found on the continent. This year’s conference hopes to build on the past themes and focus more on achieving sustainable long-term growth on the continent.”

  • Candice Jansen & Sarah Stacke/ Curate a photography exhibition and host a panel discussion aimed at fostering dialogue on cross-cultural visual literacy and the development of narratives surrounding African communities

“The evolution of photography has been cross-disciplinary. From its origins in science, and its use in ethnography, to its role in political resistance, and art, photography remains one of the most important social mediums of our time…Visual literacy is more important than ever. While the history of image making on the African continent is fraught, photography has also helped Africa re-imagine itself and its future.  Africa is well suited to debates regarding visual literacy and how photography has been, and can be, used to talk about issues concerning politics, progress and perception. Identifying the relevance and relationship of these debates to various majors is an overarching goal of this project.”

  • Maria Prebble/ Panel on the intersections of climate change, migration, and conflict in West Africa

“Countries in northwest Africa are already grappling with drought and land degradation, which has lead to mass migration and natural resource conflict. I plan to host a panel of 3-4 speakers focusing on climate change, migration, environmental degradation and its implications for security and conflict in West Africa. The event will be open to the entire Duke University Community, and might be of special interested to Nicholas School and Sanford School students.”

  • Busi Sibeko, Africa Conversations Club, and the MasterCard Foundation Scholars/ Form a Durham Outreach Program, which will seek to facilitate workshops that challenge stereotypes about Africa at Duke and within the greater Durham community

 “Through collaboration, the above listed organizations formulated the Durham outreach program, which seeks to facilitate workshops that challenge stereotypes about Africa to Duke students and to the greater Durham community. The proposed program was founded on Chimamanda Adichie’s theory that “the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” The goal of the program is to challenge the negative narratives that have been reproduced through media portrayals of Africa and to provide a nuanced portrayal of the continent.”

  • Jacob Tobia/ Host guest speaker, Graeme Reid, activist, historian, and the director for LGBT policy at Human Rights Watch, to talk on homophobia and sexual diversity on the African continent

 “Throughout my research, I’ve been exposed to the rich and tumultuous history of South Africa’s LGBT community: a community that has been divided by apartheid, racism, and economic barriers for generations. In 1996, South Africa became the first country in the world to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in their constitution, but significant challenges still remain for the LGBT community. Particularly in black township communities, LGBT individuals still face immense violence and lesbian women are often confronted with the phenomenon of “corrective rape.” As LGBT rights increasingly emerge on the international stage, and as homophobia on the African continent seems to be expanding and growing more virulent, complex discourse surrounding sexual diversity in Africa has never been more critical.”


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