Africa Scholars Forum

The Africa Scholars Forum at the University of Massachusetts Boston is a university-wide academic platform for the teaching, research, and programming of Africa convened by an informal network of Africanists at UMass Boston. 

The Africa Scholars Forum serves many functions, including building a more formal educational presence around African studies, providing a collaborative hub for work on Africa at UMass Boston, and facilitating among Africanist faculty shared resources and existing initiatives in African Studies in a convened, organized, institutional space.

Goals and Objectives

On May 30th, 2018 at the inaugural meeting of the Africa Scholars Forum steering committee. All committee members listed below agreed to work on the following initiatives:

  1. Develop an undergraduate minor and a graduate certificate in African Studies
  2. Establish a formal speaker series on African issues at UMass Boston
  3. Engage student groups on campus who have Africa programming missions, and create undergraduate student research initiatives on African study
  4. Establish a platform for deepened African research study for graduate students at UMass Boston
  5. Promote existing and new exchanges with area African Studies programs and universities in Africa to facilitate faculty and student exchange, especially study abroad and community research
  6. Achieve prestigious grant awards on African study collaboratively.

Launching Event: First Africa Day - February 27, 2019

The Africa Scholars Forum launched a successful 1st Africa Day with the theme “Pan Africa Rising.” The event featured keynote speakers, panel discussions, graduate student flash talks, an African marketplace, and a gala night reception with Afrobeat entertainment and African food. Africa Day was a premier event that hopes to establish a platform for deepened Africa Research study for graduate and undergraduate students here at UMass Boston.


Opening Remarks by Professor Rita Kiki Edozie and Keynote Lecture by Professor Pearl Robinson

Panel Discussion 1: African Perspectives on Democracy, Security and Global Governance

Panel Discussion 2: Beyond Neoliberalism and the Prospects for Pan-African Economics

Graduate Student Flash Talks


McCormack Speaks Blog


Africa Day 2020 - March 6, 2020

The Africa Scholars Forum celebrated its 2020 Africa Day with the theme “Challenges to Pan Africanism: Afrophobia and Migration within Africa’s Borders.” The event featured a plenary keynote address by Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed ( the African Union Ambassador to the United Nations) and a gala keynote address by renowned Nollywood filmmaker Rahman Oladigbolu( Producer of the award-winning film “Soul Sisters”). The event also featured a plenary panel session with distinguished scholars from the Greater Boston Area, a graduate student roundtable, a fashion show, Afrobeat entertainment, and African food.  The Africa Day 2020 event celebrated and deepened discussion and Africa research study for graduate and undergraduate students at UMass Boston. It also led to the establishment of the Fatima Kyari Mohammed ASF scholarship fund.


2020 Africa Day Welcoming Remarks

2020 Africa Day Keynote Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed

2020 Africa Day Panel Between Afrophobia and Afrophilia

2020 Africa Day Students Roundtable




Faculty Committee Members by College and Department

McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies

Rita Kiki Edozie, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Maria Ivanova, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Darren Kew, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Jane L. Parpart, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Malcolm Russell-Einhorn, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Timothy Shaw, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Courtenay Sprague, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Stacy D. VanDeveer, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance


School for Global and Social Inclusion and Social Development

Sindiso Minsi Weeks, Global Inclusion and Social Development


College of Education and Human Development

Tyra Mendez, Director of Assessment, Accreditation, and Licensure

Angela K. Stone-MacDonald, Graduate Program Director of Doctoral Program in Early Education and Care


College of Liberal Arts

Nada Mustafa Ali, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Ping-Ann Addo, Anthropology

Chinelo Achebe Ejueyitchie, Africana Studies

Christopher Fung, Anthropology

Heidi Gengenbach, History

Jemadari Kamara, Africana Studies

Adugna Lemi, Economics

Aminah Pilgrim, Africana Studies

Jean L. Rene, Africana Studies

Kibibi Mack-Shelton, Africana Studies

Anthony Van Der Meer, Africana Studies


College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Carrie Ann Gakumo, College of Nursing and Health Sciences


Non-Academic Units

Charlie Titus, Division of Athletics, Recreation, Special Projects and Programs


Program Assistant

Nyingilanyeofori Hannah Brown


Member Initiatives

  • Rita Kiki Edozie will be serving on the Local Arrangements Committee for the African Studies Association (ASA) 62nd Annual Meeting. ASA is the world's leading international association of scholars and professionals focusing on the study of Africa. The Annual Meeting in Boston will bring together the African diaspora and African studies communities who have played significant roles in the history of New England, as Massachusetts was the first US state to abolish slavery and today comprises diverse communities of peoples of African descent.
  • The ASA Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of Africanist scholars in the world. With an attendance of about 2,000 scholars and professionals, the conference offers the following:
    • More than 300 panels and roundtable
    • Plenary events featuring keynote speakers
    • Awards ceremony and dance party
    • Institutional and organizational receptions and meetings
    • An international exhibit hall
  • Strengthening Rwandan Administrative Justice (SRAJ) Project is a Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development initiative led by Malcolm Russell-Einhorn. The project aims to improve the quality, consistency, legality, and transparency of decision-making by Rwandan district authorities in administrative cases that involve thousands of citizens and businesses.
  • African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) is a Kenya-based, capacity-building organization. Adugna Lemi is involved in the training program. The AERC Training Program is designed to augment the pool of economic researchers in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting postgraduate studies in Economics and Agricultural Economics and by enhancing the capacities of departments of Economics and departments of Agricultural Economics/Agribusiness in local public universities.
  • Assessing the New Green Revolution for Africa: The Impact of a Value Chain Approach on Women Farmers and Household Food Security is a collaborative, interdisciplinary, multi-country project with co-PIs from the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and Illinois Wesleyan University. Heidi Gengenbach is leading the Mozambique case study, which is investigating the nutritional consequences of women farmers’ participation in an ongoing donor-funded program to commercialize cassava production.
  • The Center for Governance and Sustainability, led by Maria Ivanova, is home to Regional Environmental Diplomacy Institute (REDI), which is an experiential environmental governance teaching program that is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of negotiators, policymakers, and students. REDI has so far focused on supporting the Horn of Africa, a region that is particularly vulnerable to climate change. A cohort of PhD students recently visited the region as part of their coursework. View Part I and Part II of a video describing the project.
  • Youth Education and Sports with Africa (YES) is a multiethnic, coeducational, sports and leadership development program administered in conjunction with partner organizations in West Africa by the Division of Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Programs and the Department of African Studies. The program affords young athletes and coaches in West Africa the opportunity to participate in basketball clinics. Every summer, Charlie Titus participates in the program by conducting clinics.


McCormack Graduate School