GAINESVILLE, FL – The University of Florida International Center (UFIC) is pleased to announce that the Centers for African Studies (CAS), European Studies (CES), and Latin American Studies (LAS) have collectively received over $5.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education Title VI program, an increase of almost a million dollars compared to last period. The three area studies centers will support international research, public programming and training initiatives in collaboration with faculty across campus and experts across the world. They additionally provide student fellowships over a four-year period (2018-2022). Title VI grants are awarded in recognition of UF’s important contributions to building expertise on world regions and preparing students for international careers in government and the private sector.
All three centers were named Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Centers (NRC), and awarded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship grants. The grants will continue supporting interdisciplinary examination of crucial regional issues and teaching about these world regions at UF, including the teaching of critical world languages. Grants also help to internationalize K-12 education through teacher education and training initiatives, and provide support for outreach about these world regions to other higher education institutions, business, media, and the general public.
“This important and timely recognition of our core area studies programs is a very welcome and exciting contribution to our international mission,” said Leonardo Villalón, Dean of the UF International Center.
The FLAS fellowship grants from all three centers will support graduate and undergraduate students to pursue advanced proficiency in an array of less-commonly taught languages from the three world regions. The languages include Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Czech, Modern Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Akan, Amharic, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. Contributing to national expertise, these prestigious awards allow students to develop linguistic skills to conduct research and gain in-depth understanding of cultures and world regions.
CAS’ mission is to promote excellence in teaching and research on Africa in all the disciplines at the University of Florida. The Center also disseminates knowledge about Africa to the wider community through an integrated outreach program to schools, colleges, community groups, and businesses. Central to this mission is sustaining contacts and expanding interactive linkages with individuals and institutions on the African continent. In addition to undergraduate education, the Center promotes and supports graduate studies as essential for the development of a continuing community of Africanist scholars.
“Highlights of the 2018-2022 award include a new focus on scientific research in Africa, continued investment in Global Health initiatives, and partnership with UF Innovation Hub on technology innovation from Africa. This is in addition to expanded support of African Humanities, involving residencies for practicing artists from Africa and development of digital and distance learning for African Languages,” said Dr. Brenda Chalfin, Professor and Director of the Center for African Studies.
The Center will also extend its impact across southeast U.S. community colleges and minority serving institutions in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Likewise, in keeping with their Next Generation Innovation in African Studies: Building Knowledge and Opportunity for Impact initiative, their local and national K-12 outreach and teacher training programs will now provide multi-cultural perspectives on arts, literature, and social studies as well science and technology in Africa.
The award will allow CAS to continue to promote undergraduate involvement in African Studies.
through new opportunities for undergraduate research and experiential learning on campus and on the continent. This includes their highly successful research tutorial program that has facilitated UF undergraduate research in 10 African countries over the past four years.