The annual Harvard Dean’s Distinction Award was bestowed on the Harvard Center for African Studies (CAS) at a high-profile event hosted at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 8th, 2018. The award honors Harvard University’s highest-achieving Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) staff members whose accomplishments have significantly enhanced and extended collaborations across the University.
CAS is being recognized for working collaboratively across continents to successfully launch the first Center in sub-Saharan Africa last May; positioning the University to deepen partnerships with African scholars and institutions while strengthening ties with Harvard alumni living in Africa.
Executive Director of the Cambridge Office, Sue Cook, praised the team for its good teamwork, saying that “the CAS team takes huge pride in the work that we do, and we have a lot of fun along the way.”
“This award is another demonstration of Harvard’s commitment to African scholarship,” commented Obenewa Amponsah, Executive Director of the Africa Office. “The award recognizes the extent to which the Center has been driving initiatives to advance academic and public discourse about African knowledge, perspectives, and experiences.”
Obenewa also expressed her pleasure that the award was presented on March 8th, International Women’s Day, given that the staff of CAS, which is led by the Oppenheimer Faculty Director Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong, comprises nine women. Professor Akyeampong echoed Dr. Cook’s appreciation for the great teamwork, “the successful launch of the Africa Office in Johannesburg was the outcome of great collaboration between the staff in Johannesburg and Cambridge, faculty, and members of our various boards. This was Harvard at its best.”
Among the CAS initiatives currently underway is the selection process for the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program, a fellowship which provides advanced training to mid-career South African professionals who have already demonstrated excellence in their chosen fields.
The Center is also preparing to host “Africa’s Leaders Speak,” a forum featuring former African Heads of State from April 24-26 in Cambridge, in advance of Africa month celebrations in May. The aim is to mobilize the continent’s potential, promote knowledge economies, exploit economic opportunities and through bold leadership and governance of integrity, ensure that the 21st Century is known as the African Century.