GW launches African studies institute

Dean Rueben E. Brigety II had plans to develop the African Institute since he was hired in August. Paige James | Hatchet Photographer
Dean Rueben E. Brigety II had plans to develop the African Institute since he was hired last August. Hatchet file photo

GW launched the Institute for African Studies this week, according to a University release Monday.

Officials plan to create a more focused African studies curriculum and host an annual conference through the institute, which is housed in the Elliott School of International Affairs. The first conference will be held next spring and will center on the 50th anniversary of the Biafran War, according to the release.

Roy Grinker, a professor of anthropology, international affairs and human sciences, will lead the institute. Grinker has a topical expertise in sub-Saharan Africa and specializes in ethnicity and psychological anthropology.

“GW is committed to inspiring our students and faculty to study the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in Africa,” Grinker said in the release.

More than 50 faculty members who have experience in African studies will collaborate through the African institute. Leaders of the program for African studies and students will collaborate with other D.C. universities and libraries to take advantage of “access to the D.C. region’s large African-origin population,” according to the release.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety intended to start the institute since he was hired last August. He is the former U.S. representative in the African Union and is the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

“Knowledge of Africa is essential for anyone working in international affairs,” Brigety said in the release. “The institute will bring together faculty across campus under one roof to collaborate on a wide range of Africa-related issues, providing exciting new opportunities for our students to engage with the continent.”

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