The Africana Studies Program’s ongoing work across disciplines facilitates innovative faculty scholarship, unique opportunities for student research and powerful experiences for career and professional development. Teaching and researching in partnership with Lehigh students through overseas programs is becoming a regular feature of the Africana Studies program’s efforts at the university, One of the program’s objective is to provide avenues for students to become global and interdisciplinary thinkers both at home and abroad.
Since 2012, the Africana Studies Program has been involved in various global initiatives and international programs in order to help realize Lehigh University’s global vision. In May 2014, three Africana Studies faculty participated in a fact-finding delegation initiated by the Office of International Affairs to establish partnerships between Lehigh University and universities in Ghana, West Africa. However, attaining the important goal of connecting our students with the global community has been hindered by limited funding opportunities for students. To increase students’ participation in international programs –specifically the “Sites of Memory” program in Ghana, Ronald J. Ulrich ‘67 donated funds to expand Africana Studies’ global summer initiatives in Ghana for underrepresented students. This fund covers a four-year period (12-16 students). The Ulrich recipients are expected to use study abroad to extend classroom learning into the world and to design research projects that enhance their academic work and future careers. In summer 2016, through Ulrich’s generous gift, four students from different academic and geographical backgrounds were selected in a competitive application process to participate in individual research and professional development projects in Ghana-West Africa.