Campus & Community

African Studies awards six grants

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The Harvard Committee on African Studies has awarded six grants for Harvard undergraduates and doctoral students to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa this summer. The three undergraduates who received grants will be doing research for their senior honors theses. One of these grants is funded by contributions from individual members of the Harvard African Students Alumni Network (HASAN), as part of their continued commitment to African students and African Studies at Harvard.

“Since 1986 the Committee on African Studies has given 95 undergraduate travel grants,” according to Rita Breen, executive officer for the Committee on African Studies. “The student research topics have been as diverse as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, the commercialization of cocoa in Cameroon, the roles of royal women in Dagomba society in Ghana, and local responses to HIV/AIDS in rural Kenya,” Breen said.

The three graduate student recipients will be conducting research related to their doctoral dissertations. These grants are funded by an endowment established by Jennifer Oppenheimer ’89, J.D. ’93. The endowment has funded 11 such grants since 2001.

The 2003 undergraduate grant recipients are:

Adeline Boatin ’04, an environmental sciences and public policy concentrator, will travel to Rwanda. Boatin will study the changing farming practices in postgenocide Rwanda and its implications for environmental management.

Anna Justina Hierta ’04, a government concentrator, will travel to Rwanda to study the effects of government policies on local civil society’s ability to foster interaction in a democratic manner.

Shakirah Hudani ’03, a social studies concentrator, will travel to Rwanda. Hudani will study the use of religious rhetoric to reconfigure historical memory in postgenocide Rwanda. She is this year’s HASAN grant recipient.

The 2003 Jennifer Oppenheimer Graduate Grant recipients are:

Prita Sandy Meier, a history of art and architecture concentrator, will travel to Kenya for preliminary predissertation research on the architectural landscapes of Swahili Coast urban centers.

Gaston Sorgho, a population and reproductive health concentrator in the School of Public Health, will travel to Mali and Senegal to evaluate the impact of health sector reforms on reproductive health programs.

Kristina Van Dyke, a history of art and architecture concentrator, will travel to Senegal to conduct archival research for her dissertation: “Performance of Space: Reconceptualizing Urbanism and Architecture in the Middle Niger.”