Category: Wisconsin Idea

UW’s Tripp to lead team examining role of women in peace-building in Africa

An international team of experienced researchers will examine women’s role in peace-building in Africa, supported by $961,600 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Aili Mari Tripp

Aili Mari Tripp

 The two-year project, which begins July 1, will be administered by the Center for Research on Gender and Women at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and led by Aili Mari Tripp, UW–Madison professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies.

The project consortium also includes the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway, and Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange, in Kampala, Uganda.

The researchers include scholars and women’s rights activists from Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Norway, United States and Finland. They will be conducting research in Somalia, Algeria, northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and Sudan. Continue reading

UW campus hosts 25 young African leaders

The 25 young African leaders who have come to the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus for a six-week academic and leadership institute represent a variety of fields, including medicine, public health, law, education and community activism.

Sicily Mburu

Sicily Mburu

Sicily Mburu, of Kenya, has served as a medical doctor in her country’s Ministry of Health and participated in projects aimed at strengthening HIV/AIDS and maternal health systems. She wants to learn how to use mobile technology to assess health needs, allowing for cost-effective, high-impact interventions.

Gnenegnimin Eli Yeo

Gnenegnimin Eli Yeo

Gnenegnimin Eli Yeo, from Côte d’Ivoire, aspires “to create a center that will train and equip young men and women to create their own businesses and impact the community.”

They are among the 13 women and 12 men, from 19 countries, who have come to UW–Madison through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and hosted here by the African Studies Program. Continue reading

Peace Corps: Reed sees service as investment

His studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison fostered Patrick Reed’s interest in exploring different cultures and perspectives. Add to that a desire to serve others.

Since receiving his B.A. in history and international studies from UW–Madison in 2011, Reed has followed a path of service.

“I traveled the country for two years, volunteering in impacted communities helping with recovery and capacity building,” says Reed, who served with AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps.

Next, his call to serve will carry the 26-year-old from Grayslake, Illinois, overseas. As one of the latest UW–Madison alumni to sign with the Peace Corps, he reports in mid-June 2016 as a community health extension volunteer in Swaziland, a small, landlocked country in southern Africa.

“My time at UW–Madison was a great first step in my pursuit of Peace Corps,” he says. Continue reading

Fulbright: Drewal to work with, learn from metal artists in Morocco

“In the beginning, there was no word, only sensations,” says Henry John Drewal.

“The senses are crucial to understandings of the arts, as well as the formations of persons and cultures, and histories,” explains Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Henry J. Drewal

Henry J. Drewal

Drewal began to discover the central role of the senses in the arts in the 1960s. While in Nigeria teaching French and English and organizing arts camps as a Peace Corps volunteer, he apprenticed himself to a Yoruba sculptor, an experience that proved to be transformative.

He followed up in 1978 with mask-making apprenticeship with another Yoruba sculptor in Nigeria, and the Gelede mask he created still dances in annual festivals.

Through these experiences, he says, “I gained insights into Yoruba artistic concepts, not only in discussing them with artists and observing them as they emerged from the creative process, but also in attempting to achieve them in my own carving under the tutelage of Yoruba artists.”

He adds, “In other words, my own bodily, multi-sensorial experience was crucial to a more profound understanding (oye) of Yoruba art, and the culture and history that shape it. This process of watching, listening, carving, making mistakes, being corrected by example, and trying again, was a transformative sensorial experience for me.”

Drewal has received a 2016-17 senior Fulbright Scholar award to continue exploring African art through what he calls Sensiotics – “the study of the multi-sensorial dimensions of the arts, both in the making and the reception of the arts by body-minds.” Continue reading

‘Experience Languages!’ brings pre-college students into UW-Madison classrooms

Wisconsin middle and high school students are getting a taste of world languages at the University of Wisconsin–Madison through Experience Languages!

The outreach initiative, organized by the Language Institute, also introduces visiting students to related opportunities, such as study abroad, international internships, and residential language communities.

On April 12, 2016, approximately 60 students from Monroe High School were introduced to Portuguese, Finnish, Mandarin, Swahili, Ancient Greek, and Yucatec Mayan. Each student was introduced to two languages.

The Experience Languages! initiative began in the fall 2015. Schools that participated include Madison East and LaFollette, Plymouth, Kimberly, Fort Atkinson, Cedarburg, Sauk Prairie, Verona, and Waterford.

UW Language Experience 033Wendy Johnson, assistant director of the Language Institute, welcomes the Monroe students and gives an overview of languages at UW–Madison. Continue reading

2016 Day in Africa brings 185 high school students to campus

The University of Wisconsin–Madison welcomed 185 juniors and seniors from eight Wisconsin high schools on April 13 for the 2016 Day in Africa program at Union South, sponsored by the African Studies Program.

The high school students explored the languages and cultures of Africa through a variety of sessions led by UW-Madison faculty, students, and staff. Many sessions incorporate the theme of health and healing in Africa and beyond.

The participating high schools were: Madison West, Madison East, Beloit Memorial, Pardeeville, Westosha Central, SAPAR, Oregon, and Kettle Moraine Global.

UW Day in Africa 2016 012Neil Kodesh, associate professor of history and director of the African Studies Program, gives the keynote remarks on Global Health in Africa to open the day’s program. Continue reading

International Division, IRIS award seed grants for interdisciplinary research

Six interdisciplinary research projects that blend place-based scientific inquiry with international expertise have been awarded incubator grants by the International Division and the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

These projects focus on Africa, South Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America, in fields as diverse as public health, child development, civil engineering, climate science, archaeology, genetics, virology, and environmental studies.

Offered this year for the first time, the grants are aimed at bringing together faculty in STEM fields who are conducting place-based research abroad with experts from regional and area studies centers within IRIS.

“These grants are based on the idea that scientific inquiry will improve through collaboration with regional experts, while area specialists will benefit from working with colleagues in the physical, biological, and quantitative social sciences,” says Richard Keller, associate dean of the International Division.

Funding for these awards, of up to $50,000 each, comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other International Division funds. Continue reading

Wisconsin Idea: UW–Madison language learners assist high school students

Morgan Haefner, of Appleton, and Marcus Amato, of Oshkosh, both studied Spanish in middle and high school. Both arrived at the University of Wisconsin–Madison looking for a new language to learn, and both chose Arabic.

Haefner says she “simply went down the list of languages and landed on Arabic. Little did I know what studying the language would mean to me.”

“When I first started, I was interested in Arabic because it seemed vastly different from anything I had studied before,” Amato say, “but after learning the alphabet and the writing system, all of that opacity fell away, revealing a language that is very approachable and fun to learn.”

Gaochsia Xiong and Aiyzah Javaid started studying Japanese as high school students in Eau Claire, and continued their language studies at UW–Madison.

“I had always been interested in the Japanese culture due to watching anime (Japanese cartoons) during my childhood, so I decided to learn it,” says Javaid, who is originally from Pakistan. “Then once I started learning it, I realized I loved it, and I was hooked.”

Xiong took up Japanese to follow in the footsteps of her older sisters. “I thought I would be able to take it and ease through it with the help and knowledge of my sisters.”

Cheyenne Vaughn, of Jackson, Missouri, also had developed an interest in Japanese culture. So, for her freshman year at UW–Madison, she enrolled in a First-year Interest Group (FIG) “about Japanese pop culture and one of the classes was first-semester Japanese. I fell in love with the language.”

This year, these five language learners are sharing their knowledge and passion by tutoring students in three Wisconsin high schools, through videoconferencing and in person. They are among eight UW–Madison undergraduates involved connected through UW–Madison’s Language Institute with language programs at Madison East, Manitowoc Lincoln, and Plymouth high schools. Continue reading