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Collaboration with the OECD Sahel and West Africa Club

On April 4, 2017, the University of Florida signed a memorandum of understanding with the OECD in Paris to explore urbanization in border areas and women’s trade networks at the local and regional scale. Among the proposed activities include a spatial mapping of the morphologies and functions of border cities to understand the role they play – or could play – in building regional integration and a social network analysis of women’s trade networks. The Sahel Research Group at UF and the Sahel and West Africa Club at the OECD are primarily responsible for implementing the research and policy activities of the program. In Paris, Professor Leonardo A. Villalón introduced the work of the University of Florida Sahel Research Group (Watch Video). SWAC Director Laurent Bossard talked about the new partnership with the Sahel Research Group (Watch Video in French). The research program is led by Dr. Olivier J. Walther at UF and by Dr. Marie Trémolières at OECD.

Masters of Development Practice Collaborative Research Exchange

In partnership with the France-Florida Research Institute, the Sahel Research Group is participating in a year-long collaborative exchange bringing together graduate students in the respective Masters of Development Practice (MDP) programs of the University of Florida, Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, and Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. The exchange was inaugurated by a symposium and a week-long series of workshops on the theme of “Development, Security, and Climate Change in the Sahel” at the University of Florida from September 20-26, 2014. Participants met again at Sciences Po, in Paris from March 1-6, 2015 and at UCAD, in Dakar, on May 1-9, 2015. Read More

Islam in Africa working group

The Islam in Africa Working Group is sponsored by the University of Florida Center for African Studies, with the goal of sharing and expanding both teaching and research on the Muslim societies of Africa. The group offers an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students and faculty to present their current research projects on topics related to Muslim Africa. The working group also periodically invites scholars from outside of the University of Florida to present on their research on issues of relevance to Islam in Africa. Each Spring semester the working group organizes a symposium that brings together a select group of scholars to speak to a theme of particular interest in contemporary Muslim Africa. These themes have included: slavery and social justice in Muslim West Africa, “militant Islam” in contemporary Africa, and Islamic NGOs and development issues in Africa. Members of the Sahel Research Group are also active participants in the Islam in Africa working group and the two groups often coordinate and cosponsor activities.

The working group is coordinated by Professor Terje Østebø. Faculty co-organizers include Leonardo Villalón, Abdoulaye Kane, and Susan O’Brien.

Past activities of the Islam in Africa Working Group include a number of symposiums on : Sufism in Africa: Adapting to Changing RealitiesThe African Madrassa: Transformations of Islamic Education in Contemporary AfricaIslamic NGOs and Development Aid in AfricaMilitant Islam in Africa: Fears and Realities, and  Slavery Social Justice & Islam in West Africa.

The program of the Islam in Africa Working Group can be downloaded here.