Community Engagement

In an effort to assist educators and communities interested in expanding knowledge about Africa throughout Pittsburgh and neighboring communities in Western Pennsylvania, the African Studies Program coordinates a range of outreach services to schools, civic groups, businesses and the wider community. The goal is to increase public knowledge about Africa and enhance understanding of African cultures by providing information from and about Africa.
Local School Outreach
Members of the African Studies Program team visit local classrooms and provide students with an immersive experience into African Culture. Currently we partner with the African Cultural Club at Brashear High School and the Dormont Elementary School in Pittsburgh. We also work with the Global Minds Initiative which aims to combat the issues of cultural intolerance and discrimination through after school tutoring of ESL students. During our visits we give presentations to students where they have a chance to hear African stories, learn African dances, and interact with African artifacts. Our goal is to provide students with a foundation on which to explore Africa as a diverse continent and learn about how it is unique and similar to our own cultures and ways of knowing. We are always looking for more schools and community services organization to partner with!
Curriculum Development
African Studies works closely with K-12 teachers and administrators to promote the teaching of Africa in their school curriculum. Our central focus over the years has been curricula development through the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program funded, by the U.S. Department of Education. Teachers and administrators from various school districts in Western Pennsylvania have had the opportunity to travel to Africa for the purpose of enhancing their professional competence in the African area and the generation of specific, grade level instructional resources for classroom infusion.
Conference/Workshops for Educators
African Studies coordinates at least one teachers’ workshop or conference each summer. Focus is on teaching Africa through literature, environmental sciences, social studies, language and visual arts. Information about these programs are posted on our events calendar but if you wish to receive advance information, please send us an email with your name and e-mail address to African Studies also organizes guest speakers and local experts to participate in round table discussions.
Speakers Bureau
African Studies encourages its faculty and students to make themselves available for speaking engagements on African topics. Individual Africanists are available for consultation on programs, curricula, or issues concerning Africa. We will continually assist in identifying experts on the topic at hand and to link the requester with the relevant expert. We also arrange school presentations by African graduate students during the academic year.
Each spring, African Studies hosts a Model African Union (MAU) at the University of Pittsburgh for high school students in the Pittsburgh region. Students in grades 9-12 intensively research an assigned country, represent that country in the simulated democratic proceedings modeling the African Union, and discuss collaboration on a variety of topics of international importance. Students practice invaluable research and critical thinking skills, negotiation and diplomacy, and develop an international awareness necessary for an increasingly globalized society. The MAU is free for students and schools to participate, setting it apart from other model unions.