UF Area Studies Centers Received $5.9 Million in Major Grants

All three centers were named Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Centers (NRC), and awarded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship grants.

UF Area Studies Centers Received $5.9 Million in Major Grants

August 23, 2018

For Immediate Release

UF International Center

Media Contact: Mabel Cardec
Office: 352.273.1515

Uf African Studies, European Studies, and Latin American Studies Receive $5.9 Million in Major Grants

GAINESVILLE, FL – The University of Florida International Center (UFIC) is pleased to announce that the Centers for African Studies (CAS), European Studies (CES), and Latin American Studies (LAS) have collectively received over $5.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education Title VI program, an increase of almost a million dollars compared to last period. The three area studies centers will support international research, public programming and training initiatives in collaboration with faculty across campus and experts across the world. They additionally provide student fellowships over a four-year period (2018-2022). Title VI grants are awarded in recognition of UF’s important contributions to building expertise on world regions and preparing students for international careers in government and the private sector.

All three centers were named Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Centers (NRC), and awarded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship grants. The grants will continue supporting interdisciplinary examination of crucial regional issues and teaching about these world regions at UF, including the teaching of critical world languages. Grants also help to internationalize K-12 education through teacher education and training initiatives and provide support for outreach about these world regions to other higher education institutions, business, media, and the general public.

“This important and timely recognition of our core area studies programs is a very welcome and exciting contribution to our international mission,” said Leonardo Villalón, Dean of the UF International Center.

The FLAS fellowship grants from all three centers will support graduate and undergraduate students to pursue advanced proficiency in an array of less-commonly taught languages from the three world regions. The languages include Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Czech, Modern Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Akan, Amharic, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. Contributing to national expertise, these prestigious awards allow students to develop linguistic skills to conduct research and gain in-depth understanding of cultures and world regions.

UF Center for African Studies (CAS) 

CAS’ mission is to promote excellence in teaching and research on Africa in all the disciplines at the University of Florida. The Center also disseminates knowledge about Africa to the wider community through an integrated outreach program to schools, colleges, community groups, and businesses. Central to this mission is sustaining contacts and expanding interactive linkages with individuals and institutions on the African continent. In addition to undergraduate education, the Center promotes and supports graduate studies as essential for the development of a continuing community of Africanist scholars.

“Highlights of the 2018-2022 award include a new focus on scientific research in Africa, continued investment in Global Health initiatives, and partnership with UF Innovation Hub on technology innovation from Africa. This is in addition to expanded support of African Humanities, involving residencies for practicing artists from Africa and development of digital and distance learning for African Languages,” said Dr. Brenda Chalfin, Professor and Director of the Center for African Studies.

The Center will also extend its impact across southeast U.S. community colleges and minority-serving institutions in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Likewise, in keeping with their Next Generation Innovation in African Studies: Building Knowledge and Opportunity for Impact initiative, their local and national K-12 outreach and teacher training programs will now provide multi-cultural perspectives on arts, literature, and social studies as well science and technology in Africa.

The award will allow CAS to continue to promote undergraduate involvement in African Studies through new opportunities for undergraduate research and experiential learning on campus and on the continent. This includes their highly successful research tutorial program that has facilitated UF undergraduate research in 10 African countries over the past four years.

Center for European Studies (CES) 

CES is an interdisciplinary area studies center focused on the study of Europe, and facilitating the training of scholars and experts in European studies in the United States. CES was created in 2003 and is a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence.

“The NRC/FLAS awards provide critical financial support allowing CES to continue to serve as a central resource for Europe related teaching and research across UF and in the broader community. These grants, following the recent European Union (EU) funded Jean Monnet Center of Excellence (JMCE) and Jean Monnet chair awards focused on supporting teaching and research on the EU, serve to broaden the scope of CES activities,” said Dr. Amie Kreppel, Professor and Director of the Center for European Studies.

Through the Title VI program, CES is able to support language training in lesser and least commonly taught languages at the graduate and undergraduate levels, create course development opportunities for faculty and advanced graduate students, organize academic conferences and public speakers on a wide array of Europe related topics and bring European culture, history and current events to the public in Gainesville, across Florida and even beyond. As CES celebrates its 15th anniversary, these awards help to underscore the important contributions of the Center's faculty, students, and staff to the broad mission of promoting teaching, research and outreach activities related to Europe.

The success of the proposal is a reflection of the effort that has gone into rebuilding the CES over the last few years and in particular the tremendous effort of CES staff and core faculty during the past 18 months.

“This success would also not have been possible without the ongoing support of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost and the UF Office of Research,” added Kreppel.

Center for Latin American Studies (LAS)

Created in 1931, the Center for Latin American Studies is the first research center in the United States to focus on Latin America and has been continuously funded through Title VI since 1962. The Center’s mission is to advance knowledge about Latin America and the Caribbean and its peoples throughout the Hemisphere, and to enhance the scope and quality of research, teaching, and outreach in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at the University of Florida. LAS’ grants are a reflection of the outstanding quality of Latin American Studies faculty and students across the University of Florida.

“With Title VI support, students in our undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs will enjoy increased international education and research opportunities through a new Research Tutorial Abroad program; greater access to new instructional resources and technology-enhanced area studies and language course offerings; enhanced academic and career advising; and expanded outreach activities on campus. Providing UF students from underrepresented groups with expanded area and language studies opportunities will contribute to preparing more and better-qualified LAS specialists in areas of national need,” said Dr. Philip Williams, Professor and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies.

To learn more about the Department of Education NRC programs https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/iegps/index.html 

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