Professor awarded fellowship to support transportation engineering in Africa

Contact: Liz VandenHeede
Dr. Valerian Kwigizile

Dr. Valerian Kwigizile, professor of civil and construction engineering

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Valerian Kwigizile, professor of civil and construction engineering at Western Michigan University, was awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) to travel to Tanzania to work with the Dar Es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT). This work will establish links between the two universities that will lead to teaching and research collaborations, including delivery of new transportation engineering courses through innovative modalities such as online content delivery.  

“My motivation to apply for the CADFP was centered around my desire to apply the knowledge and experience I have acquired here in the USA to help in the transformation of the African transportation sector,” says Kwigizile.  

Kwigizile will be teaming up with Dr. Jubily Musagasa, a transportation engineering faculty member at DIT. This collaboration will help increase the global presence of WMU and improve the training for the transportation engineering workforce in Africa through combining Kwigizile’s essential research and knowledge in curriculum development. 

“This project creates opportunities for me to be part of the ongoing process of reshaping academia in Africa to integrate research in teaching,” says Kwigizile.  

During this seven-week project, Kwigizile will travel to Tanzania to meet with faculty, students and potential employers. His unique perspective on Tanzania as a graduate from University of Dar Es Salaam, a neighboring university of DIT, will help drive the project. 

“With about 20 years of experience as a university faculty and researcher in the United States, I have accumulated enough experience to lead this project,” says Kwigizile. “I also strive to build collaborations with African higher learning institutions that will ultimately benefit both WMU and those other institutions.” 

The DIT project is one of 60 newly funded projects that pair African Diaspora scholars with higher education institutions and collaborators in Africa to work together on curriculum co-development, collaborative research, graduate training and mentoring activities in 2024. 

The CADFP, now in its tenth year, is designed to strengthen capacity at the host institutions and develop long-term, mutually beneficial collaborations among universities in Africa and the United States and Canada. It is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration the Association of African Universities. Nearly 650 African Diaspora Fellowships have now been awarded for scholars to travel to Africa since the program’s inception in 2013. 

Fellowships match host universities with African-born scholars and cover the expenses for project visits of between 14 and 90 days, including transportation, a daily stipend, and the cost of obtaining visas and health insurance. 

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