MIT-Africa Distinguished Visitors Program

The Office of the Associate Provost for International Activities and the MIT Africa Faculty Steering Committee have announced the launch of the MIT-Africa Distinguished Visitors Program. Starting in spring 2022, MIT will host leading African visitors on the MIT campus to forge new connections between the MIT research community and its counterparts across the African continent. These visits will feature keynote lectures delivered to the MIT community. They will also provide other opportunities for engagement with faculty, staff, and students across the Institute’s departments, laboratories, and centers. The program’s goal is to spark new collaborations and to help lay the foundations for new research initiatives between MIT and African collaborators. In addition, the program seeks to strengthen the MIT-wide community of faculty, staff, and students whose work is motivated and informed by challenges, problems, and opportunities of particular significance to African societies. The Distinguished Visitors Program reflects the interest of MIT’s faculty, students, and administration to invigorate our intellectual engagement with leading scholars, practitioners, public figures, artists, and innovators from across the African continent.

Distinguished Visitor

Dr. Mohamed Hassan – President, The World Academy of Sciences

Sustainability for Africa: The role of forefront scientific and technological innovation in achieving sustainable development on the African continent

Date: March 16 – 18, 2022

Dr. Hassan will highlight the sustainability challenges that African countries face in their efforts to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Click here for more information.

MIT-Africa Seed Fund

In association with the MIT Africa Distinguished Visitors Program, the Office of the Associate Provost for International Activities is pleased to announce a call for proposals from MIT Principal Investigators to support innovative projects that will help to lay the foundations for new research and education initiatives between MIT and African collaborators. 

Interested Principal Investigators from all schools, departments, labs, and centers across MIT are encouraged to submit proposals in the following categories:

1. Projects in all research areas that will contribute to addressing a specific challenge in Africa or shared by African colleagues. These can be the beginning explorations of larger research projects, they can be entirely self-contained research projects, or they can be planning exercises that result in a more well-articulated and larger-scale research proposal.

2. Other non-research activities that promote engagement and collaboration in topics and activities that may involve Africa, such as developing a course, masterclass, or hackathon, strengthening the innovation/entrepreneurship ecosystem, etc.

Funding may be used for, but is not limited to:

  • travel & meeting costs to facilitate collaboration in Africa
  • MIT salaries (e.g. faculty summer months, RAs, postdocs, etc.)
  • materials & supplies
  • services
  • equipment
  • indirect costs

Funding may not be used for salaries for foreign collaborators.

The maximum award is $35,000.

Projects developed in consultation with visitors of the MIT-Africa Distinguished Visitors Program or inspired by these visits are of particular interest to this funding mechanism.

The MIT-Africa Seed Fund is administered by MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). To apply for the fund visit the MISTI site here.

MIT-Africa Faculty Steering Committee

Gabriella Y. Carolini – committee co-chair
Associate Professor of International Development and Urban Planning
MIT School of Architecture and Planning

Elfatih A.B. Eltahir – committee co-chair
Breene M. Kerr Professor (1951)
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
MIT School of Engineering

Munther Dahleh
William A. Coolidge Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Director, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing

M. Amah Edoh
Homer A. Burnell Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African Studies
MIT School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Anjali Sastry
Senior Lecturer, System Dynamics
MIT Sloan School of Management

Past Events

To mark the launch of the new MIT Africa Distinguished Visitors Program, the Office of the Associate Provost for International Activities and the MIT Africa faculty steering committee hosted an online panel discussion which featured leading voices from the African continent and the African diaspora who are engaged in critical public discourses around race and reform across diverse African contexts and different media.

To read more click here.