Train: Global Spotlight

2010 Grants Program

Listed below are recipients of the 2010 Global Spotlight grants for international scholarly activities. This program supported targeted research and other scholarly initiatives related to the spotlight areas for 2009-2010: Africa and Water in the World. More than $1,245,000 was awarded to University of Minnesota faculty and graduate students through four grant programs that fund innovative research and support the continued development of a global network of engagement and scholarship across the university.

Major International Research Grants with a Focus on Africa or Water

The purpose of these grants is to promote the establishment of major international research and creative activity initiatives with global visibility. Grants are funded at a level that will provide substantial opportunity for initiation of a major, long-term research program. Awards ranged from $125,000 to $250,000.

Divergent Migrations: Somali Experiences in South Africa, America, and the United Arab Emirates

Principal Investigator: Cawo Abdi, Assistant Professor Sociology, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities campus

This is a two-phase research project on African migrations. The first phase is a comparative study on the migration experiences of Somalis in South Africa, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. The aim is to compare these three contexts’ immigration policies, including the regulation of immigration as well as the conditions of reception. The study pursues core theoretical questions that further our understanding of migration, globalization, and identity formations in different regions. The second phase of the project involves a collaborative and comparative migration agenda in post-apartheid South Africa with an interdisciplinary team from the sociology and political science departments at the University of Pretoria. Publications resulting from these collaborations aim to contribute to a better appreciation of the diverse dynamic African migration streams to South Africa as well as emerging migration trends within Africa.

Linking the Past, Present, and Future: Ecosystem Change in Lake Malawi

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Guilford, Assistant Professor, Biology
Large Lakes Observatory, Duluth campus

The African Great Lake Malawi is a critical but environmentally threatened source of clean water, fish, and commerce to Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. It is also internationally recognized for its remarkable biodiversity and long record of climate history recently recovered from its sediments. This project will quantify and model key biogeochemical processes that control the productivity of Lake Malawi and assess their sensitivity to changing climate and land use. Joint research will be conducted with the Malawi Fisheries laboratory during three lake-wide cruises where researchers will employ state of the art fluorescence technology, thermister arrays, sediment traps, isotopes, and molecular probes to investigate the pathways and fate of productivity. Seasonal studies, coring, and experimental primary productivity research will be conducted using smaller vessels.

A Comprehensive Program to Reduce Default from HIV Therapy in Rural Ethiopia

Principal Investigator: Alan R. Lifson, Professor Epidemiology and Community Health
School of Public Health, Twin Cities

Of all Ethiopian patients initiating HIV care, at least one-quarter die due to lack of follow-up care within the first year, similar to experiences of other African countries, and others return only after their HIV illness is so advanced that immune reconstitution is impossible. Based on Dr. Lifson’s preliminary evaluations in Ethiopia concerning reasons for treatment default, this project will implement and evaluate an intervention consisting of three components: community adherence support workers, nutritional counseling and micronutrient vitamin/mineral supplementation, and adherence support groups of HIV-positive persons.

Ecology of Cryptococcus neoformans in Sub-Saharan Africa

Principal Investigators: Kirsten Nielsen, Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Medical School, Twin Cities campus
Joseph F. Knight, Assistant Professor, Forest Resources, CFANS, Twin Cities campus

Cryptococcosis, a fungal meningitis resulting from Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) infection, kills more than 600,000 people per year in sub-Saharan Africa—the third largest cause of disease-related mortality in Africa. At particular risk are immunocompromised individuals such as those with AIDS. While the prevalence and death rate of cryptococcosis are high, this disease is poorly understood. Both the environmental reservoir of the fungus and the mechanism(s) by which it is transmitted from the environment to humans are unknown. This lack of information is a critical impediment to efforts to reduce the rates of Cn infections and subsequent deaths due to cryptococcosis. The proposed research has three aims: identify the environmental reservoir(s) of Cn in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania; spatiotemporally model Cn prevalence in the study area; and determine risk factors from known cases of cryptococcosis through genotype comparisons. This interdisciplinary research will provide the foundation for patient treatment strategies aimed at reducing cryptococcosis by instituting barriers between patients and high-risk environments.

International Collaborative Seed Grants with a Focus on Africa or Water

These grants support innovative project-based scholarly research and creative production of an international nature with a focus on Africa or Water in the World. Grants for up to $30,000 support semester- to year-long initiatives that include faculty from the University of Minnesota and at least one scholar from institutions outside of the United States.

Khat Research Program

Principal Investigator: Mustafa Al’ Absi, Professor Behavioral Sciences
Medical School, Duluth campus

Prevelance and Molecular Characterization of Cryptosporidia, Giardia, and Leptospira in Surface Waters

Principal Investigator: Paul Allwood, Assistant Professor Environmental Health Science
School of Public Health, Twin Cities campus

Out of Africa: Postcolonial Movements of Peoples and Ideas

Principal Investigator: Fernando Arenas, Associate Professor Spanish and Portuguese Studies
College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities campus

Global Great Lakes: Enhancing Utilization of Lake Victoria Fisheries Information for Decision Support

Principal Investigator: Robert Hecky, Professor
Large Lakes Observatory, Duluth campus

Watery Data: Bridge the Gap Between Science and Policy

Principal Investigator: Qiuqiong Huang, Assistant Professor Applied Economics
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, Twin Cities campus

Struggling for Water: Dams, Pipes, and Urban-Rural Transformations in the Global South

Principal Investigator: Allen Issacman, Regents Professor of History
Director, ICGC, Twin Cities campus

Methane in Lake Kivu: Towards a Safe and Environmentally Responsible Use of a Unique Geoenergy Resource

Principal Investigator: Sergei Kastev, Assistant Professor
Large Lakes Observatory, Duluth campus

Does Fetching Water and Firewood Reduce Children’s Educational Success in Tanzania?

Principal Investigator: Deborah Levison, Professor
Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Twin Cities campus

The Cultural Politics of Pedagogy and Development in Tanzania

Principal Investigator: Frances Vavrus, Assoc. Professor, Organizational Leadership, Policy & Development
College of Education and Human Development, Twin Cities campus

Doctoral Fellowships for International Research with a Focus on Africa or Water

These fellowships support current University of Minnesota doctoral students pursuing international research projects that focus on either of the Global Spotlight areas: Africa or Water in the World. The fellowship provides support to students conducting international dissertation research on a full-time basis.

After Atrocity: Community Reconciliation in Northern Uganda

Shannon Golden, Sociology
College of Liberal Arts

Factors Associated with Partnership Experiences, Attitudes, and Perceptions: A Comparative Case Study of Two African Universities

Chiteng Kot; Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development
College of Education and Human Development

The Construction of Home in Maputo, Mozambique, 1940-1992

David Morton, History
College of Liberal Arts

Saving Africa’s Wild Herbivores: A Case Study of Serengeti Giraffes

Megan Strauss; Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior
College of Biological Sciences

International Pre-Dissertation and Small Grants Competition for Doctoral Students

These grants support current University of Minnesota doctoral students pursuing a program of study with an interdisciplinary and international focus. Grants of up to $15,000 are intended to support short-term activities that enhance the scholarly project and/or professional preparation of the student. Grant proposals focusing on OIP’s spotlight areas of Africa or Water in the World with an international theme were given priority.

Language, Gender, and Religion in Moroccan “Untranslations” of North Africa

Greta Bliss, Department of French & Italian
College of Liberal Arts

Street Food Safety: Developing a Social Network Model for Food Borne Illness Disease Surveillance

Farhiya Farah, Environmental Health
School of Public Health

Navigating Pacific Identities through Sport: A Comparison of Water-Based and Land-Based Physical Activity Approaches to Health and International Development in Samoa and American Somoa

Christina Kwauk; Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development
College of Education and Human Development

Community-Based Intercultural Theatre in Rural South Africa

Elliot Leffler, Theatre
College of Liberal Arts

Impact of Cage Culture on the Endemic Fish Community of Lake Malawi

Messias Macuiane, Water Resources Science
Large Lakes Observatory, Duluth campus

Constructing Gorongosa: The Impact of Imagination on Environmental Change

Kathleen McKeown, History
College of Liberal Arts

Livestock Theft in South Africa: Examining Causes and Mitigation Strategies through Economic Experiments

Clint Pecenka, Applied Economics
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences

Represent Africa with a Spectacular Street Vernacular: M.anifest and the Diasporic Currents of Transnational Hip-Hop

Justin Schell, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature
College of Liberal Arts

Studying Predator Coexistence in Serengeti National Park

Alexandra Swanson, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
College of Biological Sciences

Teachers as Political Tools in Tanzania

Matthew Thomas, Comparative and International Development Education
College of Education and Human Development