Award for Global Engagement

2007 Recipient

Allen Isaacman

Dr. Allen Isaacman, Regents Professor of History, is an accomplished and internationally recognized scholar, teacher, and leader. He is the founder of the African History program at the University and the co-founder of the MacArthur Interdisciplinary Program on Global Change, Sustainability and Justice—an exceptionally successful and innovative interdisciplinary program in international studies.

He was one of a small group of faculty that launched the MacArthur Program in 1988 and has served as the director since its inception. Now in its nineteenth year, the McArthur Program has thrived under Professor Isaacman's leadership. The central aim of the program is to integrate graduate students and faculty who share common interests and commitments concerning the developing world into an interdisciplinary community of study, discussion, and research. The MacArthur program expanded in the late 1990s to become the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC), which now involves more than 60 faculty from across six collegiate units. More than 300 graduate students have been financially supported by and involved in the interdisciplinary curriculum of ICGC/MacArthur. Professor Isaacman continues to be engaged in the careers of these students.

A leader in global outreach who has had a lasting impact on the field of African studies, Professor Isaacman was co-editor of two influential book series in the field of African History—the Heinemann Social History of Africa Series and the New African Histories Series of Ohio State Press. He is now making a new contribution through his leadership of the Aluka Project, which is creating a digital library of documents on the struggles for political change in Southern Africa.

His leadership extends to Africa where he has played a key role in strengthening institutional capacity in southern Africa. Because of his reputation as a scholar and his commitment to Southern Africa, he was invited by the newly independent government of Mozambique to be the first professor of Mozambican history at the national university, University Eduardo Mondlane.

Professor Isaacman has been central to building the University as a global university. He was the co-chair of the Forging an International University task force in 2005-06, followed by his appointment as assistant vice president for international scholarship. The University of Minnesota has honored Professor Isaacman with many awards, including the Regents Professorship—the highest recognition for faculty excellence—and induction into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He has served as adviser for a large number of graduate students in African history, many of whom now occupy positions at important universities worldwide.