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Take a look at Ohio University in Africa: A Historical Look

Mimi Calhoun
February 2, 2023
Banner image with details about the OU in Africa exhibit, as described below.

A new exhibit dedicated to the history of the University and Africa is now on display on the first floor of Alden Libraries’ Center for International Collections for patrons to view until June 30. Items, such as photographs, news clippings  and other primary sources from the Libraries’ Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections’ physical and digital collections will be showcased. 

Ohio University Libraries, one of the strongest research-level African studies collections in the state of Ohio, has been home to a large contingent of African students enrolled in a various range of programs for several decades. With a long-standing connection between the University and the continent of Africa, the exhibit, “Ohio University in Africa: A Historical Look,” presents that history to viewers through various materials to give a deeper understanding and new perspective.

“The genesis of the [Africana] collection is attributed to the University’s significant interests and engagements concerning Africa starting from the late 1950s,” explained Araba Dawson-Andoh, subject librarian for African studies and the social sciences, in an email about some specific materials, in particular, about OHIO’s first international project.

"The first overseas contract from the United States government [was] in 1957 to provide technical advice and assistance in the development of a higher-education infrastructure and teacher training programs in Nigeria,” wrote Dawson-Andoh. “Also in Nigeria is a training program for radio and television personnel by the Ohio University School of Telecommunications … [from] the 1980s. Other education development projects in African countries include Liberia, Cameroon, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.”

Since 1964, African studies has been a program at OHIO and other faculty have been studying Africa in a wide range of disciplinary areas. The exhibit’s purpose is to bring awareness to the Libraries' extensive Africana Collection that is available for student and faculty research and teaching. With over 15,000 Africa-related volumes, the collection focuses on West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa and aims to provide scholarly resources about the continent of Africa, its people and languages.

For more information, contact Araba Dawson-Andoh at