Africa is becoming increasingly important on the global stage and for U.S. strategy. Africa is a continent of both tremendous opportunity and challenge. Africa is in the midst of an extended period of economic growth and renewed development of its human resource potential. It is also confronted by complex security challenges including: great power competition over natural resources, humanitarian crisis, transnational crime, insurgency and terrorism, piracy, ethnic conflict, infectious disease and environmental insecurity.

The establishment of USAFRICOM demonstrates the increasing significance of Africa to the U.S. Despite Africa’s growing importance, it still remains a “Dark Continent” for most Americans. The Africa AOS elective program will strip the veil from the continent and expose students to its rich and complex culture, emerging opportunities, and pressing security challenges.

The Africa Studies Group conducts a thorough and enlightening study of African regional, political, cultural and security issues.  Led by an interdepartmental cadre of internationally respected faculty actively engaged in current Africa field research and security cooperation initiatives, this study group provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of this important and complicated continent that includes wide extremes in both physical topography and human geography.

Additionally, Rhode Island has deep connections to Africa, from colonial times as a node in the triangular trade to a home for immigrants and refugees today, making Newport an ideal place to be engaged in African studies. RI and southeastern New England have vibrant African communities hailing from places including the Cape Verde Islands, Azores, Somalia, and Nigeria. RI and southeastern New England also boast one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the United States. Within a short drive of Newport, students will be able to enrich their education experience through access to African communities, cultural events, restaurants as well as a host of Africa-related academic activities.