International Studies & Programs

African Studies Center names new director

Zulu to continue to lead ASC

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Published: Wednesday, 22 May 2024 Author: Beth Brauer

Leo Zulu is the new director for the African Studies Center at MSU.

Michigan State University International Studies and Programs is pleased to announce Leo C. Zulu as the director of the African Studies Center (ASC) at MSU. Zulu has served the center as interim director since September 2022. 

Founded in 1960, MSU’s globally renowned African Studies Center advances knowledge of Africa's diverse cultures, languages, challenges and opportunities through research, scholarly engagement, student training and support, and community engagement. The center has consistently earned the prestigious designation as a National Resource Center by the U.S. Department of Education.  

“As we celebrate the 65 years of the African Studies Center and MSU's engagement with Africa, I am honored to build upon the legacy of my predecessors and advance our mission into the future,” said Zulu. “My priorities include strengthening faculty support, fostering cross-university collaborations with a comprehensive Africa@MSU approach, and facilitating transregional studies and partnerships with Africa and other global regions.” 

Zulu is associate professor of geography, environment and spatial sciences in Michigan State’s College of Social Science, and has been a core faculty member of ASC for 15 years. His experience as a human geographer positions him to engage further with faculty and students in cross-disciplinary research. Zulu’s research includes environmental governance and natural resources management, energy access and sustainability, water, food security, climate change adaption, gender and inclusion in sustainable agriculture intensification, public health, and rural livelihoods and development in southern, eastern and western Africa. 

As ASC director, Zulu will be responsible for developing strategic partnerships and increasing Africa-related engagement and curriculum content at MSU, enhancing African language instruction, strengthening connections with African alumni, catalyzing interdisciplinary research, expanding external funding, and representing the ASC in the U.S. and internationally. 

“MSU is fortunate to have Dr. Zulu’s steady leadership in the African Studies Center. His vast knowledge about critical issues affecting multiple regions in Africa coupled with his experience building partnerships and participating in collaborative research grants is critical to the center’s continued success,” said Steven Hanson, vice provost and dean for International Studies and Programs.