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Greetings and Gratitude: 2021 December Letter from CAS Director

Friday, December 17, 2021

End of year letter from CAS Director, Leonardo Arriola

Greetings and Gratitude

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Center for African Studies, I extend our warmest wishes for health and happiness over the holiday season. Even as we have all continued to endure the challenges of the pandemic over the past year, we remain grateful for your support of our many activities. As you know, the Center has remained active through several online and collaborative events, including:

  • Awarding 23 scholarships to students from African countries to earn their degrees at Berkeley through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. We funded 8 of those Scholars to undertake special COVID-related give-back projects in their communities and another 4 alumni in social entrepreneurship ventures.
  • Awarding 15 research grants, 12 language study fellowships, and a best undergraduate thesis prize to Berkeley students whose research focuses on Africa.
  • Convening our regular Africa Matters Seminar Series with 15 online sessions over the spring and fall semesters featuring research presentations and new book talks.
  • Organizing two conferences with the West African Research Association and Sports Africa.
  • Hosting monthly research workshops for Africanist faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students across the UC campuses.
  • Supporting outreach efforts and curriculum development for K-14 teachers with the History-Social Science Project, ORIAS and the African Studies Association Outreach Council.

One of the special highlights of the past year was in having Martha Saavedra, our Associate Director, recognized by the African Studies Association with their Outstanding Service Award for her many contributions to Africa-focused education at Berkeley, nationally, and worldwide. We are lucky to have her as a core member of our Africanist community!

We will have more to come in the spring. Stay up to date via our weekly newsletter, our online calendar and our news features. If you would like to support our work, please consider making a gift to the Center for African Studies. Your tax-deductible donations will allow us to expand our programming for student services and research support.

My colleagues and I thank you for your generosity and support. And I welcome your suggestions for how we can continue working together to expand Berkeley’s engagement with Africa. Please feel free to contact me directly at

With best wishes for the holidays and the new year,

Leonardo R. Arriola
Director, Center for African Studies

Word cloud of Peace and Happy New Year's in several African languages inside shape of African continent