In recognition of their extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four APLU member institutions have been selected as regional recipients of the 2021 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. As regional winners, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Virginia Tech will compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced during the APLU Virtual Annual Meeting in November.
UCLA’s Congo Basin Initiative (CBI) engages 12 academic units across seven divisions and schools to advance research and education engagement in the Congo Basin. Founded in 2015, CBI also serves as a regional nexus and innovation hub in Africa for interdisciplinary research and education, focused on developing solutions to critical issues facing the Congo Basin.
The initiative cocreates programs with African academic institutions and local communities, providing an equitable model to the historically extractive approach to scholarship in Africa. CBI works with farmers to develop agroforestry systems to reforest degraded land, increase food production using native species, and provide new sources of income. In response to a request from an indigenous community that the initiative has collaborated with for years, CBI worked with elders to develop a School for Local and Indigenous Knowledge to ensure their living knowledge of the rainforest is passed down to younger generations, and is used to protect the forest they have called home for millennia. Additionally, CBI research has advanced the state of knowledge on the region, producing 40 peer-review articles in the past five years.