24 - 26 August 2022

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza ​

Associate Provost and North Star Distinguished Professor at Case Western Reserve University, a leading American research university.

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza currently serves as Associate Provost and North Star Distinguished Professor at Case Western Reserve University, a leading American research university. His immediate past appointment was at the United States International University-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya as Vice Chancellor (President) and Professor of the Social Sciences and Humanities.

Prior to that he held distinguished academic and administrative positions in Canada as Professor of History and College Principal at Trent University, Professor of African Studies and History and Center Director at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Professor of History and African and African American Studies and Social Sciences Research Professor at Pennsylvania State University, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor and Department Chair at the University of Illinois at Chicago, President’s Professor and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University, and Academic Vice President at Quinnipiac University.

Altogether, he has been at a dozen universities in six countries on three continents and the Caribbean region. He received his bachelor’s degree (with distinction) at the University of Malawi, master’s at the University of London in Britain, and PhD at Dalhousie University in Canada.

In the early 2000s he worked as a consultant for the Ford and MacArthur foundations on their initiatives to revitalize higher education in Africa. His research project on the African academic diaspora conducted for the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2011-12 led to the establishment of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program in 2013 that has to date sponsored nearly 500 African born academics in the United States and Canada to work with dozens of universities in six African countries.

He has published more than 400 journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, reviews, short stories, and online essays and authored or edited 27 books and five short monographs. Several of his books have won international awards including the 1994 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa for A Modern Economic History of Africa, Vol I: The Nineteenth Century (1993). His most recent book is Africa and the Disruptions of the 21st Century (2021). He is currently editing a volume of reflections by former vice chancellors of some of Africa’s leading universities titled, The Chronicles of African University Leaders.

An interdisciplinary scholar, his work covers the fields of African economic history, development studies, intellectual history, diaspora studies, gender studies, human rights studies, cultural studies, and literary studies. He has published two collections of short stories and an acclaimed novel.

A much sought-after speaker, he has presented nearly 300 keynote addresses, papers, and public lectures at leading universities and international conferences in 32 countries. He has also served on the editorial boards of more than two dozen journals and book series. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Bibliographies Online in African Studies.

He has received numerous awards from major universities for his scholarship. In July 2013, he was recognized in The New York Times as one of 43 Great Immigrants in the United States. In May 2015 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws at Dalhousie University for outstanding personal achievement. In 2015 he was a fellow at Harvard University during which he wrote The Transformation of Global Higher Education, 1945-2015 (2016). Recently, he was awarded the W.E.B. Dubois Fellowship at Harvard to work on a book manuscript titled, The Long Transition to the 21st Century: A Global History of the Present.

He has held the positions of Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town since 2006 and at the Nelson Mandela University since 2019. He has served in more than two dozen international and national associations, most recently as a member of the Administrative Board of the International Association of Universities, the Advisory Board of the Alliance for African Partnership, University of Ghana Council, Chair of the Advisory Council of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Kenya Education Network. In 2008-2009, he served as President of the U.S. African Studies Association. He has raised tens of millions of dollars for institutional advancement and personal research.