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Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives

Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, Howard University

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza is Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at Howard University. Previously he was Associate Provost and the North Star Distinguished Professor at Case Western Reserve University (2021-2023), after serving as Vice Chancellor (President) and Professor of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the United States International University (USIU) in Kenya from 2016-2021. 

Prior to that he held distinguished academic and administrative positions as College Principal (Trent University, Canada), Director of the Center for African Studies (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Professor of History and African and African American Studies (Pennsylvania State University), Chair of the Department of African American Studies (University of Illinois at Chicago), Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (Loyola Marymount University), and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Quinnipiac University).

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 on the Administrative Board of the International Association of Universities, the Advisory Board of the Alliance for African Partnership, University of Ghana Council (Board of Trustees), 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. He is most proud of the $63.2 million grant from the Mastercard Foundation USIU received in 2020 to provide scholarships for 1,000 students from across Africa for ten years.

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 more than 400 journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, reviews, short stories, and online essays and authored or edited 28 books and five short monographs. He has received numerous awards from major universities and various organizations for his scholarship. Several of his books have won international awards. His forthcoming books include Re-envisioning African and American Universities (2024), and The Chronicles of African University Leaders (2024), a volume of reflections by former vice chancellors of some of Africa’s leading universities. He has published two collections of short stories and an acclaimed novel that is being turned into a movie.

Professor Zeleza earned his B.A. from the University of Malawi and an M.A from the University of London, where he studied African history and international relations. He holds his Ph.D. in economic history from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Howard University, U.S.A