Regional Snapshot: Africa and MENA

In addition to maintaining a wide network of research partners and initiatives in conjunction with African and Middle Eastern partners, Pitt offers numerous opportunities for students and faculty to study or work abroad, learn languages, and focus on a global education no matter their area of study.

The University of Pittsburgh is pleased to announce exciting new partnerships and projects across the African continent including:

  • University Library Systems project focused on the digitization of slave records in collaboration with Cheikh Anta Diop University, the Museum of Black Civilizations, and Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves) in Dakar, Senegal.  Read the recent article about this collaboration. 
  • Cooperative agreement with St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya with a focus on education and research
  • MOU with Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya

Featured Partnerships

The University of Pittsburgh currently has approximately 15 agreements with partner institutions in Africa and the MENA region as of Fall 2022. Key partners in this region include:

Location: Accra, Ghana


University Lead: School for Health Sciences


Established in 1923 as a 200-bed capacity hospital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital is now the third largest hospital in Africa with 2,000 beds and is the leading national referral center in Ghana. Affiliated with the medical school of the University of Ghana, Korle Bu boasts three centers of excellence: the National Cardiothoracic Centre, National Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Radiotherapy Center.


Featured Program:

The University of Pittsburgh’s Sickle Cell Center of Excellence and Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI) are privileged to collaborate with Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on leading sickle cell disease (SCD) research. Led by the director of VMI, Dr. Solomon Fiifi Ofori-Acquah, Pitt and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital engage in strong collaboration with other prominent institutions on the African continent to advance truly world-class research.


Current research projects include:

Pulmonary complications in pregnancy in sickle cell disease (PUCS): The goal of this study is to define the role of edemagenic growth factors in the development of pulmonary complications, including acute chest syndrome (ACS) in pregnant women who have sickle cell disease. This study is being conducted in collaboration with a team of hematologists, obstetricians, pathologists and radiologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana and at Vanderbilt University. The study will establish a repository of postmortem lungs of cases of acute chest syndrome in pregnant women to facilitate histological changes associated with the condition.


Relative hypertension in sickle cell disease: The goal of this project is to define the prevalence of systemic hypertension in one of the largest adult sickle cell disease clinics in the world, at the Center for Clinical Genetics, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. This study is being conducted with a team of Hematologists, Community Physicians and Clinical Psychologists in Ghana, US and in UK. A major objective of this study is to prepare the site in Ghana to participate in multi-center clinical trials of new agents in sickle cell disease.


In 2017, Professor Ofori-Acquah led a team of hematologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, geneticists, pediatricians, and other leading scientists to secure a US$5.5 million dollar grant from the US National Institutes of Health. This impressive team of comprised of investigators from the University of Pittsburgh and nine African institutions has created some truly impactful work.

Location: Lagos, Nigeria


University Lead: Center for African Studies (CAS)


Established in 1983, Lagos State University (LASU) is a public university comprised of over 35,000 students across three major campuses in Ojo (main), Ikeja, and Epe. It is the only state university in Lagos State and was ranked among the top 600 universities in the world by in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2020. Times Higher Education ranked the LASU as the second-best university in Nigeria in 2020, and it was the only state university included in the rankings for 2022.


Its main campus in Ojo houses its many faculties including arts, education, law, management sciences, science and social sciences as well as the schools of transport and communication, and the centers for environment studies and sustainable development, general Nigerian studies, planning studies, information and communication technology, online and distance learning and research institute, and for entrepreneurial studies.


Active Formalized Agreements:

  • Memorandum of Understanding through the University Center for International Studies’ (UCIS) Center for African Studies
  • Consulting Agreement through the University Center for International Studies’ (UCIS) Center for African Studies


Featured Program: Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC)

Since 1994, the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC), located in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, has provided workforce development training in skills relevant to contemporary manufacturing employment. It was during a visit to this facility that Mr. Adeola Adetunji – a notable Pitt alumni and member of the Chancellor’s Global Advisory Council toured immediately recognized the tremendous potential for establishing a similar facility in Nigeria.


As a result of this vision and unwavering commitment, Pitt and LASU are working to establish a Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC) in Nigeria. The institutions will collaborate on research, share innovative ideas and teaching methods, organize events, and exchange students and faculty to create new opportunities for development. The MAC, which will train engineering students and graduates in different aspects of manufacturing, is already under construction on LASU’s Epe campus.


Over the next five years, Pitt faculty and staff will serve in an advisory capacity to the LASU MAC team, sharing the expertise that they gained during the creation of Pitt’s MAC. In return, they will have access to insightful new perspectives and knowledge from the LASU team, a cross-cultural exchange that will strengthen programming at both universities.


Click here to learn more about this exciting project.

Location: Eldoret, Kenya


University Lead: Ron Brand, Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Professor, Academic Director Center for International Legal Education (CILE) 


When first established in 1984, Moi University was the second public University in Kenya consisting of only 83 students. As of 2022, its current student population stands at approximately 50,000 across five campuses across Kenya.


Moi University now boasts fourteen schools including: Agriculture & Natural Resources, Arts & Social Sciences, Business & Economics, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Information Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Tourism, Hospitality & Events Management, and Science & Aerospace Studies.


Moi University prides itself on its Centers of Excellence which include Centre of East and South African-German Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methodologies and Management (CERM-ESA), Centre of Excellence in Phytochemicals, Textile and Renewable Energy (ACE II-PTRE), and Cluster Centre of Excellence in African Studies (ACC). Per the University’s website, they are also envisioning a Centre of Excellence in Aerospace Studies, Information Communication Technology and Arabic Studies.


Active Formalized Agreements:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through the School of Law
  • Collaborative trials for treatment of Sickle Cell Disease with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • An Institutional MOU is currently being drafted between Moi University and the University of Pittsburgh to include projects in the fields of nursing, computer & information science, education, social work, and law.


Featured Program:

In the fall of 1995, Pitt Law established its Center for International Legal Education (CILE) and Moi University in Kenya was preparing to establish its Faculty of Law. As the result of discussions initiated by then Pitt Law Dean Peter Shane as part of the ABA African Law Initiative, Professor John Burkoff traveled to Eldoret, Kenya, to work with the Moi University faculty and administrative staff tasked with opening Moi University’s law school. The relationship that developed included plans to bring Moi’s top law graduates to Pitt Law for the LLM Program for Foreign Law Graduates. The first graduating class of the Moi University Faculty of Law finished in the summer of 2000 and, thought slowed by the pandemic in 2020, exceptional scholars continue to benefit from this exciting exchange opportunity.


The Pitt-Moi partnership demonstrates both institutions’ commitment to global learning, allowing students to educate themselves internationally so that they are able to return to their home countries ready to make a difference. This program also sets the standard for a continuing CILE-alumni relationship that extends the educational process, personal and professional relationships, and academic cooperation far beyond a student’s graduation.

Location: Arusha, Tanzania


University Lead: PittGEO


The Pitt in Tanzania program created by the Center for African Studies (CAS) in collaboration with the Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL) Center, is designed to offer integrated and comprehensive training in the Swahili language and interdisciplinary hands-on experiences of the culture, history, geography, politics, development, and social and economic realities of the East African region. The six-week seminar is funded by the US Department of Education through the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) programs.


Pitt in Tanzania is hosted by the MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC), a renowned Pan-African training center situated in Arusha, Tanzania. For more than 50 years, MS TCDC has delivered high quality capacity development in areas such as: democratic governance, human rights, transformational leadership, gender equality, youth participation and climate change governance. In addition to programs in Arusha, additional activities in Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, and Nairobi, Kenya are expected.


This exciting program will 1) enhance participants’ language proficiency of the most widely spoken African language, Swahili, and its culture through classroom instruction and immersion activities, 2) formulate a broader understanding of the East African historical/political/cultural context through encountering places and peoples firsthand, and 3) gain global perspectives by experiencing the language, culture, and society through building cross-cultural relationships.

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
University Lead: Global Studies Center (GSC)


Administered by the Global Studies Center with support from the Provost's Office, the PiNTS network convenes diverse local and national partner organizations to bring threatened scholars, artists, and practitioners to Pitt and to Pittsburgh. The program aims to provide scholars with safe and stable working and living environments as a way of helping them to regain their footing, rebuild their professional networks, and reset their careers.


By leveraging the Provost's funding with GSC endowment monies and partnerships with national organizations like the Artist Protection Fund and the Scholar Rescue Fund, PiNTS provides its visitors with salaries, benefits, visa and other legal assistance, and help acclimating to University and local life. Through membership of the New University in Exile Consortium, PiNTS provides scholars with intellectual and professional development opportunities and a network for engagement with similarly situated colleagues around the world. Scholars work with Pitt faculty and students – as teachers, interlocutors, and colleagues – and contribute to the rich intellectual life of the University.


Past scholars include a political scientist from Turkey, a Vietnamese rock star and free speech activist, a Congolese documentary filmmaker, and a Cuban dissident couple (a writer and a women’s rights activist). PiNTS also has emergency efforts underway to assist scholars displaced as a result of the changing political situation in Afghanistan.