Paul Tiyambe Zeleza is Vice Chancellor and Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, a position he assumed on January 1, 2016. He was installed as the university’s second Vice Chancellor on Thursday, April 7, 2016.
Prior to joining USI-Africa, he was Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of History at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, USA. Previously he was Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and the President’s Professor of History and African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He also served as head of the Department of African American Studies and the Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, taught at the Pennsylvania State University, and was Director of the Center for African Studies and Professor of History and African Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to the United States in 1995, he was College Principal and Professor of History and Development Studies at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. Earlier he worked at the University of Malawi, University of the West Indies, and Kenyatta University. In 2006 he was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In Fall 2015, he was a fellow at Harvard University.
In the early 2000s he worked as a consultant for the Ford and MacArthur foundations on their initiatives to revitalize higher education in Africa and as an adviser to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development for a project on Policy Report on Gender and Development: 10 Years after Beijing. 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 200 African born academics in the United States and Canada to work with dozens of universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. He is a past president of the U.S. African Studies Association (2008-2009). He has raised millions of dollars in personal research projects and for institutional development.
In July 2013, he was recognized in The New York Times as one of 43 Great Immigrants in the United States. In March 2015, he was commissioned to produce the Framing Paper for the 1st African Higher Education Summit: Revitalizing Higher Education for Africa’s Future, held in Dakar, Senegal. In May 2015, he was awarded Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by Dalhousie University.
In November 2016, Prof. Zeleza was elected as a Deputy Board Member for the Africa region, of the International Association of Universities.
Professor Zeleza earned his B.A. with Distinction 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.
Professor Zeleza’s academic work has crossed traditional boundaries, ranging from economic and intellectual history to human rights, gender studies, and diaspora studies. He has published more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, reviews, short stories and online essays and authored or edited 27 books, several of which have won international awards including Africa’s most prestigious book prize, the Noma Award, for his books A Modern Economic History of Africa (1993) and Manufacturing African Studies and Crises (1997). His most recent books include In Search of African Diasporas: Testimonies and Encounters (2012), Africa’s Resurgence: Domestic, Global and Diaspora Transformations (2014), and The Transformations of Global Higher Education (2016).
He has presented nearly 250 keynote addresses, papers, and public lectures at leading universities and international conferences in 31 countries and served on the editorial boards of more than two dozen journals and book series and edited a personal online magazine, The Zeleza Post, from 2004-2012.