Unequal Partners reviewed by Liz Daly’s Culture Digest

Elizabeth Rose Daly, former director of International Business in the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, joined us at the book talk about Unequal Partners organized at the Albertine Bookstore in New York.
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[video] Book talk about Unequal Partners at Albertine Bookstore

On Wednesday, November 30, I presented Unequal Partners: American Foundations and Higher Education Development in Africa with NYU professor of higher education Teboho Moja. We discussed how new philanthropic trends are emerging, and examined the conditions under which philanthropy can be effective, the impasses that foundations often face, and the updated contexts in which philanthropy operates. Continue reading

Talking Policy: Fabrice Jaumont on Higher Education in Africa

I was recently interviewed for the World Policy Journal regarding my new book, Unequal Partners: American Foundations & Higher Education Development in Africa. and the role of American philanthropic foundations in shaping university education in sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading

Unequal Partners book launch at Carnegie Corporation of New York

I launched my new book Unequal Partners: American Foundations and Higher Education Development in Africa (Palgrave Macmillan., 170 pp., ISBN 978–1–137–59347–4) at Carnegie Corporation of New York. President Vartan Gregorian, who also wrote the preface, introduced the book and myself during a beautiful reception.

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Marybeth Gasman, University of Pennsylvania, endorses Unequal Partners: American Foundations and Higher Education Development in Africa

Fabrice Jaumont has written a book that needed to be written decades ago. Unequal Partners: American Foundations and Higher Education Development in Africa tells the complicated story of how philanthropy has shaped higher education, in both positive and negative ways. Although the “great” philanthropists have been lauded in many books for decades, recent scholarship has challenged their benevolence and that of their foundations. Jaumont provides a fair portrayal of major foundation players in African higher education—those with a long track record and those that have just started to play a role. Rather than present these foundations as saviors that uplift higher education on the continent, Jaumont presents a nuanced view, detailing the profound impact as well as the “unequal” relationships that result when one of the partners has more resources and the other is in need of resources. Of note, the discussions and themes featured in the book are useful to those studying and working with foundations in the USA as well as in Africa. Interestingly, many of the interventions in Africa are similar to those in urban and minority communities in the USA. Overall, Unequal Partners is beautifully written, succinctly and effectively argued, and timely.

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“Measuring the Influence of Language on Grant- Making by U.S. Foundations in Africa” – An Article for Reconsidering Development

I contributed an article with Jack Klempay in Reconsidering Development, an international, open access, and peer reviewed e-journal that aims to create an equitable space for dialogue and discussion concerning the theory and practice of international development (published by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing). Continue reading

Private Foundations and the Perils of Education Development

Issues around the impact of donor funding on education reform have resurfaced both in the local and global arenas. A recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times [1] questioned the role of foundations and philanthropists in U.S. public education, highlighting the Gates Foundation’s debatable “failures” to accomplish concrete results. On her well-followed blog, Diane Ravitch even called the funding choices of Bill Gates, Eli Broad or the Walton Family “unwise” and “undemocratic” [2]. This debate is hardly new as major newspapers [3]  have regularly underscored the negative impact of major private donors’ gifts on the United States’ secondary school system, particularly during the dire economic climate which left schools facing abysmal budget cuts. Continue reading

Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York, endorses Unequal Partners: American Foundations and Higher Education Development in Africa

Fabrice Jaumont’s study is a welcome addition to the still small but growing corpus of research on American philanthropy in Africa, a sector that has yet to be fully analyzed or understood.

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The influence of U.S. foundations in Africa and the reinforced dominance of English

The discourse on priorities in African higher education is placed in a contested terrain, where grantors and grantees not only negotiate one another’s perspectives but also contend with inhospitable national contexts. In certain African countries, governments do not necessarily encourage the development of universities or international donors who are not overtly cooperative. Much to their credit, U.S. foundations have helped universities become self-sustainable and less dependent on government funding. They also succeeded in raising awareness about higher education in Africa as a sector worthy of financial support, thus making the case for Africa’s universities in national and international contexts. However, these foundations did not engage sufficiently with non-English speaking institutions, even when this was important to generate more equity and sustainability on the very sector that they sought to promote. Continue reading

Language and U.S. Philanthropy in Africa

The mechanisms of international philanthropy and foreign investment are extremely complex. Africa’s ecology of donors is composed of numerous international agencies, development funds, international foundations, and pan-African organizations that allocate their funds based on a number of environmental and institutional factors. These funds, however, are limited, and grantees oftentimes find themselves competing for resources. Donors thus wield a huge amount of power, shaping the development of the continent through their grant-making practices. This unbalanced relationship between grantors and grantees does not go by unnoticed, and American foundations are often criticized for enforcing a pro-Western agenda as they unilaterally set development goals and priorities. Meanwhile, recent literature on African higher education suggests that African scholars are calling for more ownership in the inception and implementation of programs so as to serve the cause of African development, not Westernization. Continue reading