Research and Policy Initiatives

Research and Policy Initiatives

As part of its mission, AADS and its faculty are involved in research projects and policy initiatives related to Africa and the African Diaspora.

“Tourism and Pro-Poor Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.” 

This initiative has been supported by a number of activities beginning with an international conference hosted in April 2013 titled “Tourism and Pro-Poor Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Arica and the Caribbean” followed by a follow-up conference in February 20-15 titled “Roots/Heritage Tourism in African and the African Diaspora: Case Studies for a Comparative Approach. The initiative is also supported by number of lectures by specially invited experts. The initiative incorporates a a student training component in Senegal and The Gambia, through our study abroad program “Senegal & The Gambia: Traditions, Globalization, and Tourism in West Africa” that engages with and examines the still growing importance of the tourism industry in the economy of both countries. The initiative builds upon a partnership developed and being developed between Florida International University (FIU) and the University of the West Indiesbuilding on the expertise of tourism studies specialists at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and taking advantage of FIU’s relations with the University of the Gambia.

Re-mapping Racial Geographies: Globalization, Migration, and the transformation of Black Subjectivities in South Florida.

AADS is now engaged in collaborative preparatory work with FIU’s Metropolitan Center and the Center for Labor Research and Studies in efforts to examine effect of globalization and migration on South Florida through a focus on African-Americans and African descended immigrants. We see South Florida as a newly emerging globalized urban landscape. The project will ethnographically map the processes of “cross cultural” fertilizations, identity reconfiguration, demographic changes including changes in black residential patterns, socio-economic changes, changes in political attitudes, and changes in overall life conditions across the various sub-groupings that constitute black presences in South Florida. We argue that migration and globalization are challenging the traditions of national formation, identity formation, political orientations, and economic realities in the United States. These processes of change are particularly evident in Miami-Dade and Broward that we consider to be racial, cultural and transnational borderlands. We seek to understand the socioeconomic and geospatial materialities producing these transformations in American reality and ways of being We see South Florida as a particular case of a general pattern of reformulation produced by the impact of globalization and migration.

Pan-Caribbean Dialogues on HIV/AIDS

As part iof a collaborative relationship with the University o9f the West Indies, AADS is engaged in a project titled , Pan-Caribbean Dialogues on HIV/AIDS. This interdisciplinary project is to brings together scholars and researchers from the Caribbean Region and FIU to discuss the current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region, identify gaps in services, and form working groups to address the social determinants of health that lead to health disparities for a range of vulnerable populations. Of particular and critical importance are issues related to access to care and the sociocultural production of stigma encountered by vulnerable populations. The aims of the project are to develop strategies that can overcome barriers that negatively affect the pipeline of care for vulnerable populations, to address sociocultural and political-economic factors that contribute to health disparities, and to identify effective strategies to improve HIV prevention approaches and technologies in the Caribbean (including, for example, pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP). We propose a particular focus on vulnerable populations to be targeted by a larger project. We have identified, preliminarily, the following: Men who have sex with men (MSM), children and adolescents born with HIV infection, sex workers, tourism employees, persons who are displaced and homeless, and intravenous drug users (IDUs). Involving key institutional linkages between US-based and Caribbean-based academic and community-based institutions, we intend to be a facilitate discussion, research, and scholarly engagement around the evolving HIV/AIDS epidemic within Anglophone and Hispanophone Caribbean countries. The general objective of the project is to provide a space for collaboration and for exploration of new paradigms that can be the bases for new strategies in the fight against and/or the amelioration of risk factors for HIV/AIDS within the Spanish and English speaking countries of the Caribbean. Initially, we see the key geographic sites for a broader project as involving Barbados, Jamaica, Tobago, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba. The project was initiated with a workshop attended by HIV/AIDS researchers from the Caribbean and FIU. Two publications are being prepared by participants of the workshop as special issues in HIV/AIDS journals. We are planning as a second phase of this project to host a majo9r conference attended by key stakeholders, public health practitioners, and academics whose focus is on the larger political, economic, or sociocultural factors that shape the HIV/AIDS epidemic and contribute to health disparities in the Caribbean. We also in the process of capacity building the institutional framework to accommodate this project.

EU, CARIFORUM, AND CELAC: A NEW DEVELOPMENT ALLIANCE

This is project is being developed as collaborative project Among AADS, The Charles Monet Center at FIU, The University of the West Indies, and The Institute of the Americas in Paris, France to examine the realities and possibilities in the developing of bi-regional relations between the European Union and the Latin American and Caribbean Region. The purpose of the project is to examine EU’s participation as a partner in efforts by the 33-nation Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to bring the region into a singular grouping by using the recent and extant colonial ties of Britain, France, and Holland organized under its Africa Caribbean and Pacific CARIFORUM subgroup. The argument is that the collaboration represents a regional respecification of colonial relations with Europe and of neocolonial relations with the United States and Canada that can have significant implications for the reorganization of the architecture of geopolitical relations. It signals the growing geostrategic importance of the ACP for the maintenance of Europe’s geopolitical and economic power and influence. The initiative was developed in the wake of a a conference hosted by the Jean Monet Center at FIU in February 2016 on “EU Development Policy in a Global Context.” The Director of AADS was invited to Paris Conference hosted by the Institute of the Americas on “The Caribbean in the Strategic Partnership of EU-CELAC “ on June 1st 2017. Out of discussions subsequent to the Paris Conference, a proposal for the project was formulated

1. To develop a framework and institutional capacity for examination, research, policy formulation, and intensification of EU-LAC relations and the participation of Caribbean stakeholders in this project.
2. To develop the organizational framework for a follow-up to the June 1st EU-CELAC conference to be held in the Caribbean in 2018, organized through the existing University of the West Indies-Florida International University partnership. The proposed conference will be integral to such an initiative.
3. To seek to develop a Jean Monet Center Excellence at the University of the West Indies with the collaboration of the Jean Monet Center already established at Florida International University. This center can be pivotal in meeting the goals specified in 1. above.