The fellowship will enable Mr. Otiono, who earned a PhD at Alberta University in Edmonton, Canada, to spend some time at Delta State University in Nigeria helping the university to co-develop graduate student teaching, training and mentoring on interdisciplinary research methods and project writing.
A statement released by Carleton University disclosed that “Otiono will collaborate with G.G. Darah, professor of English and president of the Nigeria Oral Literature Organization (NOLA), to launch a working group for researching the oral literature, folklore and folklife of Delta State and beyond. He will also develop short professional seminars on interdisciplinary research methods for graduate students and early career faculty, and initiate a new interdisciplinary graduate course, Globalization and Popular Culture in Africa.”
According to Mr. Otiono, “The project triangulates around a vision and mission that will advance the commitment of the sponsor, Carnegie Corporation of New York, to turning Africa’s brain drain to brain gain, while mutually benefiting students and faculty members at Carleton University— my home university— and Delta State University—the host university in my country of origin, Nigeria.”
Mr. Otiono, who spent a year at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island coordinating the Achebe Colloquium on Africa, is also a noted poet and literary scholar who spent his early formative years as an edition with several Nigerian publications.
In 2012, Mr. Otiono also received a Banting postdoctoral fellowship, a highly prized award given to a select few scholars.
Speaking about the Carnegie fellowship, Mr. Otiono said he hoped it would foster new ideas and networks for his work, as well as enable the inauguration of international exchange between Carleton University and Delta State University.
The Carnegie African Diaspora Scholar Fellowship pairs African diaspora scholars with higher education institutions in Africa to collaborate on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training and mentoring activities.
Mr. Otiono is one of 17 scholars awarded fellowships this year. He and the other fellows will travel to Africa beginning in spring 2015 to conduct a wide range of projects, including developing an MBA program, staging a musical based on South African themes and Africa-sensitive research in cognitive psychology.