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ASA Outstanding Service Award

The ASA Service award seeks to recognize individuals and/or organizations that have distinguished themselves through their outstanding dedication to the ASA’s mission by: facilitating the production of knowledge about Africa and its diasporas; dissemination knowledge within the academy or to the public; establishing or supporting collaborations between institutions in the global north and in Africa; and/or having strongly contributed to the ASA itself.


Candidates for the ASA Outstanding Service Award must have made outstanding contributions to the ASA’s mission and/or the ASA such as (but not limited to):

– enabling scholarship and implementing programming within their institutions and their partners in Africa;
– promoting and strengthening the teaching of African languages through the development of programs, the development and publication of materials, and the education of instructors;
– developing and implementing initiatives to disseminate and reinforce knowledge about Africa in K-12 schools, in post-secondary education, and in the media;
– supporting the preservation and enhancement of archives and libraries in Africa through exchanges and specialized training;
– initiating and/or facilitating educational exchanges between secondary schools and instructors and/or civil society organizations in the global north and in Africa;
– volunteering exceptional time and actively contributing to the ASA and its activities.


Current ASA members may submit letters of nomination to the Executive Director of the ASA at secretariat@africanstudies.org by April 30, 2024. Nominations should be made in the form of a detailed letter, stating how the individual and/or organization meet the stated criteria, and be supported by at least one additional letter. The nomination must include the nominator’s name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address, as well as the name, title, and contact information of the nominee or a contact person at the nominated organization. Nominations for organizations must summarize the organization’s activities as they relate to the selection criteria mentioned above.

The ASA Awards Committee may also nominate individuals or organizations for consideration by the entire board.


The Outstanding Service Award selection committee is chaired by the Past President and includes the President, Vice President, and two non-Board members of the Association. The non-Board members are selected by the Award committee and serve three-year terms.

The committee may choose to recognize more than one, but no more than two organizations or individuals in any given year, unless they are part of a team. The committee may also choose not to award the prize in a given year.

2024 Committee
  • Adérónké Adésolá Adésànyà (James Madison University), Chair
  • Gretchen Bauer (University of Delaware)
  • Elizabeth Schmidt (Loyola University Maryland)
  • Peter Little (Emory University)
  • Joseph K. Assan (Brandeis University)

ASA Service Award Winners (2013-Present)

  • 2023

    Elias Wondimu (CEO and Editorial Director of Tsehai Publishers)

  • 2022

    African Language Teachers’ Association (ALTA) – award presented to ALTA President, Mariame Sy

  • 2021

    Martha Saavedra (University of California, Berkeley)

  • 2019

    Michel Doortmont (University of Groningen), John Hanson (Indiana University), Jan Jansen (Universiteit Leiden), and Dmitri van den Bersselaar (Universität Leipzig, History in Africa)

  • 2018

    Sandra Barnes (University of Pennsylvania) and Andrzej Tymowski (American Council of Learned Societies)

  • 2017

    Elliot Fratkin (Smith College) and Sean Redding (Amherst College, African Studies Review)

  • 2016

    Brenda Randolph (Africa Access)

  • 2015

    Gillian Berchowitz (Ohio University Press)

  • 2015

    Ali Ali-Dinar

  • 2014

    Indiana University Press

  • 2014

    Association of Concerned African Scholars

  • 2014

    Bill Minter (Africa Focus)

  • 2014

    Aili Tripp (University of Wisconsin)

  • 2013

    Lynne Rienner (Lynne Rienner Publishers)

  • 2013

    Kassahun Checole (Africa World Press)