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The African Research Collaborative was idealized in August of 2016 by Melissa Speight Vaughn and Erica Bass Flimmons after Melissa moved to South Africa to assume a 3-year post-doctorate research fellowship. Five years earlier, Erica had embarked on her first Study Abroad trip to South Africa during her Master’s program. Every week they talked for hours comparing their South African experiences. The Drs initially met as doctorate students at Georgia State University in the College of Education and Human Development. They had varied perspectives on education. Melissa’s studies focus on cultural knowledge and community history while Erica is interested in the impact of technology on public health. Their research revealed the necessity of cultural teaching and learning for global citizenship, the need to contextualize STEM with the student’s lived experiences, and the benefits of peer mentorship and transnational education. These results were presented at the International Education Association of South Africa Conference in August 2017.  

ARC seeks to practice an ubuntu philosophy that exposes reciprocity and mutuality.  


The Faces of Our Organization

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President and Co-Founder

Melissa Speight Vaughn, Ph.D. is the founder of the African Research Collaborative nonprofit organization. The mission to advance a cultural approach to global citizenship through transnational research, education and civic engagement was borne out of her cultural and indigenous research studies in Central America, United States and South Africa. The bulk of Dr. M’s scholarship is focused on the ways Black and indigenous communities use music and dance to record history, to theorize citizenship and to practice social justice. This scholarship informs a collaborative, research-based, mutually beneficial and cultural appropriate approach to seeking solutions to persistent global issues. The African Research Collaborative provides educational and public outreach focused on global citizenship and cultural diversity.

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