Sixty percent fewer elephants roam the African rainforests than did 15 years ago.
Unsettled by the rapid decline of this iconic species, Duke graduate students have joined forces with Gabon’s National Parks Agency to protect African elephants from illegal poaching.
The students have placed GPS collars on elephants across the country to map out their distribution and keep tabs on their movement.
Their efforts are helping Gabon’s park management place anti-poaching patrols in the right place, at the right time.
Bass Connections is a program unique to Duke that brings undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members together in teams to tackle real-world problems.
Project teams explore everything from neurosurgery in Uganda to archaeological investigation in Mediterranean cities.
To date, Bass teams have visited 29 countries on five continents, and the program’s global reach continues to grow.
“The mortality rate of cervical cancer should absolutely be zero percent.”
A lofty goal, but one that professor Nimmi Ramanujam gets closer to achieving every day.
Ramanujam and her team of Duke researchers have developed a tool for diagnosing and treating cervical cancer that has the potential to save thousands of lives.
The device most commonly used to spot cervical cancer, a colposcope, costs up to $20,000 to produce. So colposcopes have been inaccessible in low-resource areas including East Africa, where cervical cancer incidence is highest and the doctor-to-patient ratio is one of the lowest globally.
The alternative “pocket colposcope,” developed here at Duke, is a handheld device that connects to a smartphone camera to store and transmit images of similar quality for a fraction of the cost.
Images can then be downloaded to a server for remote expert diagnosis.
One of the top-cited reasons why prospective high school students choose to come to Duke is DukeEngage.
By funding immersive summer experiences, the program empowers students to address critical human needs through service in the United States and abroad.
In partnership with communities across the globe, students have served in 70 nations on six continents. Students have worked with NGOs focused on everything from women’s healthcare to race relations.
Duke is no stranger to innovation. Notable Duke alumni include Apple CEO Tim Cook and philanthropist Melinda Gates.
But Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative continues to make Duke an agent of global transformation through entrepreneurship.
Many Duke University students and alumni have founded startups around the world. A few examples:
• Project Sapana provides locally-sourced lunches to schoolchildren in Nepal
• The Myna Mahila Foundation is a network of female entrepreneurs who produce and sell low cost, high quality products for women in India
• Dream Corps provides educational resources to underserved children in rural China
At Duke, learning doesn’t end in the classroom.
Students learn and conduct research at field sites all over the world.
The Duke University School of Nursing, for example, provides clinical immersion experiences at partner clinics in Tanzania, Barbados, Honduras and several other countries.
The Duke Global Health Institute also offers a Student Research Training Program for global health undergraduates at five global sites, including India and Kenya.
Want to intern at the United Nations, the World Health Organization or the World Trade Organization?
The Sanford School of Public Policy’s Geneva Program gives students unparalleled access to major international policy organizations headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
The only program of its kind, the Geneva Program prepares graduate and professional students to tackle pressing global policy challenges.
Duke’s Human Rights Center, based out of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, explores contemporary international human rights challenges with a signature focus on forced migration.
Duke students collaborate with refugee communities and NGOs all over the world.
In the past, students have conducted life-story interviews with refugees in Nepal, Jordan and Ireland, with the goal of understanding the effects of forced migration on refugee families.
Students and faculty members also connect with refugees near Duke’s campus in Durham through a number of initiatives, including a tutoring program with K-12 students.
In 2017 Duke opened its first office India, based in Bangalore.
From Mike Bergin’s research on how air pollution has discolored the Taj Mahal to Erica Field’s explorations of poverty in rural India, Duke University professors are deeply engaged across the country.
In addition to supporting Duke faculty research, the India office facilitates university partnerships, alumni connections, student learning and other Duke activities across the country.
The John Hope Franklin Center (JHFC) is Duke’s hub for global studies.
Walk through the doors of the JHFC, and you will find experts in Asian languages, Middle Eastern cultures and Latin American politics.
On any given day at the JHFC, you may meet a U.S. Ambassador, a Nigerian filmmaker, a Russian historian or a Taiwanese artist.
A dedicated space for global exploration, the JHFC brings historians, literary scholars, artists and philosophers together as the Duke community builds a deeper understanding of some of the most pressing social and political themes of our time.
Duke Kunshan University is pioneering a new model of education.
A joint-venture university based in Kunshan, China, Duke Kunshan University melds liberal arts style education with traditional Chinese pedagogy.
Students from all over the world gather at the Kunshan campus to explore environmental policy, global health, medical physics, management studies and other disciplines.
The university, set on acres of landscaped gardens, wetlands and waterways, is set to launch its first undergraduate degree program in the fall of 2018.
Apart from academic excellence and basketball, Duke might be best known for its lemurs.
The Duke Lemur Center is home to the biggest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside of their native Madagascar.
Over the past 50 years, the Duke Lemur Center has celebrated more than 3,285 lemur births.
But baby lemurs aren’t just cute; they’re crucial to the survival of their species and for the groundbreaking research that goes on at the center.
Nestled in Duke Forest, the center is a living lab for research on prosimian cognition, behavior, communication, aging and many other topics. Its initiatives also promote biodiversity conservation in Durham and in northern Madagascar.
Makerere University is home to Uganda’s first biomedical engineering degree (BME) program, a product of collaboration between professors at Makerere and Duke.
The program launched in 2014, offering students access to a new and growing field in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its courses prepare students to design and build new technologies to address healthcare needs in their communities.
“When I saw biomedical engineering [on the course list] at Makerere, I had to check five times to make sure it was real,” said one Makerere student.
Now, as part of a Duke-Makerere Partnership, students at the two universities take BME courses simultaneously, often working together on design projects via Skype.
In 2005, Duke teamed up with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to launch the Duke-NUS Medical School, the first U.S.-style medical school in Singapore.
With support from the Singaporean government, Duke-NUS supports Singapore’s mission to become a leading center for medical research and education.
Since its launch, Duke-NUS has become a world-class medical institution with signature research programs in cancer biology, emerging infectious diseases, neuroscience and other cutting edge medical disciplines.
Its mission is twofold: to transform medicine and improve patient lives.
From Antarctic whales to climate change, Duke research covers an enormous range of topics related to the world’s oceans.
Researchers at the Nicholas School have played a key role in developing the nation’s first ocean plans, a collection of best practices for protecting the world’s shared marine resources.
Graduate and professional students from across the university have also developed an Ocean Policy Working Group dedicated to exploring human interactions with the ocean.
In 2008, Duke students had an idea: what if a pouch of medicine the size of a ketchup packet could prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV? How many lives could be saved by making drug administration easier in low-resource settings?
The answer, so far, is thousands.
The Pratt Pouch—a small packet of antiretroviral drugs that HIV-positive mothers can squeeze into their newborns’ mouths—has already saved many lives in Ecuador, Zambia and Tanzania.
Now the Pratt Pouch is expanding its reach in Ecuador, and a new initiative will bring the pouch to Uganda.
Named after Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, the pouch costs only four cents and is an especially effective tool for mothers who deliver their babies at home, rather than at a hospital.
How many languages are spoken across Africa?
a) About 300
b) About 750
c) About 1,500
d) About 3,000
Every few years, the Duke Africa Initiative hosts a Quiz Bowl game called Let’s Explore Africa, where participants compete to prove their knowledge of the African continent by answering trivia questions like this one.
The game engages 4th through 12th grade students from throughout North Carolina to generate knowledge about Africa, which remains one of the lesser known regions on the planet.
(The answer to the question above is D: about 3,000 languages are spoken in Africa.)
The Africa Initiative also hopes to raise awareness about Africa on Duke’s campus, bringing together students and faculty members to discuss the cultures, languages and histories that make up this incredible continent.
Duke and UNC might be rivals on the basketball court, but they work together to form the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center.
One of only six such centers in the world, the center brings mid-career professionals together from all over the globe to study conflict resolution and peace-building.
Students take courses at either Duke or UNC, including “Designing Democracy” and “Humanitarianism in War and in Peace.”
Program alumni have gone on to work at the United Nations, the World Bank, non-governmental organizations and other institutions with the goal of promoting peace.
The 2018 Rotary Peace Fellows represent 55 countries.
What does it take to make an amazing health idea global?
That’s where SEAD comes in. The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke helps innovators around the world take their health-related ideas to a global stage.
SEAD supports innovators with all kinds of health goals: launching mobile healthcare kiosks in rural Kenya, developing safe birthing kits for women in India, converting old shipping containers into health clinics across Africa, and more.
SEAD was also a precursor to Innovations in Healthcare, which now works in 70 countries to support new approaches to healthcare.
Tanzania is one of several priority locations for the Duke Global Health Institute.
The city of Moshi is home to Duke’s most established global health partnership. Spanning more than 20 years, Duke has built clinical research collaborations with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and has placed medical students, residents and fellows at KCMC for training and research opportunities.
Duke and DGHI faculty are also transforming medical education at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College. The $10 million Medical Education Partnership Initiative brings technology, teaching innovations and new resources to expand training to the future medical providers in Tanzania.
Duke and its partners in Tanzania study a range of topics, including maternal health, malaria, emerging infectious diseases and emergency medicine.
Did you know Duke has nearly 200 partnerships with universities and other organizations around the world?
Right now Duke’s partners represent nearly 70 countries and include the UK’s University of Oxford, Switzerland’s Universität Zürich and South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand.
Each partnership is unique. While some support student exchange, others create opportunities for researchers to join forces or for professors to co-teach courses over Skype.
What did Venice look like in the year 1500? Check out Visualizing Venice to find out.
At once an art project, a history lesson, a technological experiment and a museum exhibition, Visualizing Venice is a collaboration between Duke, the University of Venice and the University of Padua.
By mapping and modeling the city’s history, Duke students and faculty members are looking at how Venice has transformed over time.
Their goal is to educate visitors, tourists and residents on how the places and spaces of Venice evolved into the city that we experience today.
Worldwide, more people have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet. One in nine lacks access to clean drinking water.
The global water and sanitation crisis is the focus of much of Duke’s research. Engineers, environmental policy experts, law professors and global health researchers all lend their expertise to the crisis, from developing new sanitation solutions to protecting water as a basic human right.
“Clean water and sanitation must become a higher priority because they are fundamental to human health and reducing poverty,” wrote Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in its recommendations to legislators.
“I feel very lucky to have grown up in my parents’ household here in Johannesburg in the ’60s and ’70s. In the context of some of the darkest days of apartheid, their home was always filled with people from many different communities and points of view.”
These are the words of Mary Menell Zients, a Duke alumna and founder of MMX, or the Menell Media Exchange.
A collaboration between the Menell family and Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, MMX is an annual conference during which members of South Africa’s media community can gather to exchange ideas and discuss shared challenges.
The project continues the legacy of Menell’s parents, bringing together hundreds of people and perspectives from across South Africa to support a free and vibrant press.
Most middle school leadership programs don’t culminate with a trip to Uganda.
But Duke professor Michael Haglund created a leadership program to introduce Durham youth to the country where he realized his own global health passion many years before.
Eight middle school boys joined Haglund last summer on a trip to Uganda’s Mulago Hospital, where Haglund and his team of neurosurgery experts help to train local surgeons.
The goal of Duke’s program is to increase the number of neurosurgeons in Uganda from nine to 25 by the year 2025. The country currently has five neurosurgeons for 30 million people.
But the program now has another goal: allowing economically disadvantaged students in Durham to imagine a future in medicine.
When the Zika virus hit epidemic proportions in 2015-16, Duke researchers teamed up with UNC and the Centers for Disease Control to study the virus.
With $3 million in federal funding, the researchers continue to work toward developing a diagnostic test to distinguish Zika from other mosquito borne diseases.
Building on the work of scientists at other universities, the Duke Human Vaccine Institute has also discovered a vaccine that may prevent against Zika.
During clinical trials, the new vaccine protected primates and monkeys against the Zika virus with 100 percent effectiveness.
If approved for use on human subjects, it would be the first vaccine to provide long-term protection against the disease without using a live virus.