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Dr. Penda Mbow "is an associate professor of history at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, where she has published widely on African political and social issues, often focusing on the role of Islam in Africa. She has previously served as Senegal's minister of culture and as cultural advisor to the Senegalese department of ethnography and historical heritage. Dr. Mbow has received numerous academic awards, including a Fulbright grant to study at Michigan State University and a Rockefeller Foundation award for research at the Bellagio Center in Italy. In recognition of her achievements as a scholar, thinker, and political activist, she was named Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur Francaise (Knight of the French Legion of Honor) in 2003 and Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Mérite in 1999. Among her many areas of expertise are African intellectual history and Islamic gender studies. Dr. Mbow spent her fellowship researching the evolution of Islam's relationship with democracy in Senegal, as well as the interplay between women, human rights, and religion in Islamic societies." 
- NED Past Fellows