Music Professor Spending Summer at University of Ghana

George W.K. Dor part of fellowship program to support projects in Africa

A man in a blue African robe plays a drum for a group of children in a classroom.

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi music professor George Walasi Kwasi Dor is spending his summer at the University of Ghana, thanks to a prestigious award from the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program.

The McDonnell-Barksdale Chair of Ethnomusicology will be in his native country, where he is conducting research with UG professor Eyram Fiagbedzi, leading workshops and mentoring graduate students, until Aug. 14.

Selected from more than 200 applicants, Dor is a two-time Carnegie Diaspora Fellow. He was a 2019 fellow at the University of Port Harcourt, in Rivers State, Nigeria.

George Walasi Kwasi Dor

The fellowship program allows African-born faculty members at U.S. and Canadian universities to collaborate with a host university in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa or Tanzania on research, curriculum development and capacity building projects.

"The award confirms the citation I received from the University of Ghana's School of Performing Arts in 2022 as a national musical icon of Ghana and an outstanding contributor to African musicology," Dor said.

In Ghana, Dor is renowned as a composer, performer and teacher of contemporary Ghanaian art music with more than 60 choral and symphonic works to his credit. His symphonic works are favorites of the Ghana National Symphony Orchestra and also have been performed in the U.S. and Germany.

He plays African drums, cello, alto saxophone and keyboard, and he founded and directs the UM African Drum and Dance Ensemble.

Dor plans to conduct a daylong seminar that will culminate in an evening concert at the University of Ghana.

"I will conduct a workshop for young Ghanaian composers on the art of composing Ghanaian choral music," he said. "I'll also mentor graduate students who are writing their theses on how to select appropriate theories for their respective studies, and on interpreting and distilling field data."

Lee Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Ole Miss, nominated Dor for the award.


Ole Miss music professor George Walasi Kwasi Dor teaches students at Crenshaw Elementary School about international culture and music. Dor is leading workshops and mentoring graduate students this summer at the University of Ghana. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

"Dr. Dor has been an influential member of our campus community, and being awarded this competitive fellowship illustrates his impact on a more global scale," Cohen said. "Importantly, Dr. Dor's plans for the fellowship show that he is not only interested in advancing his work, but also the work of others.

"We are grateful to the Carnegie Corporation for their support of Dr. Dor and the University of Ghana's School of Performing Arts for their partnership."

UG officials said that Dor's expertise and influence are having a great impact on their program and students.

"Professor Dor took an active part in the review of our postgraduate program," said Awo Mana Asiedu, dean of the UG School of Performing Arts. "As a result of his mentoring of junior faculty members, two of them presented research papers at an international conference."

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, in its 10th year, is designed to strengthen capacity at host institutions and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada. It is funded by Carnegie Corp. of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration the Association of African Universities.


Edwin Smith



June 04, 2024