Ifeoma Ajunwa, associate professor of law and founding director of the Artificial Intelligence Decision-Making Research Program at UNC School of Law, has received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends approximately 800 American scholars and professionals each year to countries worldwide, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields for up to one year. Ajunwa plans to spend the academic year in Lagos, Nigeria, researching and comparing how U.S. and Nigerian laws affect startup technology companies.
“With tech titans investing in Nigeria and touting its promise as a hub for technological innovation, I knew I had to go to Nigeria,” Ajunwa says, who has a connection to the research site as a Nigerian-American with dual citizenship. She will study the Nigerian tech industry, interview entrepreneurs about how the law can help technological innovation and economic development, and build connections between the Nigerian legal community and UNC School of Law.
Ajunwa will be hosted by Babcock University, where she will teach a course on ethics, technology and the law. At Carolina Law, her research and teaching interests include race and the law, law and technology, employment and labor law, corporate governance, and health law.
Ajunwa hopes that her year studying law and technology issues in other jurisdictions will make her a better law professor. “I expect that my research abroad will spur several writing and teaching projects upon my return,” she says. “I’m also hoping to gain the intangibles that can come from a year spent in a different culture, such as greater patience, flexibility, empathy and appreciation for the positives that both the Nigerian and American cultures have to offer.”