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OHIO visit to Botswana, Ghana, The Gambia and Senegal [PHOTOS]


Ohio University representatives traveled to Botswana, Ghana, The Gambia and Senegal in June and July and took part in a wide range of events with OHIO students, faculty, alumni and partner institutions.

Lorna Jean Edmonds, vice provost for global affairs and international studies and the director of the Center for International Studies, and Bose Maposa, assistant director, graduate programs in the Center for International Studies visited all four countries. They were joined by Assan Sarr, assistant professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences for Ghana, The Gambia and Senegal, and by Matthew Shaftel, dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Kate Albe, director of development, major giving for University Advancement, for the Ghana program.

“This was an amazing and transformative journey, visiting with our alumni, partners and friends in these four countries in Africa,” Edmonds said. 

“It was clear from our trip to Senegal and The Gambia that the university leaders and directors of major West African research centers are eager to partner with institutions such as Ohio University,” Sarr said. “Thanks to our productive meetings this summer, I see a strong possibility for Ohio University to work closely with these partners, as well as partners in Botswana and Ghana, in the areas of language instruction, faculty and student exchanges, and research collaboration.”

Here are few images from the summer visit:

Princess Marina Hospital in Botswana

One of the stops in Botswana was to visit the Princess Marina Hospital, where OHIO Global Health students were working for the summer. Eliza Harper, assistant professor of nursing and co-director of the Botswana Global Health Program, with Gillian Ice, director of the Global Health Initiative and professor of social medicine, Heritage College of Medicine, leads the OHIO effort at the hospital and arranged this meeting. During this event, the OHIO students also made a donation to the hospital. The students enjoyed their experience at the hospital and said it was extremely valuable.

“I felt like I learned more in one week here than in three years,” said Mitchell McCorkle, a senior studying nursing in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. Other students responded that their experience at the hospital had helped them to become more creative and resourceful.

“The rich Princess Marina Hospital-OHIO partnership that Harper and Ice has fostered is compelling. The experience is valued and rewarding for all involved, and the students gained from the interactions they had with the patients they met and the health care professionals they worked with during this impactful program” Edmonds said.

University of Botswana and Ohio University meeting

Also in Botswana, the OHIO delegation met with University of Botswana (UB) Vice Chancellor Prof. David Norris (shown next to Edmonds and Ice). The meeting also included Prof. Martin Mokgwathi, who is an OHIO alumnus, UB Director of Career and Counseling Services Prof. Lucky Odirile, who is also an OHIO alumnus, and Shathiso Nlebgwa, the executive assistant to the vice chancellor. The event provided an opportunity to discuss the areas of collaboration between the two historic partners. Odirile, (shown on the right), helped to arrange the meeting and explained that the relationship between OHIO and UB dates back to the 1980s.

“Today, there are many lecturers at UB who did their masters and doctoral degrees at OHIO” Odirile said.

OHIO Alumni event in Botswana

The visit to Botswana also included a fun and memorable alumni reunion. OHIO graduates from around the country attended the lively event, which also included several OHIO faculty members and students who were working or studying in Botswana for the summer months. Alumni Hugh Bartis and Joseph Barton drove all the way from Pretoria, South Africa to attend the celebration. Some of the alumni who attended had not seen each other in more than 20 years!

OHIO representatives with John Gohoho

A special and surprise encounter of the visit was when Maposa and Edmonds flew to Kumasi. Their plane was piloted by John Gohoho, who studied at OHIO’s Russ College of Engineering in the Avionics program. 

2018 African Educational Research Network (AERN) Bi-Annual Summer Summit

While in Ghana, the delegation took part in the opening ceremonies of the 2018 African Educational Research Network (AERN) Bi-Annual Summer Summit, co-hosted by the University of Ghana Legon and OHIO and led by Emmanuel Jean Francois, associate professor of educational studies in the Gladys W. and David H Patton College of Education. The summit also included the contributions of several OHIO faculty members and students and colleagues from Ghana and as far away as Australia. Additional photos from the summit can be found at this website.

The AGORO performance in Ghana

The AGORO concert preceded by the symposium in Ghana and was without question the highlight of the visit. The AGORO concert offered an acute lens into current dimensions of the global story shaping our world today. It was a non-stop engaging and entertaining evening of original and inspiring talent thanks to the partnership with the Ghana arts community through the leadership and creative energy of OHIO professors Paschal Yao Younge, composer, and Zelma Badu Younge, choreographer. They were accompanied by OHIO’s faculty members Tom Berich and Jeff Russell, students Morgan Sieg, Ryan Swanson, Zoe Miller and Gcinile Shongwe, and several OHIO alumni. The concert included performances from Ghana’s National Dance Company, National Symphony Orchestra, National Drama Company, and international artists from the United States and Canada.  

OHIO Alumni event in Ghana

OHIO boasts nearly 350 alumni from Ghana, and the Alumni Reunion held in Accra attracted a large number of enthusiastic graduates. Alumni gathered to share their close ties to OHIO, while also meeting with the faculty, staff and students who attended. The alumni event preceded the closing event of AGORO.

OHIO visit to Garden City University College in Ghana

In Kumasi, Edmonds and Maposa visited OHIO’s Russ College of Engineering summer program at Maasa-Ofisio, directed by Garden City University College’s Registrar and OHIO Alumnus Dr. Nana Owusu-Kwarteng. The current program director is Professor Felipe Arose-Vera, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Dr. Owusu-Kwarteng is shown above with Edmonds and Maposa and Garden City University College’s Acting President Prof. K. J. Opoku-Afriyie (on the right).

Garden City University College, founded by Center for International Studies alumnus Albert Acquah, now serves more than 5,000 students, and provides an invaluable resource to the community by improving access to higher education in Ghana.

OHIO meeting with officials in The Gambia

While in The Gambia, the OHIO delegation visited educational institutions such as The University of The Gambia (UTG), and also visited with government leaders. Shown here is a meeting with the Hon. Badara A. Joof, (third from the right) who is the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology in The Gambia, and Prof. Pierre Gomez, dean, School of Arts and Sciences at UTG (second from the right). Assan Sarr, assistant professor of history at OHIO (on the far left in the photo), has served as a visiting professor at UTG over the past five years and has created areas of collaboration for OHIO in The Gambia. 

OHIO Alumni event in Senegal

The trip concluded in Senegal with another amazing alumni gathering. Shown here (from left to right) are OHIO alumni Oumar Ba, Fanta Diamanka and Seydina Ousmane Sene. Albeit a small but personal gathering, it was such an impressive group of successful alumni leaving a lasting impression of just how the Bobcat community throughout the continent and around the globe is transforming the world in so many ways, one alumnus at a time! 

The Bobcat Family is truly global, and alumni, faculty and partners in every country the delegation visited were eager to share their experiences and connections, to learn more about current activities and to find out more about how they can stay involved. 

“As an OHIO alum, one of my best experiences was being able to reconnect with many of the people that I had met at Ohio University in their own home countries. It was amazing to see everything they are achieving in their lives and their professional careers,” Maposa said. “It was also a privilege to represent Ohio University as part of our mission to help further our global strategy, and specifically in my own home continent.”

For more information on the visit to the four African nations, please contact the Office of Global Affairs at globalaffars@ohio.edu or visit this web page to see additional photos.