College receives U.S. Department of State grant for Ethiopia partnership
Schools, which appear to be bushes, provide an unfamiliar idea of school for some visitors to Adowa, Ethiopia.
Metropolitan State College of Denver’s partnership with Aksum University (AkU) was recently awarded a Building Sustainable Study Abroad Capacity grant for $272,425 from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The grant will help sustain the positive momentum of the growing partnership, according to Executive Director of the International Studies Program Ali Thobhani, who has made at least three trips to Ethiopia on behalf of the College. “We will help to develop courses and offer our courses that will be team-taught with AkU faculty,” he says.
Long-term benefits of the program, include enhanced study-abroad capability at Metro State and AkU, and increased study-abroad enrollments. The subject focus will cover teacher education, social studies, anthropology and the Amharic language. The grant will specifically fund a planning trip to Ethiopia in 2011 for three faculty and two staff members, as well as a visit to the country in summer 2012 by 15 Metro State students.
“I was really excited to hear that Metro State received the grant,” says Cynthia Lindquist, chair of special education, early childhood education, reading and educational technology. She plans to go on the 2011 trip. “I have always found it such a wonderful experience to do anything cross cultural. It helps develop an understanding and perspective of other groups and allows others to develop an understanding of our country as well.”
Others slated for the 2011 trip, include Thobhani, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies Jacqueline McLeod, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Julie Reyes, and Kelly Huang, administrative assistant in the international studies program.
Lindquist adds, “I’m looking forward to doing some exploratory work to observe the knowledge base (in Ethiopia) in K-12 and special education. I understand there is very limited knowledge concerning special education.”
The College is planning a fundraising dinner at Strings Restaurant on Oct. 24 to help build a school in Adowa, Ethiopia.
On Aug. 19, the 45-photo exhibit, “Impact Ethiopia,” hosted a reception to officially kick off the fundraising drive for an elementary school in Adowa, Ethiopia. The photos were taken by delegate member and Professor of English James Aubrey.
While Aubrey noted the number of photos is “a nod to the ‘45 Degrees of Impact’theme of the Metro State 45th Anniversary celebration,” he emphasized that the photos are grouped for a purpose:
- To show the austere learning environment at Adowa, where the College hopes to build a permanent school building.
- To show life at the University of Aksum.
- To document the delegation’s visit to the Hawelti Elementary School, outside Aksum, which has an ongoing relationship with the Denver Sister Cities International.
- To show scenes in the capital, Addis Ababa, where the delegation visited a literacy program called "Ethiopia Reads" and went to a museum to see the recently discovered bones of Ardi, the oldest proto-human skeleton (4.4 million years ago).
The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 31, features a two-minute video to illustrate the need for the elementary school at Adowa. The video, shot by Academic Media Producer Scott Houck, is part of a project by Houck, Psychology Professor Mary Ann Watson and Assistant Professor of Psychology Layton Seth Curl – all March 2010 delegate members.
More activities are scheduled for the fall in support of the Adowa school, including a fundraising dinner at Strings Restaurant on Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. To receive an invitation to the dinner, contact Kelly Huang at the Office of International Studiesat 303-352-7003. Invitations will be sent out the second week of September.