As part of the College’s growing partnership with Aksum University in Ethiopia, the Office of International Studies hosted a lunch on campus featuring Ato Hagos Gebrewahid, mayor of Aksum (commonly spelled Axum) on Monday.
The partnership officially began in March 2009, and most recently included a book drive that collected seven tons of books to benefit Aksum University.
More than 25 faculty and staff attended the luncheon, which turned into a reunion of sorts with several attendees having been part of one of the College’s delegations (fall 2008, spring 2009 and spring 2010) to the country.
Mayor Gebrewahid, through translator Abraha Kahssay, said the "book collection and relationships are really important to Ethiopia in general, and Aksum specifically."
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Vicki Golich was on hand to exchange gifts with the mayor. Golich gave him a desk clock, a tie and a tote bag, all with the Metro State logo. The mayor presented Metro State with an “Attestation of Pilgrimage.” The document is similar to a certificate of appreciation.
The growing partnership could see a lot of activity moving forward, according to Ali Thobhani, executive director of the Office of International Studies and chair of the African and African American Studies Department.
Thobhani announced that the College should know in August if the College’s proposal to the U.S. Department of State for $500,000 has been approved. It would fund a planning trip for a few faculty and staff in 2011, followed by another visit in summer 2012 that would include students.
For the current phase of the partnership, Computer Information Systems Professor Stuart Monroe is scheduled to head to the University of Aksum for one year to teach a variety of courses, including business statistics and business strategy. He leaves in September 2010.
Thobhani also announced that President Stephen Jordan has accepted an invitation to be the commencement speaker at Aksum University in July 2011.
Groundbreaking at City of Axum Park
Earlier on Monday, Mayor Gebrewahid and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, along with District 8 Councilwoman Carla Madison and Denver Parks and Recreation Manager Kevin Patterson, broke ground on more than $620,000 in improvements at Denver’s City of Axum Park (Axum and Denver are sister cities.)
In honor of this relationship, the park will feature an obelisk with many similarities to one in Aksum, for which the city is famous. The improvements are scheduled to be completed in fall 2010.
The improvements to the park, bordered by Martin Luther King Blvd. and Bruce Randolph St., and between Birch and Cherry Sts, will be funded through the Better Denver Bond Program, Denver Capital Improvement Funding and a Park Hill Thriving Communities Grant.
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