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Date: May 14, 2009
Center for Civic Engagement Returns to Togo to Continue Sustainable Ecology Effort
Four Hofstra students and two professors work hand-in-hand with University of Lomé on community projects
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – A team of Hofstra students and faculty will continue their “Green Future Alliance” in the West African nation of Togo May 19-28, 2009, meeting with their Togolese student and faculty partners and working together on human rights and sustainable ecology projects.
Sociology Professor Cynthia Bogard, Ph.D., director of the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) and Anthropology Professor Cheryl Mwaria, Ph.D. will return with four Hofstra students to work with their counterparts at the University of Lomé, Togo. Facilitated by the non-governmental organization PLAN International, they will continue an innovative program that has university students in both nations develop joint community projects, run them in their own nations and meet twice a year to evaluate their projects and plan for the future.
As part of the sustainable ecology project, the two-nation collaborative team will plant 200 teak trees in addition to the orange and avocado trees they planted last summer in order to stimulate agricultural income in the rural Togo village. They will also be painting school rooms in a rural village and will distribute backpacks and school supplies such as calculators, notebooks and pencils to young children in Togo, using funds raised by CCE interns. A middle school exchange is also in place between the students of the Roosevelt school district on Long Island and Togolese primary school children who will swap posters they have made of North American and African wildlife to decorate each other’s schools and learn about the different animals.
Last year during the October 15, 2008 presidential debate held at Hofstra, Togolese students and professors visited Hofstra to continue the cultural exchange and further conversations about their strategic partnership. Hofstra, The University of Lomé and PLAN International hope to keep this exchange and partnership alive for years to come.
“One major goal of ours for this trip is to continue to strengthen the relationship with the students and professors at the University of Lomé,” said Jessica Mendoza, a rising senior marketing major from Miami, Florida. “I’m really excited to learn about the culture and people in Togo and to share what I learn from them with Hofstra.”
The Hofstra students joining Dr. Bogard and Dr. Mwaria will be senior Courdaro (Corey) Abisdid, junior Anthony Lucci, senior Jessica Mendoza and recent graduate Christina Martin. This will be each of these students’ first trips to Africa.
Hofstra’s partner on this project, PLAN International, is a child-centered organization that works at the grassroots level with the active participation of children, their families and their communities. Projects are planned, implemented, and their results are evaluated at the level of the child. Families and communities contribute as much as they can of their time, labor and funds. This year, PLAN will make a documentary film of the Hofstra trip, as Hofstra’s exchange with the University of Lomé is the first of what PLAN hopes will be similar partnerships between American and African universities.
The Center for Civic Engagement is an academic institute founded by faculty throughout the university based on the belief that informed and involved students are more likely to participate in the democratic process. The CCE encourages students to become knowledgeable and active citizens in their campus, local, national and global communities and educates students about their own potential for civic engagement and about current and historical issues related to democracy.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 150 undergraduate and more than 160 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business; engineering; communication; education, health and human services; and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. With a student-faculty ratio of 14-to-1, our professors teach small classes averaging 22 students that emphasize interaction, critical thinking and analysis. Hofstra offers a faculty whose highest priority is teaching excellence. The University also provides excellent facilities with state-of-the-art technology, extensive library resources and internship programs that match students’ interests and abilities with appropriate companies and organizations. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.