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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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5/4/2009 Vivian Bull to keynote Africa Symposium

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McMINNVILLE – “Linking African Universities to the World,” a symposium focusing on higher education and distance learning in Africa, will be held Wednesday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield College.

Vivian Bull, Linfield College president emerita, will present the keynote address focusing on various issues and concerns she has encountered during her work in Africa. She has come across issues of development, technology, health care, agriculture, language and culture, to name a few. The evening will kick off with a slide presentation by Martin Dwomoh-Tweneboah, associate professor of computer science at Linfield. Also participating will be Linfield faculty and administrators Eric Schuck, associate professor of economics; Cheikh Thiam, assistant professor of Francophone literature; David Groff, African historian and director of the Portland Campus; and Shaik Ismail, associate professor of political science and director of International Programs.

A question and answer session will follow the keynote address. The symposium will conclude with a student poster session in Jonasson Hall, lower level of Melrose Hall. Posters will highlight recent January Term study courses to South Africa, Ghana and Cameroon, along with country posters by several African students currently studying on the McMinnville and Portland campuses.

Bull’s presentation stems from her work promoting distance education in Africa. She helped to establish Africa University in 1992, serving on the planning committee and Board of Trustees. Most recently, Bull and Dwomoh-Tweneboah are part of the assessment team for the United Methodist Global Education Fund, a program helping to expand Africa University through distance learning at satellite campuses. They have conducted feasibility studies for future sites in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria in West Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo in Sub Sahara Africa, and Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Southern Sudan in East Africa.

Under Dwomoh-Tweneboah's leadership and direction, the computer center at Africa University is considered one of the outstanding centers in Africa. The first satellite campus was opened in Mozambique last year and a second site is scheduled to open in Cote d'Ivoire this summer. According to Bull, distance education relationships will be developed with higher education institutions in other countries, and will include work in three languages – English, French and Portuguese.

“In Mozambique, course work is being delivered in English from Africa University and will be delivered in Portuguese from the Methodist University in Sao Paulo, Brazil,” she said. “Our goal is to have each of the centers be self-sustaining financially, and the church will be providing technical support to all the projects.

“This has been an extraordinary opportunity to see Africa and learn about the wants and needs of many countries, while learning about the people with whom we are working,” Bull said. “We have some marvelous stories to share, as we have met some amazing people while learning what is already being accomplished, and where we can make the most meaningful contribution.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Fred Ross, 503-883-2202,