International Experiences, Projects and Initiatives
My name is Abdulmalik Auwal; I am an indigene of Kano State in Nigeria, born on February 20, 1969. I teach Nigerian Government and Politics and Comparative Administration in the Political Science Department at Bayero University in Kano. I hold a Bachelor and Masters degree in Political Science and I am presently working on my Doctoral dissertation in the area of Conflict Resolution – concentrating on formulating a strategy and recommendations to solve the ethnic and religious crisis bedeviling the Plateau State in Nigeria. This crisis has caused the loss of over 53,000 lives as of the late 1990’s and the destruction of properties worth millions of dollars. Fortunately, I have been honored with the opportunity to pursue my research as a Fulbright fellow through the State Department of the United States.
I chose to come to the University of Massachusetts Boston and collaborate with the department of Dispute Resolution and received assistance and support from the office of the International and Transnational Affairs (OITA) through the advisors and programming in their office. My academic Adviser at UMass, Boston was Prof. Darren Kew who is studying also the dynamics of 9politics in Nigeria. Studying in the United States, I have come across a number of highly experienced scholars in UMass, Boston and throughout the country. I have been able to learn and share a lot academically with these scholars.
While at UMass Boston I was able to deliver a lecture on “Assessing Democracy, Conflict Strategy Mechanism and Peace-building in Nigeria” at the office of the International and Transnational Affairs (OITA) during the celebration of the International Education Week at UMass, Boston, November 8-10, 2010. I was also invited by Michael Keating to deliver a lecture on “Democracy Building across ethno religious divide in Nigeria” in The New School in Manhattan, New York on November 11, 2010. I will also be delivering a lecture on “Sustainable Environmental Issues in Nigeria” in a Nashville Seminar in late February 2011. In addition, I was able to attend numerous conferences and workshops in the topic of conflict studies while at UMass, Boston and I was also able to attend a course on “Conflict Prevention: West Africa” at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC in December, 2010.
Some of my academic publications include: The Dynamics of Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Jos, Plateau State, in Trends and Tensions in Managing Conflicts, Society for Peace Studies and Practice, Abuja 2010; Civil Society and Democratization Process in Nigeria, in journal of Legislative Studies, Institute of legislative studies, University of Abuja, August 2009 Vol. 1, No. 2; Economic Liberalization and the Sustainability of Democracy in Nigeria, in the Nigerian Journal of Political Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria 2005; The Executive – Legislative Relations in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic in the Nigerian Journal of Research and Production, Enugu State University of Technology, Nigeria 2002.
UMB’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences partnered with Health for Nations and local Kenyan partners in service-learning project with a research protocol entitled “Kenya Heart and Sole: The Afya Njema Project.” The purpose of this project is to partner with Kenyan nurses from two schools of nursing and one clinic to assess the prevalence of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in rural Central Kenya and to assess ways in which a community based, culturally relevant prevention and treatment program focused on community engagement and self-management could be implemented in the communities of central Kenya. Led by faculty Dr. Eileen Stuart-Shor (Assistant Professor, Ph.D., ANP., & FAAN) and Ph.D. student Mercy Kamau (RN, BSN), as the second year of the project, 12 undergraduate students from the College of Nursing, Health Sciences, and one Pre-med student (Public Health major) from UMass Amherst participated in the project.
The project has been a remarkable success for both student learning and research agenda. Dr. Eileen Stuart-Shor indicated that the research data gathered from the project is being analyzed and will be used to propose clinical and policy recommendations in collaboration with UMB’s community partners. They are already in the process of planning for next year trip as well as proposing culturally relevant interventions and prevention strategies at the community and policy level.
Examples of student global service learning outcome from the “Kenya Heart and Sole: The Afya Njema Project”.
It is difficult to put into words the feelings I had when leaving Africa, because I have never been to a place which has moved me so much emotionally. Every day was filled with new sights, new experiences and new faces of people that needed well deserved help. With each opportunity presented it allowed for students to take a hard look at what challenges this culture faces as well as how to operate in an environment that is afforded such limited resources. I very rarely went to sleep each night, without wondering how people could live in such dire straits and possibly maintain good health. For me, aside from gaining life experience from this excursion to Africa, the most meaningful part of the trip for me was realizing that my education at the University of Massachusetts Boston allowed me to educate the people of Africa. One of the most apparent deficits in the people of Africa was the lack of knowledge. The patients that we assessed had little to no education about healthcare and illness’s that were directly affecting them on a daily basis. My education allowed me to give the patients valuable information and make them more aware about how to help themselves. In Africa, we as students were able to relay much of which have learned over the past two semesters to people that have never heard anything about healthcare. It was refreshing and extremely rewarding to be able to speak knowledge to open ears that were eager to learn and wanted the information. I am fortunate to bring back a new found confidence in my abilities as a nursing student and a deeper understanding into another culture, which I knew very little about. This experience has allowed me to acquire skills that I would not have wanted to learn in any text book, because actively playing a role in making a difference in people’s lives is something that needs to be done “hands on”. I will cherish this trip for a lifetime because I was able to make a difference in the lives of many. (SJ, undergraduate student UMB, July 2009)
...It is difficult to put into words the feelings I had when leaving Africa, because I It is difficult to differentiate what exactly was my most meaningful experience while in Kenya. We accomplished so much, and were exposed to so many new things, that I cannot easily determine what event made the most impact on me. It was amazing to feel so empowered by being able to help so many people that knew virtually nothing about not only cardiovascular problems and diabetes, but health in general. I remember one gentleman in particular, who will forever remind me of the help that is needed in Kenya. He was 75 years old, without a full set of teeth, and walking with a limp. His blood pressure was high enough to put him in the category of stage 2 hypertension, his right knee was swollen, and he stated his joints hurt all over. When I recommended diet and lifestyle changes (less starches, less manual labor, etc.) he laughed and stated he didn’t have enough money. He needed to eat a cheap diet, and he needed to work hard to support his family. We talked a little longer and he was extremely appreciative of the advice he was offered, said “God bless you, you are doing a good thing,” but as he left, I wondered if I had really given him any help. Although I know we helped so many people with our education and screenings, this man reminds me that we still have work to do, and the thought of him will continue to drive me to do what is in my power to help those that need it, whether in Kenya, or here in the United States. (NK, undergraduate nursing student, UMB).
By Laura Bozeman, Ph.D.
UMass Boston, Graduate College of Education, is now engaged with National Taiwan Normal University and National Tainan University to offer English Braille and Music Braille through online courses as well as scholarship for the students.
The Northeast Regional Center for Vision Education (NERCVE) at UMass Boston announces an exciting collaboration with universities and the community in Taiwan, ROC. UMass Boston is now engaged with National Taiwan Normal University and National Tainan University to offer English Braille and Music Braille through online courses.
Dr. Moonset Yu (picture on the left), a long-time adjunct faculty in the UMass Vision Studies program, moved from her position at Perkins School for the Blind, to Monterey, CA, then back to her home in Taipei, Taiwan. Dr. Yu has taught Music Braille for the UMass program and assisted with the translation of the Braille I course to foster cultural opportunities through bilingual education for graduate students in the two Taiwan universities.
English is critically important in Taiwan and children are frequently bilingual. Dr. Yu views American Braille as easier for students with visual impairments to learn given the emphasis on English literacy. Through Dr. Yu’s enthusiasm about the UMass Vision Studies program and her desire to foster braille literacy, NERVCE received a $7,800 USD grant from the Taiwan Lions Club to provide scholarship support for the first collaborative cohort. Ten students from the National Taiwan Normal University and the National Tainan University are currently enrolled in the Braille I class through Blackboard Vista with support from Dr. Yu. The Music Braille course for Fall 2009.
This relationship offers opportunities for potential collaboration in other area as well. The technology supports cross-continental experiences and community engagement across cultures to explore the similarities and differences that foster growth among all participants.