As the spring semester winds down, we’re busy preparing for a faculty delegation visit to Africa. Five faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences and I are traveling to Ghana and Namibia in the first week of May. This trip builds on relationships that individual Lehigh professors have established and cultivated for years.
We’re exploring opportunities to collaborate with the top educational institutions in both countries at all levels—teaching, research and student and faculty exchanges—to tackle problems of mutual interest that adversely affect people in those countries and the United States. Along with India, which another faculty delegation visited this January, Africa is a new area of focus for Lehigh.
Both Namibia and Ghana offer exciting opportunities for work in areas like sustainable development, Africana studies, gender issues, healthcare, water resources, ecology, and computer science and technology.
The institutional partnerships that develop from faculty visits like this are just one part of Lehigh’s international portfolio. They are complemented by collaborations that individual faculty members pursue on their own, as well as study abroad programs, student exchange, and international student recruitment.
The Lehigh community already has relationships with Africa in each of these categories. Sheilla Rukundo ’17 is one of 13 undergraduate students from the continent, and Lehigh is home to another nine African graduate students. Jake Puzycki ’14 and Kyle Lum ’15 are among 30 students who studied abroad there this year. And faculty members from all four colleges have conducted research projects, published papers and made presentations in Africa.
I’m excited to see how the new institutional partnerships that stem from the upcoming faculty visit can build on this existing foundation. And I look forward to watching Lehigh expand its international footprint even further. To get the most up to date news about our work in Africa and around the world, visit our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
Mohamed S. El-Aasser
Vice President and Associate Provost for International Affairs