Monday, 16 November 2009

Fulbright scholar comes home

AFULBRIGHT, Professor Felix Famoye, who was expected in Nigeria in August, will now be home in January.
Famoye, a faculty member in the mathematics department at Central Michigan University (CMU), was offered the award in April.
Fulbright award recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievements, and demonstrated leadership potentials in their fields.
“I accepted the award, and then I heard that all public institutions in Nigeria were shut down,” Famoye said. “I was supposed to be there for 10 months.”
Due to the four-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of the universities, Famoye will have less time in his homeland. “I will be at the University of Lagos.” The University of Ibadan alumnus, who has been at CMU since 1988, said he is excited to be back home to teach faculty and students more “Western world” styles of learning. “When I was in school, I never received one assignment or one quiz,” he said. “We only had one final examination.”
Famoye, who teaches statistics, said he hopes to make a contribution by working in the areas of critical development, statistical consulting, and technology. “I will be there from January to July, the spirit of scholarship is really good, and it is an opportunity to share the culture from here. I hope to encourage an exchange between the two universities.”
Famoye would like to see more “cultural mingling” where students from CMU would come to Nigeria and vise versa. He described himself as an energy junkie, who is used to running three computers to do his research calculations. “Sometimes, there is no power, and that is a big setback that I am going to face,” Famoye said. “When I applied, I was planning to take my wife and son, who is 12. But with no public schools going on, I have decided to come alone.”
Famoye was born in Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, despite English being the official language; he still speaks his native language, Yoruba.

REACH fights HIV/AIDS pandemic

RESEARCH Alliance for Combating HIV/AIDS (REACH), a collaborative effort between the University of Ibadan and Northwestern University, Evanston in the United States of America, recently undertook a research in different communities, which include Badeku, Yemetu, Atibo (all in Oyo State), Epe (Lagos) and Makurdi to examine the exposure and prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
But it turned out to be more than just a research effort as Theatre Arts students of the University of Ibadan joined in the awareness and fact-finding mission. A drama was presented to bring information about the deadly virus closer to the people in the communities.
The play titled Grave Encounter and which the manager of the troupe, John Oladejo, translated into local dialects, had HIV/AIDS characterised, even as the lead character, Isaac Israel, exposed the causes, prevention and way out of the pandemic.
The programme manager for REACH, Dr. Olajide Rabak, said they had, over the past two years, conducted research in several communities in Nigeria, “and it is part of our effort to disseminate the result of our research to the community we visited. As part of our effort to relay our message, we decided to incorporate this drama presentation, and from the turnout of the people, it is obvious that the message was well received. We only hope some of these interventions would go a long way in curbing the spread of the virus.”
Another member of the team, Nkem Dike from the US, said REACH is principally using social science methods to find out more about HIV/AIDS, understand the community better and learn how cultural factor will help to lessen the spread of AIDS.
“We incorporate drama, because we see it as a more effective means of spreading the message in a community with mixed audience. With drama, one will capture all the segments of the society.”
She further advised everyone to use preventive methods while going for HIV testing and counseling.

ASUU commends students for support during strike
THE University of Ibadan branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), in a statement released last week, expressed its appreciation and gratitude to all students for their support and understanding during the three-month nationwide strike.
The letter, signed by the chairman of ASUU, UI Chapter, Dr. Demola Aremu read: “It would be recalled that ASUU embarked on the strike action after all entreaties failed, in order to encourage government to sign the agreement it willingly and voluntarily entered into after over two years of intensive negotiation meant to stem the scourge of brain drain and reverse the decay in the educational sector.
“Let it be on record that your conduct during the strike, especially by resisting all pressures to thwart our collective resolve to enhance the human capacity of the nation for development in an increasingly competitive global environment, has affirmed your resolve to stand by the noblest of ideals in the current state of anomaly in Nigeria.”
The body then wished all students success in the ongoing examination exercise.

Sussex university students vote to boycott Israeli goods
STUDENTS of the University of Sussex, England, have voted to boycott Israeli goods. The decision follows the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, which calls upon the Israeli State to respect international law and end the occupation of Palestine.
In a campus-wide referendum, 56 per cent of students voted in favour of the boycott. The referendum was held by the University of Sussex Students’ Union (USSU), which represents the institution’s 11,000 students.
Goods from Israel will no longer be stocked in USSU shops on the university campus, and USSU will be lobbying the university administration to observe the boycott.
USSU also currently boycotts Coca-Cola and Nestle in protest at unethical business practices by those corporations.
Tom Wills, USSU President, said “Israel has broken more United Nations resolutions than any other state. No other Western-backed democracy has committed such egregious violations of international law, but the international community has failed to hold Israel to account.
“Sussex was one of the first universities to boycott South Africa during apartheid, and we hope that this will help kick-start an international movement on a similar scale to put pressure on Israel to end its oppression of the Palestinian people. We call on students at other universities to table boycott motions in their own unions.”
Earlier this year, the Israeli attack on Gaza triggered a resurgence in student activism in the UK, with a wave of sit-in protests at universities including Sussex. The student boycott comes after the Trades Union Congress (TUC) backed a boycott of Israeli settlement goods in September.

ITPAN donates equipment to MAPOLY’s Communication dept
THIS equipment is for the maximum benefits of the students,” said Busola Holloway, as he, and his Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) team, donated materials worth over N500,000, which included two cameras, an editing computer and lights to the communication department, at the end of a seminar held recently by the HND II students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY)’s Mass Communication department, also known as The Global Villagers.
The ITPAN crew conducted the two-day seminar, which dealt in details, issues on the theme, ‘Broadcasting/Narrowcasting Production and Techniques in Current Technologies’.
According to Holloway, broadcasting entails thorough training and discipline. He further promised that the body would be there for students whenever the need arises.
The institution’s Rector, Tokunboh Fowode, while welcoming the ITPAN crew, noted that the provision of facilities couldn’t be borne by the government alone.
He therefore called for more private sector intervention with the provision of funds and support for infrastructural and manpower development of tertiary institutions.
During the two day seminar, Stella Damasus-Nzeribe, a renowned actress and also member of the ITPAN team, gave a stirring discuss on rudiments of acting and what it takes to be good at it.
Also present at the occasion was the Chief of Staff to the Ogun State governor, Dr. Yomi Majekodunmi, who delivered a lecture on the role of governance in educational development. He donated the sum of N200,000 to the department for the procurement of a brand new generating set, which will be used to power the studio and make the equipments functional. He also gave N50,000, to the organisers of the event.
Other members of ITPAN, who spoke at the event include the Vice President, Mr. Yinka Akanbi, Michelle Bello, and Cartherina Bertolusi, from Italy, among others.
Accolades have since been pouring in from all quarters, to all members of the Global Village, for their initiative in putting up the event.

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