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Trips to Africa Celebrate Duquesne Involvement, Engender Additional Ties

Three Duquesne University emissaries recently traveled to Africa, looking to forge new connections in West Africa while celebrating ties between the University and the Spiritan International School of Theology (SIST) in Nigeria.

The Rev. Elochukwu Uzukwu, C.S.Sp., the Pierre Schouver Endowed Chair; Dr. Gerald Boodoo, director of the Center for African Studies; and Dr. George Worgul, University coordinator for academic programs in Africa, made their trips in December. Uzukwu and Worgul delivered keynotes at a conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of SIST. Uzukwu was the founding rector and Worgul served as chair of theology when the affiliation began in 1989.  

Worgul, who has undertaken five visits to SIST in the last eight years, hopes that others will make the connection between Africa and the Bluff. "Now we are poised to expand our efforts in East and West Africa in academic projects that can engage the entire Duquesne academic community," he said.

Additionally, Worgul undertook preliminary visits to the Spiritan University College in Ejisu, Ghana, and the Spiritan University in Nneochi, Nigeria. Boodoo investigated study abroad possibilities in Ghana, seeking partners for study abroad courses in Africa, starting in the summer of 2014. These core classes would be open to all undergraduates, geared especially to those opting for a minor in African Studies.

"Every Spiritan I spoke with saw their efforts in tertiary education as a way to serve the poor and marginalized and transform society for the good of all," he noted, imagining the day when an international consortium of Spiritan colleges and universities would share resources, experience, faculty, students and vision.

"What they want to do is make a real difference in their countries," Worgul said. "When you are around the Spiritans, you feel this energy that they will succeed. The work of the Spirit will not be thwarted."

The efforts seek to further realize Duquesne's strategic plan calling for greater involvement with Africa.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.