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Forum discusses trip to Africa


Indiana University Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret speaks on the recent IU delegation trip to Africa on Wednesday at the IU Auditorium. Luke Schram Buy Photos

Zaret reflected on the trip’s highlights during a forum Wednesday night in the IU Auditorium.

The primary goal of the trip was to connect with peer institutions in Africa to pursue new opportunities for IU, Zaret said.

The team departed Africa with numerous agreements, Zaret said, including parternships with Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, and Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The group visited the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, home of a large collection of anti-apartheid documents, Zaret said. He said he hopes IU’s social science fields can form a partnership with the school to gain access to this research.

The current deputy dean of research at the University of the Western Cape, Renfrew Christie, is an old friend of Zaret’s and helped move the historically black university into a top research institution, Zaret said.

Renfrew was incarcerated for five years for being the primary source of leaking information about South African attempts to gain nuclear weapons, Zaret said.

“There is a certain resilience of someone who is happy and pleasant after they go through an experience like that, and emerges to do great work at the University of the Western Cape,” Zaret said.

McRobbie and his team also visited the University of Pretoria, which IU has worked with for about 10 years. The universities agreed to explore opportunities in the areas of health sciences, human rights and assistance with African language instruction.

Within the past year, IU has funded about 200 students’ and faculty members’ trips to Africa for various research and teaching activities. About 200 African students currently attend IU, Zaret said.

He said the involvement of IU and the universities in Africa have been and will remain to be a “partnership of equals.”

“Now is the part of heavy lifting, trying to figure out where are the best opportunities?” Zaret said.

Follow reporter Ashlyn Bridgewater on Twitter @ash_bridgewater.

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