Speaker coming Oct. 25 for International Year: Liberia

When Joanne Dudgeon, a history and geography instructor at the Ankeny DMACC campus, became involved for the first time with the DMACC International Year campaign, she was intent on bringing knowledge about the continent of Africa to the forefront.

With Africa as the target continent, Liberia was an easy choice.  The United States has ties there, it is an area recovering from the ebola virus and civil war, and has a rich political history including election of the first female president in Africa. 

In fact, Liberia’s next election was held on Oct. 10 and may be the first peaceful passage of power from one president to another in 77 years. 

One of Dudgeon’s goals as the committee chair this year is to get students actively engaged.

She said, “College is more than just sitting in a classroom.  This is really part of the college experience.”

Dudgeon encourages students to attend speakers, events, and participate in course work related to our, as she said, “globalized world where the student sitting next to you in class may be an international student and you don’t even know it.”

Students have likely been hit with emails and seen flyers around campus in relation to Liberia:  purchasing a T-shirt designed by DMACC graphic arts student Brandon Roman contributes to the non-profit Nothing but Nets, there are speakers and panels to attend like Dr. Claude Clegg’s discussion on Oct. 25, and even free materials for students whose professors have chosen to integrate “The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood,” by Helene Cooper into their classroom activities.

Eden Pearson, an English instructor who has chosen to use Cooper’s book, and Miranda Gauthier, a biology professor who emphasized the importance of malaria prevention through the use of nets in her microbiology classes, illustrate that discussing Liberia and maintaining an international perspective is relevant in virtually every subject arena.   

Students will have the opportunity to further expand their knowledge of Liberia through an Honors seminar in the spring semester which will cover everything from Liberian music with Jim Loos to history with Joseph Danielson and even film with Alan Hutchinson.  For foodies, there will be a gourmet meal focused on Liberian cuisine in April as well.

Dr. Claude Clegg will be speaking Oct. 25 at 10:10 a.m. in the building six auditorium.

“Every person has a story,” Dudgeon said; she is actively seeking Liberians for a panel and is also marketing the Facebook group in an effort to keep students and faculty informed. “And every country has a story.”

This year, Dudgeon hopes DMACC will make Liberia’s story a part of its own.

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