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CONTACT: Dr. Walter Opello, 312-2118
Feb. 12, 2003
SUNY OSWEGO INKS AGREEMENT WITH UNIVERSITY IN BENIN
OSWEGO -- SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley and her counterpart at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin have signed an exchange agreement that will provide opportunities for faculty, and perhaps students as well, from the two institutions to trade places and learn from one another, according to Dr. Walter Opello, director of international education at Oswego.
Dr. Alfred Frederick, professor of curriculum and instruction at Oswego, laid the foundation for the agreement. He has received two Fulbright awards to lecture and conduct research in Benin in recent years. The University of Abomey-Calavi is the national university of the West African country.
"What's happening is that out of this Fulbright experience, a whole host of things have materialized," Opello said of the interactions that have taken place between Oswego and Abomey-Calavi so far, with more in the works. "That's the whole idea of the Fulbright program."
Frederick and Opello traveled to Benin in December, Frederick to present the results of research on Benin's educational system and Opello to "explore the possibilities of the relationship and for getting faculty and potentially students going in both directions," he said.
Both men also shared their expertise. Frederick gave a three-day workshop at the university on effective teaching strategies in the multicultural classroom.
Opello spoke at the university on American higher education and the path to the doctorate. He also spoke at the Cultural Center of the American Embassy, delivering a critique of America's unilateralist foreign policy and its implications for West Africa.
The relationship between the two universities grew as Frederick undertook research on Benin's secondary school curriculum during his two Fulbright years there. He involved researchers at both institutions. In addition to faculty at both institutions, "I included my graduate students both here and there in this research," Frederick said.
At Oswego, members of the research team included Robert Schell, Dr. Michael Ameigh, Dr. Bernard Boozer and Dr. Tracy Lewis.
"We developed certain recommendations based on the research findings for improving the schooling process at the secondary level in Benin," Frederick said.
The relationship between Oswego and Abomey-Calavi continues to develop. Opello has proposed that Dr. David Conrad, professor of history at Oswego, teach a two-week workshop on conducting research into a culture's oral tradition. Benin's Ministry of Education has proposed sending four educators to Oswego for a summer of studying educational administration, teaching methods and technology in the classroom.
Opello said he values the growing relationship with the Benin university. "It's important for the internationalizing of this campus and to make this campus and the people of Central New York more aware of the African people," he said.
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