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>  News Releases >   2009 >   April

African college students gather for common goal: Return to Africa to foster development

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/03/09 • Media Contact: Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

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Many talented students in Africa attend college in the United States, but some do not return to their home countries, and this is a problem, according to Motema Letlatsa, a member of Dartmouth’s Class of 2012, from Lesotho. “If Africa is to develop, it needs all its resources, especially the well-trained human resources, which is what we, as African students are,” she says.

On April 10-12, Harambe Endeavor will host the Second-Annual Harambe Bretton Woods Symposium. Harambe Endeavor is an alliance of African students attending leading colleges in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia, and its goal is to contribute to the development of Sub-Saharan Africa. The event will take place on both the Dartmouth campus and at the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, N.H. It offers the students a chance to gather and learn from each other and from faculty and professionals who study or work in Africa.

Left-right:  Amma Serwaah-Panin '10, Christabell Makokha '11, and Motema Letlatsa '12 are all attending the Harambe Bretton Woods Symposium.
Left-right: Amma Serwaah-Panin '10, Christabell Makokha '11, and Motema Letlatsa '12 are all attending the Harambe Bretton Woods Symposium. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

“The symposium is meant to bring these students together, to introduce them to some of these professionals, and create a network that effectively facilitates information to where it’s needed,” says Letlatsa. “These students can also work with professionals back in their countries to initiate projects or provide ideas that are crucial to the development of the economy and standard of living.”

Okendo Lewis Gayle, president and co-founder of Harambe Endeavor, adds, “The students of today will be Africa’s business and economic and political leaders of tomorrow. It’s important for them to come together with this common goal.”

Speakers at this year’s event include Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel, an African telecommunications company; Obiageli Ezekwesili, Vice President of the World Bank’s Africa division; Jendayi Frazer, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, currently serves as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Representatives from African embassies in the U.S. will also be there.

Ken Yalowitz, the director of Dartmouth’s Dickey Center for International Understanding, is pleased to see such a broad effort made to connect African students studying abroad. “Prospects for African economic development can be significantly enhanced by Harambe’s efforts to encourage young, well-educated Africans to return home to work,” he says. Dartmouth has supported the event for the past two years.

Harambe Endeavor is also developing a Virtual Platform, which will be debuted at the Bretton Woods Symposium. It will support a global network of African professionals, providing a means to communicate, collaborate, and engage in building a coalition of support for Africa. “Our Virtual Platform will hopefully energize Africans all over the world, whether they are studying abroad or trying to start a business at home in Africa,” says Harambe Endeavor President Gayle. “It will be one of the legacies of the Bretton Woods event.”

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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