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DukeEngage would like to congratulate the twelve Duke graduates recently named Fulbright Scholars. This year’s group of scholarship recipients includes six alumni of various DukeEngage programs, each of whom graduated last year. The former DukeEngage participants will be continuing their commitment to global outreach in countries all over the world, including South Africa, Germany, Nepal, Turkey, Malaysia and Taiwan. Carlton Allan and Inder Takhar both participated in DukeEngage in 2012, working in Uganda and Nicaragua, respectively. 2013 DukeEngage participants include Megan McCarroll (DukeEngage Kenya WISER), Reed McGinley-Stempel (DukeEngage Cape Town, South Africa), Sruti Pisharody (DukeEngage Jodhpur, India), and Anana Raghuraman (DukeEngage Egypt). The Fulbright Scholarship program allows recipients to promote intercultural exchange and mutual understanding in a broad range of international locations. The DukeEngage community is proud to recognize our program alumni for this incredible achievement. To read the full story, click here.
Two North Korean defectors recently reconnected with DukeEngage South Korea alumni to speak at Duke about their experiences living in and escaping from North Korea. The DukeEngage program in South Korea places students at the Malmangcho School to teach English. During the summer of 2105, the Duke students and the two refugees, Sam Kim and Bomhyang Lee, met and began planning this visit. The refugees’ talk was not only an inspirational story of reunion; it was also a valuable dialogue aiding in the elimination of stereotypes surrounding North Korean citizens. DukeEngage is happy to have helped bring the young defectors to campus. The Chronicle published an article about the visit and lecture (2/22/2016).
The DukeEngage community is saddened to hear of the passing of long-time community partner and friend, Elie Karma. Elie worked closely with DukeEngage students and faculty in Farendé, a north-eastern village of Togo, on community welfare projects. Under his leadership, students helped develop a cyber café by installing solar panels, batteries, and laptops in a building Elie had built with the help of his church. Participants in the DukeEngage Togo program were then able to teach computer and Internet skills to the school children of Farendé. He also led the creation of a latrine sanitation system, which aims to produce biogas, protein-rich spirulina, and algae, ultimately providing a source of electricity, nutrition, and income for his village. The range of Elie’s community projects reached far beyond his collaboration with DukeEngage. He also built and ran a kindergarten for children in his village, and aided the reforestation process by maintaining a large tree nursery.
According to DukeEngage faculty, staff and students, Elie constantly expressed the ambitious dreams he had for Farendé. “He was a visionary – he had big dreams and plans for developing his home village – and spent much of his life trying to bring those into being, despite limited resources,” says Professor Charlie Piot, leader of the Duke in Togo program. Piot also recounted that while attending the Community Partner Conference at Duke last year, Elie shared these aspirations, marveling at his Duke surroundings and proclaiming that Farendé could one day look the same. Elie inspired DukeEngage participants and leaders as he faced the challenges in his life courageously and with unwavering optimism.
Uzo Ayogu, a Duke student who worked and built a strong relationship with Elie during DukeEngage Togo 2014 noted that he “had a rare lust for life, that energy and fearlessness to dream and envision beyond what [his] reality showed.” Ayogu spoke of his own desire to follow in the footsteps of his dear friend, and someday touch and tangibly impact communities the way that Elie did. Despite struggling with sickle cell anemia, Elie persisted in working towards making Farendé a better place for its citizens, and encouraged those around him to do the same. Elie was not only deeply dedicated to his village but also to his wife, Simone, and their three children. We send our condolences to his family and community, and hope that new endeavors through DukeEngage Togo will continue his legacy of improving lives within Farendé.
During the final week of January, Duke University students were fortunate to receive a visit from 36 Chinese students from Zhuhai No. 9 Middle School. Each summer, Zhuhai becomes the home and workplace of a group of DukeEngage students; however this winter, the Duke community reciprocated by bringing its Zhuhai family to campus. After spending the week at area middle schools engaging in American culture, Zhuhai No. 9 Middle School students joined DukeEngage Zhuhai alumni at Duke for a day packed with activities.
This cultural exchange had its roots in both a global education initiative from New Garden Friends School, and the DukeEngage in Zhuhai program, which has fostered a strong relationship with the Chinese school over the past six years. This DukeEngage program encourages personal and creative growth by providing arts education and English lessons to middle school students. The visit granted Zhuhai No. 9 students and the DukeEngage alumni a chance to reunite with the friends they had made in China over the eight-week program duration.
Passionate alumni of the program worked to plan a fun day for the visiting students, including a trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium, a visit to the Nasher Museum, and a variety of artistic performances. Deja Blue, one of Duke’s a capella groups, sang for the students in the Duke Gardens before lunch at the Bryan Center.
Afterwards, at the Arts Annex, Zhuhai students enjoyed a dance showcase from various dance group members, as well as a Chinese Yo-yo performance by Felix Kung, and a contemporary dance solo from Riley Reardon. Each of the performances were led by DukeEngage Zhuhai alumni and enabled the middle school students to experience as much as the University as the day would allow.
Prof. Hsiao-Mei Ku, leader of the DukeEngage in Zhuhai program, later hosted more than 90 Duke and Zhuhai No. 9 students for Chinese food at her apartment on East Campus. She recounted how amazing it was to see the huge Zhuhai family come together to learn from and laugh with each other once again.
After transportation conflicts due to snow, Sagar Patel (DE Zhuhai 2015) took initiative to quickly plan a rescheduled visit. Patel recalled his 2015 summer in Zhuhai and stated that his love for the Chinese school, his host family, and his students motivated his leadership in preparing the visit. He hoped to provide his friends and students with an enriching American experience similar to the one he received in Zhuhai.
The Duke community agrees that Patel, Ku, and the rest of the DukeEngage in Zhuhai community succeeded in this goal, ensuring that Zhuhai No. 9 Middle School students had a chance to reconnect with their DukeEngage brothers and sisters before returning to China.