International delegation takes lessons home from visit


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (September 19, 2012) — The Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN)/Tuskegee University Summit concluded today. The three-day event taught young people from more than a dozen nations about Tuskegee’s research and extension outreach practices, partnerships and agricultural enterprises.

Thierno Thiam, special assistant to the president for global initiatives & assistant professor of political science, said he felt it was important to have the university be a first-time host for the summit because Tuskegee had a unique perspective to offer. 

“As young entrepreneurs, they had to come here to be exposed to what Tuskegee is doing,” said Thiam, the summit committee’s chair. “Tuskegee is not an island by itself, but it is a place where ideas actually do translate in the real world for the betterment of our people.”

Before extensive tours of historic sites and the city, Tuskegee University President, Gilbert L. Rochon, welcomed the delegation at an opening breakfast Monday. 

“I think it’s really significant that we have an opportunity to serve as hosts for the Global Youth Innovation Network,” Rochon said. “… So it’s very fortuitous that these stars seem to align at the same time to allow for the cross-fertilization of ideas and I am very confident that you will find Tuskegee University to be not only very hospitable, but intellectually challenging and a source of inspiration.”

Lessons from Tuskegee

The summit ended Tuesday evening after a reception and closing ceremony. During the night, many of the participants networked and shared the lessons learned from their trip. 

Summit participant, Nick Zemura from Zimbabwe, serves as a global ambassador for the Phelps Stokes Fund, an international non-profit organization. He said he was pleased to see the sense of community at Tuskegee, but said that spirit has not limited the university’s global aspirations. 

“I like Tuskegee being worldly and having so many partnerships in different parts of the world, in the past and the present. I like their approach,” Zemura said.

Tiburce Chaffa, a social entrepreneur from Benin, said he learned more about the significance of connection at the summit. 

“The first thing is the need to stay connected to the community if we want to have a greater impact,” Chaffa said. “To come up with innovative solutions for ourselves in partnership with ourselves. ”

Jasmyne Gilbert from Oklahoma City, Okla. served as one of Tuskegee’s student facilitators for the event. The senior English major said the summit helped to expand her outlook. 

“I think it’s important for students, especially young entrepreneurs, to get ideas for your business. But, to also see how similar you are no matter where you may be,” Gilbert said. “The human condition is the same everywhere else. You need to reach out to these people across the globe to expand your business.”

Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN)/Tuskegee University Summit participants pose at the closing ceremony Tuesday.

During the summit, participants toured the university's classrooms and laboratories.

Farmer Al Hooks opened up his operation in Shorter, Ala. for a summit tour focused on agricultural production and distribution.

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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