Liberian university president encourages student and faculty exchange


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (December 5, 2013) — In the spirit of educational exchange, Joseph Isaac, president of AME University in Monrovia, Liberia, visited Tuskegee today. Issac, who is currently touring American institutions of higher learning, came to the university to discuss possible collaborations and student and faculty exchange opportunities.

Joseph Issac, Massa Issac, and Thierno Thiam
His all-day visit included meetings with the deans of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health; College of Arts and Sciences; and College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences. He also met with Tuskegee University Acting President Dr. Matthew Jenkins. 

“We are interested in building direct relationships with institutions outside of this country,” said Thierno Thiam, assistant professor of political science and special assistant to the president for global initiatives. “Liberia has an emerging young leadership. ”

Issac has been president of his small urban community institution for about six months. During an afternoon forum with Tuskegee students and faculty members, Issac said he wishes to expand his university through collaborations with other institutions and increase the number of international students. He also promoted the potential for student and faculty exchanges with Tuskegee. 

“Many jobs are being created outside of this country. You should be open-minded to finding your passion in other countries,” Issac said. 

Issac also gave the audience information about Liberia and education in the country. He said the country is in development and rebuilding since officially ending its civil war in 2003. He said that, although the country is at peace now, the past instability created a unique issue for Liberian universities. He said the average age of college students is about 25 to 30 because the war halted education. So, institutions have to be more flexible in accommodating non-traditional students. 

“It is important that a generation from [America] gets exposed to this type of learning paradigm to see how students twice their age are coping,” Issac said. 

An exchange program to Liberia could be mutually beneficial, according to Issac. He said Tuskegee students and faculty could expose Liberian students to a higher level of education and be a helpful influence. 

“You have to be in a service frame of mind when you do this,” Issac said. “It’s an opportunity to discover something different, something new.”

Issac answers student's question.

Issac talks with students at forum.

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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