Last spring, four years after they were abducted from a school in Nigeria, more than 100 girls released by Boko Haram were attending the American University of Nigeria (AUN). This is the same university, located in Adamawa State and known for its focus on sustainable development in Africa, that launched a new partnership with Marlboro College in March.
“Marlboro is committed to offering students international experiences that expand their horizons and launch them into a life of meaningful work,” says President Kevin, who serves on the board of directors at AUN and visited Nigeria in March to sign a memorandum of understanding with the university. “We already have partnerships in China, Mexico, Germany, Slovakia, and Czech Republic, as well as with domestic programs, and we are thrilled that our first collaboration in Africa is at AUN.”
President Kevin was introduced to AUN through his longtime colleague Bob Pastor, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer and a writer and member of the National Security Council. Pastor helped establish AUN, working closely with its founder, Atiku Abubakar, former vice president of Nigeria.
“I worked with Atiku and Bob, in my role as president of the National Peace Corps Association, to launch the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award,” says Kevin, who returned to Nigeria in May to speak at the installation of AUN’s new president, Dawn Dekle, and to meet with Abubakar. “This award recognizes individuals like Atiku, whose lives were influenced by their interactions with Peace Corps Volunteers, leading to a life of service to community and country.”
The specific goals of the cooperative relationship with AUN are to cultivate engaged learning between students and faculty from both institutions through student exchanges. The partnership will also provide for other joint academic endeavors, such as summer programs or faculty exchanges of mutual benefit.
“AUN is an ideal partner for Marlboro, with its focus on arts and sciences, but also technology and entrepreneurship, in the interest of future sustainable development,” says Maggie Patari, Marlboro’s director of global learning and international services. “We are fortunate to have this new partner providing the skills and leadership to help students address the social and economic challenges in the region and the world.”
See the New York Times article about the abducted girls, now young women, attending AUN, including powerful and moving portraits.