Focus on Africa sheds light on international scholastic research at the University of Missouri

Attendees of the Focus on Africa Event witnessed the fire, determination, and passion that two African scholars have for socioeconomic and climate issues impacting developing countries and Missouri.

Tunde Ojewola opened the discussion, held on Sept. 5, 2018, in the Memorial Union on the MU campus. Ojewola is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. His researches why people reject mainstream climate science and how that changes across the state of Missouri. Originally from Nigeria, Ojewola has found his passion for climate change from his personal experience with droughts — both in Nigeria and in Missouri.

“Climate change is a global issue; it affects a lot of things: it affects people, it affects resources, it affects the whole lot,” Ojewola said.

The impacts of access to fresh water and new roads on rural communities of Zambia are the focus of Chiwali Mwambazi, a Nelson Mandela Washington Fellow currently serving with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Mwambazi has found his passion for economic development in the infrastructure of the rural communities of Zambia.

“The best benefit that I have gotten from this is the networking that I have had with different people from diverse backgrounds,” Mwambazi said. “Some of them have promised me solutions to the problems I was talking about.”

Advocacy for socioeconomic and climate issues isn’t the only reason for the Focus on Africa Event. This event gives community members, students, faculty and industry professionals the ability to explore Africa, said Jenifer Pilz, a volunteer with the Africa Interdisciplinary Studies Hub. Pilz said the event benefits study abroad programs and encourages students to pursue research fellowships and programs.

The lecture series works alongside the Africa Hub to promote understanding and break down the stereotypes many have about Africa. Focus on Africa is sponsored by the MU Office of Research and CAFNR International Programs.

It showcases the work of African scholars, increases international scholastic diversity within the University of Missouri and models MU’s Statement of Values: Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, and Excellence.  The next Focus on Africa Event is Nov. 7 from noon to 1 p.m. in Memorial Union S110.

Ryan Siegel

About the Author Ryan Siegel

I grew up on a small dairy farm in central Missouri, and that is where I found my passion for agriculture. My passion continued to grow for the industry once I joined my school’s FFA Chapter. It was the informative and persuasive speeches that led me to pursue communications and education as a Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE). When I was in high school I served as an educator for the Ag Ed on the Move Program. With this program I taught over 75 third grade students in central Missouri about the importance of the agriculture industry in their daily lives. I also managed multiple agriculture Facebook pages and found a passion and spark for mass media communications. I still have a passion for communications and education.