Malawi ambassador finds new friends at Northeast

by jamesc  4/28/2017 10:40:44 AM --  NORFOLK, NE – The charge of Northeast Community College to provide a globally competitive workforce took on added meaning this week when an important visitor was able to see the work for himself.

His Excellency Edward Yakobe Sawerengera, ambassador to the United States from the African Republic of Malawi, led a five-member delegation to Nebraska earlier this week; making several stops in Lincoln, Lindsay and Norfolk. On Wednesday, the group spent all-day on Northeast’s main campus to learn about the College and America’s higher education system.

“This visit to this place has actually opened my eyes. We have come here and we have learned,” Sawerengera said. “It has been great honor for me personally and I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Dr. (Michael) Chipps and others in making sure we should come. We have been humbled by our experiences here in Nebraska and it is my sincere hope that this visit will lead to a meaningful partnership.”

The trip was the result of Northeast’s work with local organizers of the Norfolk Schools in Malawi. While on a visit to Washington D.C. earlier this year, Chipps, president of Northeast, extended an invitation to the ambassador to visit Nebraska to see the work of a community college.

Dr. Joe Mtika, founder of Norfolk Schools in Blantyre, Malawi, said he continues to build a student base at his school. Now in its second year, it presently has an enrollment of 14 students. He said one-to-three students are planning to come to the United States next year to attend Northeast Community College.

Chipps said a number of nations would like to emulate the work of America’s community colleges, especially rural community colleges like Northeast.

“We have been approached numerous times by countries around the globe to assist them in forming rural community colleges because they see the enormous value in developing the middle skills workforce, which are essential for stabilizing and bolstering their national economies.”

Chipps said it was fortuitous to have the ambassador visit Northeast at this point in time as the College continues to expand its global outreach through Northeast’s Vision 2020 strategic plan and through its Center for Global Engagement.

“Northeast recognizes that our students and the business and industry sector need to be culturally aware and globally competitive to succeed. Through these endeavors, we have been working to internationalize the curriculum, provide exchange opportunities for our faculty and students so they can experience new cultures, increase the number of international students attending the College, and expand engagement of our international students with citizens of our local communities.”     

As part of the visit to Northeast, the Malawian delegation toured campus, making stops in the College Welcome Center, J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh College of Nursing, Applied Technology building, College farm and the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex.                                                              

Chipps cited the book, “The African Dream: From Poverty to Prosperity, written by former Malawi President Bingu Wa Mutharika, in describing a commonality between the wants and desires of the people of Malawi and the United States.

“Nebraska and Malawi are on separate continents, thousands of miles away, but we share the same hopes and dreams for our students,” he said. “We are more common than different. Whether it’s the African dream or the American dream, we want the same things for our families…how we get there may be different, but the needs are the same.” 

Chipps said he will give serious consideration to establishing a partnership with Malawi and see how it would dovetail with current major initiatives already underway at Northeast.

At the close of the day, Sawerengera invited Chipps and others to visit his homeland. 

“I want you to come to Malawi. I would like you to learn from us as we have learned from you.” 

The ambassador concluded by saying that he and his colleagues have learned much from their visit to Northeast Community College and Nebraska.

“We are going back happy people, hopeful people…and with new friends.”


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              PHOTO CUTLINE

 

Dr. Karen Weidner, director of nursing at Northeast Community College, shows a mannequin in a lab of the J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh College of Nursing to His Excellency Edward Yakobe Sawerengera, ambassador to the United States from the African Republic of Malawi, and Margaret Mwanza-Gadabu, counselor in the Malawian Embassy in Washington D.C., as part of a tour of the College on Wednesday. Northeast was one of several stops on the ambassador’s visit to Nebraska this week.

Posted In -- Norfolk, Nursing, O'Neill, President, Press Releases, South Sioux City, Special Events, West Point

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