Dear Study-Tour Participants,

Bon Voyage and best wishes to each of you! This is to convey my great support and enthusiasm for your historic study-tour. This study-tour is a magnificent example of the power of partnerships. I am deeply moved, as I know you are, by all the creative visions that have led to this study tour. You are also building on the successful, inaugural study-tour from last summer, the cross-national conference, exchanges and related developments that have evolved since then. Each of you has a wonderful opportunity to learn about many creative polices, programs and practices. Each of you also play a pivotal role in building a foundation for increasing collaborations in research, international exchanges, field placements and internships, joint degrees and life long friendships. We look forward to learning about your journey and thank you for your role in building cross- national exchanges, collaborations and shared visions for future interactions.


Katherine Briar-Lawson, Ph.D
Dean and Professor

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A. Introduction and Background
The project entitled "U.S. - African Partnerships to build Stronger Communities" is in the second year of its four-year phase. The project is designed as intervention for change and development. Its' goals are to:
o Build stronger communities
o Educate and empower a new generation of community leaders
o Promote international cultural understanding and exchange
o Maintain interdisciplinary and international partnerships
o Use research as an intervention for community building
A collaborative and educational approach underpins the overall project. The major activities, which help the U.S. - Africa Partnerships for Stronger Communities Project to achieve its mission and goals, include:
1. A Summer Study Tour to Africa
2. A Virtual Focus Group Meeting
3. A Collaborative/Partnership
All three activities listed above include an international/interdisciplinary/collaborative/educational approach. Other perspectives that help to direct these activities are systems and strengths perspectives. The worth and dignity of all people is a value that underlines the entire project. It is with this background that U.S. - Africa Partnerships to Building Stronger Communities Project:
o Promotes international and cultural understanding
o Encourages sharing and exchanging information
o Supports interdisciplinary and international partnerships for research and publication
o Uses community-based research (e.g. action, empowerment and participatory research methods) as an intervention for community building
o Uses research and publication to held sustain the goals and missions of the overall project
o Helps to better prepare leaders to advocate for change, especially as it relates to building stronger U.S. - Africa Partnerships
A. Action Learning and Action Research
The U.S. - Africa Partnerships to build Stronger Communities is action oriented. An expected outcome of the project is the involvement and/or advocacy of the partnerships in follow-up activities for planned changes.
To generate this type of outcome, the project's participants take part in action learning which includes:
o Hands on experimental learning
o Learning from peers
o Learning through a participatory process and
o Reflecting learning
The participants are also introduced to action research through:
o Discovery, information, data collection, analysis, evaluation and feedback
o Participation and collaboration
o Developing a planned strategy for change
C. Accomplishments during the first year
A number of accomplishments have resulted from the first year (2000) of this project. Some of these accomplishments include:
o Workshops with urban youth regarding conflict resolutions
o Colloquiums on U.S. - Africa Partnerships
o Research and publications partnerships with African Scholars
o Co-sponsorships of project activities with the University of South Africa (Pretoria) and the Peninsula Technikon (Bellville)
o Collaboration with NGO's interested on supporting Africa (e.g. the African American Institute, the National Summit on African and the Loka Institute)
o Invitation to African Scholars and community based practitioners to be guest speakers at the University, Rutgers University and Council on Social Work Education's Annual Meeting
o Linkage with other disciplines such as education and public health
o Meetings with State Legislators to encourage better support of U.S. - Africa relations

Study Tour Director Shirley Jones DSW
Study to South Africa and Ghana - July 13th to July 29, 2001
Inaugurated Study Tour to South Africa - July 12th to July 27, 2000

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[2001 ITC Student PenPal Letters]   [National Summit on Africa]