This summer, I joined a group of master's and doctorate students for a 3-credit graduate course (Leadership in International Contexts of Tanzania (EDLD 869)) offered through the University of St. Thomas International Graduate Program. I was so thrilled to take the course and immerse myself into the Tanzanian culture as a way to learn more about the challenges that national, regional and local leaders of Tanzania face as they negotiate development in one of the poorest countries in the world.
On the trip I was accompanied by Dr. Artika Tyner '06, former law clinical faculty and now faculty at the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling, and Dr. Bongila Jean Pierre, a professor in the UST Graduate School of Education.
During the trip, we visited different government institutions including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the State House of the United Republic of Tanzania. I had a chance to interview the Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Bernard K. Membe, on several issues ranging from governance, education, economy and health care. I presented a gift on behalf of the University of St. Thomas delegation.
The trip also included a visit to the State House of the United Republic of Tanzania where the UST delegation met the Chief Secretary Hon. Ambassador Y. Sefue, former ambassador of Tanzania to the United States and Canada. During the meeting with Ambassador Sefue, we discussed several topics including foreign investment, health care growth, development of education, the current constitutional review process of Tanzania and global leadership. I was able to present a gift to Ambassador Sefue on behalf of the UST delegation.
The course was life-changing for me on so many levels. I was able to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of the economic and governance challenges facing transitional democracies by looking at Tanzania as a model for East Africa and the rest of Africa in general. Most importantly, the trip gave me a deeper understanding of my African heritage through cross-cultural learning through interacting with the people of Tanzania.
Alex Migambi is a certified student attorney, African regional coordinator of the UST Law ADR Research Network, and rising 3L.