Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Sharing the Wealth by Sharing the Knowledge

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Sharing the Wealth by Sharing the Knowledge

Article excerpt

CHICAGO--African nations are looking to

colleges and universities in the United States

to help solve the continent's problems of

poverty, insecurity and a lack of government

accountability, a member of the Ugandan

Parliament said here recently.

"We want to take technology at any

level," said Manuel Pinto, who is also a

member of the New York-based

Parliamentarians for Global Action.

Elaborating on his wish list, Pinto added:

"We want programs such as life skills, simple

math, communication skills,

supervising work, record keeping and

transactions, and simple agriculture projects

to produce high-yield crops. We want these

to link up with African colleges and

universities in partnerships to provide

vocational and industrial training."

According to Pinto, the partnerships are

necessary to ensure that African nations

benefit through associations with American


"Often researchers come to Africa to do

work that benefits them and not us and many

times they don't even publish what they

find," he explained.

Pinto's invitation to American universities

came during a conference at the University of

Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The conference was

called to begin a process through which

universities and colleges can assist in

economic and human development around the


About seventy government officials,

academicians, union leaders and students from

the United States, Africa and Europe attended

the conference, titled Human Development

and Economic Growth.

The 1996 Human Development Report

prepared by the United Nations Development

Program (UNDP), the world's anti-poverty

agency, was the centerpiece of the two-day

conference that was held earlier this month. It

was the first time the annual report, initially

published in 1990, had been presented at a

campus in the United States.

The conference was sponsored by the

PEOPLE Program (Public Elected Officials

and Others Providing Leadership and

Exchange) in Chicago and UIC's Institute of

Government and Public Affairs, the Institute

for Research on Race and Comparative Public

Policy, and the College of Urban Planning and

public Affairs.

The conference is also connected to a

meeting held in May at UIC which discussed

the role of Black intellectuals and the Black

community in policy formation, organizers


The report ranks developed and developing

countries based on a human

development index that measures life

expectancy, educational attainment and

income. For example, the index ranks the

United States as first in the world, but if

African Americans were measured alone they

would be ranked thirty-first in the world--comparable

to Trinidad and Tobago. In past

reports, males in Bangladesh have been ranked

with higher life expectancies than African

American males in Harlem.

In opening remarks, Djibril Diallo, the

UNDP's director of public affairs, said, "We

strongly feel that unless people in rich and

poor countries work together to build a more

equitable society, the transition to the

twenty-first century will be fraught with

insurmountable problems for all countries."

Through a network of 134 countries, the

UNDP supports development activities in

more than 170 nations and territories,

according to Diallo, who explained, "Our main

areas of focus are poverty eradication, job

creation, advancement of women, protection

of the environment and good governance. …

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