early October, researchers will hold a workshop at U.Va. to
present findings from SAFARI 2000, a major U.Va.-led African
atmospheric research project conducted two years ago in southern
Africa. Bob Swap (above), the U.Va. environmental sciences
professor who led the project, and members of his international
team of colleagues, won the group public service medal from
NASA this year for their work.
University finalizes plans for African consortium
By Fariss Samarrai
and four southern Africa universities launched a research and
education consortium in late July during a signing ceremony at
a historic Portu-
guese fort in Maputo, Mozambique.
university officials, including U.Va. Vice
President and Provost Gene Block, visited southern Africa,
toured universities and research facilities and field sites, and
met with African officials. U.Va. environmental sciences faculty
members presented seminars.
Mozambique cabinet ministers, Lidia Brito, minister for education,
science and technology, and John William Kachamila, minister for
the environment, attended the ceremony.
is a remarkable sense of positivism among our southern African
colleagues, said Hank Shugart, W.W. Corcoran Professor of
and director of U.Va.s Global Environmental Change Program.
has an upbeat attitude as we embark on this consortiums
Participating African universities include the University of Eduardo
Mondlane in Mozambique, the University of Botswana, and the universities
of Venda and the Witwatersrand in South Africa.
five universities will collaborate on environmental, health and
education initiatives throughout southern Africa. U.Va. has been
conducting environmental research and collaborating with African
universities for more than 25 years.
include developing innovative collaborative curriculums, including
faculty and student exchanges; creating cutting-edge international
distance education learning; upgrading research stations in Africa;
and convening meetings of transnational stakeholder groups to
translate research findings into informed environmental policy.
importance of the consortium agreement for U.Va. is that it brings
us into a regular working relationship with four African universities
that will provide unique research opportunities in environmental
and health sciences, said Block. It will also catalyze
new educational opportunities for our students and serve as a
test-bed for thematically focused distance education.
early October, researchers from consortium universities and government
and non-governmental agencies will hold a workshop at U.Va. to
present findings from SAFARI 2000, a major U.Va.-led African atmospheric
research project conducted two years ago in southern Africa.
Swap, the U.Va. environmental sciences researcher who led the
massive SAFARI project, and some members of his international
team of colleagues, will be awarded a group public service medal
from NASA later this month for their exemplary contributions to
NASAs research mission. The award will be presented to Swap
and his colleagues during a ceremony in Washington.
initiatives built on past work
consortium project, which will be led by U.Va.s digital
library, includes archiving and connecting information about land
use in southern Africa. This could include chronicling oral histories
of environmental change that could be compared with research data.
Members of the Department
of Anthropology may become involved with this work.
Department of Environmental Sciences led a real-time international
distance education seminar last fall for students at U.Va. and
in Africa. This fall, Shugart plans to teach a distant education
laboratory course in computer modeling for students in Africa.
Swap led a study abroad course in South Africa for 14 students
studying African culture and environment.
stations in Africa may be upgraded to include living facilities
for visiting students and faculty for long-term environmental
members will continue their community-building initiatives, crossing
borders to engage stakeholders in science-to-policy actions.
of the consortium hope to bring in several U.Va. schools and departments
to collaborate on new projects in research and education possibly
involving medicine, nursing, law, anthropology and law.