Africana Institute Director Dr. Akil Khalfani flanked by Burkina Faso visitors Seydou Sinka (left) and Apollinaire Ouedraogo (222213)
Credit: Essex County College photo

Charge d’Affaires Seydou Sinka, from the Embassy of Burkina Faso, and Deputy Counsel General Apollinaire Ouedraogo visited Essex County College’s Africana Institute last Friday to discuss possible joint education programs.

Dr. Akil Khalfani, director of the Africana Institute, said the college will continue to have more formal dialogues with Burkina Faso officials to identify the types of educational programs they can develop.

“We will identify any challenges and put together the type of programs we need,” Khalfani said. “Ultimately, we would like to have an exchange program.”

During the discussion, Sinka noted that when he was a student in the early 1990s, Burkina Faso only had one public university. Today, the West African nation has 10 public and private colleges, and the demand for students to go to college is high.

“We need this kind of partnership,” he said, adding that his nation would benefit from students educated in the technology fields, singling out renewable energy as one example.

During last month’s annual “Bridging the Gap” program, Essex students were able to Skype with students from the University of Nigeria. The Africana Institute has run several summer trips to Africa, including South Africa in 2008 and Ghana in 2012, with a trip planned next year to Nigeria. In addition, representatives from a number of African nations have visited the college.