My Work at the Congo Protestant UniversityApril 24, 2014
My inspiration for this collaborative capacity-building project with the Congo Protestant University (Université Protestante au Congo) began with my aunt and uncle, Mabel and John Ross, who were Disciples missionaries in the Congo for decades. I was witness to how their faith made an impact on the Congolese community that they served. I am implementing a strategic communications and capacity-building project at the Disciples’ partner organization, Congo Protestant University, with the full support of Rector Daniel Ngoy Boliya, Disciples Minister and Congo Protestant University President, and the Board and Council of Advisors of the North American Liaison Bureau whose members include Ben C. Hobgood, former interim Congo Protestant University President and Disciples Missionary to Congo. The University is deeply committed to the success of this project. As the University looks to position its students as the future leaders of Congo, a Christian education is the foundation of that success. I am thrilled to be serving the Congo Protestant University’s ministry as a development and communications short-term volunteer.
From the minute I stepped off the plane on January 19, it has been a whirlwind of activity as the University hosted the visit of Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Dr. Peter Agre the week of February 12, 2014. As the Director of the Malaria Research Institute at Johns Hopkins University and a science diplomat, Dr. Agre and his colleague, Dr. William Moss, traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to spend time at the University and explore malaria research collaboration opportunities. During his lectures on malaria, Dr. Agre stressed the importance of young people participating in science and urged them “to be a part of the solution” saying that “we can see the hand of God in all that we do.” He said, “Who knows, maybe the Nobel Prize for the eradication of malaria will be given to an African scientist.” The students eagerly peppered Dr. Agre with questions as he spoke about his path to the Nobel Prize.
During a reception at his residence, U.S. Ambassador James Swan touched on the cooperation between the United States and the DRC through research and teaching about critical topics such as public health and disease. Understanding that collaboration will be the key component to malaria research, both the Congolese Minister of Health and the Head of President Kabila’s Cabinet pledged their support. “Dr. Agre called on UPC researchers to develop a synergistic approach to finding a cure for malaria,” reported the Agence Congolaise de Presse. The University is in the midst of taking the next step in its growth. Stay tuned for more developments at the Congo Protestant University.
Linda James serves as a short-term volunteer with the Protestant University in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She assists with their capacity building program.
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