The 2021 Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the Arizona State University (ASU) is hosting its first ever Nigerian participant, Dr. Sharafa Dauda, a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri, Borno State.
Dr Dauda is the first Nigerian to be represented at the Cronkite School, which hosts the Institute for Journalism, Technology and Democracy.
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The Nigerian scholar joins a host of other 17 participants, comprising professionals and scholars from Egypt, Ethiopia, Liberia, Albania, Armenia, Hong Kong, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey, Lebanon, Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, and Finland.
The Academic Director of the institute, Dr. Dawn Gilpin, during the orientation and guided tour of the ASU facility, said applicants went through a competitive application process where only one candidate emerged from a country.
“Sometimes, no candidate is selected from a particular country to attend an Institute as was the case with Nigeria until 2021. There was also no Nigerian in the 2022 cohort. However, candidates from Hong Kong have consecutively succeeded in the selection process,” she said.
The SUSI is normally a five-six weeks in-person post-graduate level annual programme for academics, mid-career foreign scholars, faculty, practitioners, and secondary educators organised by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and coordinated by the University of Montana.
According to the letter of award, it is to enable participants acquire experience in the US, and be hosted by a prestigious public university, as an ambassador of their country to educate American people about their home country and culture.
Meanwhile, the ASU Cronkite School SUSI Institute offers a range of learning opportunities to participants to gain a solid foundational understanding of the role of journalism in American society and political institutions, both historically and in the present day, and of the challenges posed by today’s communication technologies and complex information environment.
During the Institutes, scholars engage in rigorous academic coursework and panel discussions, interact and establish networks with American and other global scholars, meet with experts in respective disciplines, visit civic institutions, and in some cases, participate in research symposia and conferences.