Egara Kabaji, Ph.D. Egara Kabaji, Ph.D., of Kenya, is guest for HACC Honors Lecture
Feb. 5, 2009
HARRISBURG – Global education has new meaning for HACC students this semester with the arrival of Egara Kabaji, Ph.D., a Fulbright Scholar from Kenya.
Kabaji will be the guest lecturer for HACC’s first honors lecture of the spring semester at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, in Whitaker Hall 117 on the Harrisburg Campus, One HACC Drive. His discussion will be about politics, ideology and writing in African literature.
 Kabaji, a highly respected scholar whose many publications include a biography of the first president of free Kenya, is teaching a class on contemporary African literature at the community college. In addition to concentrating on modern writers, he will explain the mythological, cultural and social backgrounds to the texts that define the pulse of the continent.
 “It is just an incredible opportunity for all of us,” says Yvonne J. Milspaw, Ph.D., professor of English and Humanities and director of HACC’s Honors Program. “African literature is hugely important and something we don’t know much about. He will make an extraordinary contribution.”
Milspaw continues, “Community colleges almost never get Fulbright Scholars, so this is a huge deal.”
The road to securing a Fulbright Scholar for HACC was a long one, according to Milspaw, who coordinated the residency. The college submitted multiple grant applications to the Fulbright Program before finding success.
The Worldwide Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program, which is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, brings visiting scholars and professionals from abroad to lecture at U.S. colleges and universities for one semester or one academic year. The program’s Web site states that Fulbright Scholars-in-Residence can have a significant impact on U.S. colleges and universities by teaching courses, giving campus-wide and community lectures, helping initiate international programs and contributing to curriculum development.
Exposing students to an international scholar was the driving force behind HACC’s application to the program, said Milspaw.
“It is awfully important for our students to see what Africa is like, and what’s going on in the rest of the world,” she said. “(Dr. Kabaji) is dealing with a country that is just barely getting over terrible riots and problems with its election.”
Kabaji, who is chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya, is equally excited about his residency and first visit to the United States.
“Though I have read a lot about America, it is interesting to have a first-hand feel of the pulse of your great country,” he says. “I am sure I will be able to share a lot with my American students about Africa, and Kenya in particular. I am sure they will want to know about Kogelo, the village where Barack Obama Sr. was born, which is just about 50 kilometers from my village.”
When not teaching, Kabaji will spend his time on research, traveling and presenting public programs. In addition, he hopes to collaborate with other HACC faculty.
“I also wish to participate in workshops that will expand the faculty’s knowledge of and ability to incorporate African experiences and culture into existing courses,” he says in his original lecturing proposal. “This cross pollination of ideas is critical in intellectual growth of institutions.”
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