At least 10 students from St Mary's College in Maryland and Elizabethtown College from the US Saturday visited the University of the Gambia, through its PEACE programme.
According to the officials, the programme is geared towards promoting collaboration and understanding through educational and cultural exchange programmes between St Mary's College of Maryland, Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and the University of The Gambia (UTG). Eight of the visiting students are from St Mary's College, while two are from Elizabethtown College, specialising in different fields of studies, such as anthropology, medicine, religious studies, psychology, cultural studies, among other areas.
In his welcoming remarks, the vice- chancellor of UTG, Professor Muhammadou MO Kah spoke at length about the historical link between the two colleges and UTG. According to him, the partnership will provide a wonderful opportunity to enable their partners discover the country and connect with their faculties and students to enhance the creation and sharing of knowledge.
He commended President Jammeh, the founder and the chancellor of the UTG, noting that without his foresight the UTG would not be having this international collaboration and the links that contribute to the university.
"Among the view that great universities are not about the beautiful buildings that you have, but it is about the people who are the students, faculty and staff working together in the creation and sharing of knowledge. Everybody is committed to do what they can to ensure that the processes of the institution are in line with accepted global standards for higher education," he told the gathering. Prof. Kah challenged the students to emulate their fellow students, whom he said, has enriched the campus and the lives of their peers.
The vice-chancellor of UTG encouraged the students to feel at home here in The Gambia, which is a peaceful country. He urged them to familiarise themselves with the local people so that they will benefit and learn the culture and traditions of the Gambian people. "Gambians are well-known for their hospitality, and if you have any doubts, consult them so that they will help you and make best use of your stay in this country so that you can learn much history and culture for your future benefit," he urged. For his part, Professor Bill Roberts, an anthropologist at the St Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM), who also doubles as the director of the PEACE programme in The Gambia, said this time around they have come with ten students, some of whom hope to take classes with the UTG medical students.
Prof Bill averred that the students would be learning one of the local languages and the Gambian culture as well. They will also attend classes with UTG students and complete a service-learning and directed research course. During their stay, he added, they will be attached to different organisations and conduct their own research projects.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Anna, an anthropology major at the St Mary's College expressed delight to be in The Gambia. According to her, Gambians nice and friendly.