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Father Claude

As I was saying.....

I embrace the world from my backyard at the University of Portland, January 1, 2018. I again invite you to "clod-hop" with me on my journeys to Latin America via this blog. More...

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The School of Diplomacy is rumbling on the horizon like those tremendous thunder storms that hit Kamapla every few days. Winds and claps of thunder, birds scurrying to their nests, and I sit on the balcony, sipping a glass of wine...

I originally came to Uganda for two purposes.The first was to assist my Holy Cross community in East Africa develop a ministry to higher education. Dave Burrell and I have worked on this project. The second was to help Uganda Martyrs University establish a school of diplomacy and international studies for East Africa. When established, this would be the first of its kind in East Africa.

The University of Portland allowed me a one-year leave to accomplish this task. During my interview for the job, I asked UMU President Olweny (called a Vice Chancellor in the British system) to appoint a Ugandan as director, and I would be his assistant and link to US, Europe and Latin America. To skip a few stages, I have now become the Interim Director until May 9 when I return to Portland. This project is not a handout. It is a Ugandan vision for educating its best and brightest. It is glorious and exciting!

Since my return to Uganda Martyrs University in late January to assume my new position, I have hired a very capable and promising assistant, Joseph Ssekandi, a Ugandan who just received a Masters in Environmental Studies from Reading University in England. Working together, our project has gained the interest of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Uganda and other institutions in the region. The program should be in place by the end of the summer and ready to receive its first applicants for the beginning of the next school year.. We are planning a grand ceremonial opening and blessing for early Fall.

May I recommend some challenging reading? My cousin Patricia Pomerleau -- yes, the very founder and CEO director of CEOEXPRESS (of which this blog is a part). She recommended and I read with delight Tim Weiner's LEGACY OF ASHES, THE HISTORY OF THE CIA, and T.J. English's HAVANA NOCTURNE (how the Mafia tried to take over Cuba before Castro). Great reading, both. Weiner's history of the CIA is an extraordinary tale, based on recently released documents of the CIA that significantly changed my understanding of many events in Latin America and the stunning incompetence and embarrassing inadequacy of this agency since its founding. Also, I'm reading an outstanding biography by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, called INFIDEL. MY LIFE. A remarkably powerful and well-written story of a Somali woman's triumph over incredible odds. Burrell and I participate in a book club of young, Ugandan women writers (hey, we're none of those things, but the group is a delight!) and this is their book of the month. A gem.

And finally, for a delightful and inspiring story of a group of Acholi kids who compete for a major, music festival in Kampala, pick up "War Dance' at your DVD outlet. It was an Academy Award nominee for best documentary in 2007. The photography, music, and story carry you smack into the middle of Uganda.

Permalink | Monday, February 23, 2009