Students of AUN and Earlham College in Indiana, the Unites States, are participating in a joint course on Peace Journalism for the spring semester of 2014. The connected course is a project of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance (GLAA).
GLAA is an organization of 25 colleges and universities in 13 countries, dedicated to strengthening liberal arts and science education through the exchange of experience and the development of mutually beneficial programs. It was founded by The Great Lakes Colleges Association with funding from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
CMD 232 (Writing for the Mass Media) students are working collaboratively with Peace Journalism students at Earlham College to jointly cover stories on human and minority rights, as well as youth disenfranchisement, in Nigeria and the US. The collaboration is unique at AUN and is expected to pioneer several other joint projects among universities globally under the umbrella of the GLAA.
The final written projects which the students will jointly produce will serve as their examinations for the spring semester and will be published online. The stories which are centered principally on youth disenfranchisement and insurgency as well as human and minority rights
will reflect elements of Peace Journalism from the Earlham end and news storytelling from the AUN students.
The collaboration draws on the tools of social media to expand the classroom and enable student collaboration across borders. The professor of the Peace Journalism class at Earlham, Dr. Judi Hetrick, said, "The goal of the project is to create international reporting groups to work on stories about human and minority groups or violence by young people". Dr. Hetrick expressed her excitement about the collaboration and noted that via Facebook students can meet and share interests about people's rights and violence by young people even in the comfort of their homes.
Dr. Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob, the professor in charge of the CMD 232 class at AUN, also expressed his excitement about the collaboration saying, "the American University of Nigeria is a light bearer in a region blighted by insecurity, underdevelopment, and a large unemployed and
disenfranchised youth population." He said the collaboration will inspire students to think more broadly and see Journalism as a tool for conflict transformation as well as development.
Meanwhile, the Senior Program Officer of the Great Lakes College Association (founder of GLAA) Joyce Budai has expressed her excitement about the project, noting that Dr. Jacob and Dr. Hetrick as well as participating students should be congratulated on what she described
as a "most creative work". President Ensign, Academic Vice President (Provost) Charles Reith, and Dean Idorenyin Akpan have all expressed their excitement about the project. By Zamiyat Yakubu & Rinret Jonathan.