In preparation for the trip to Liberia, students studied contemporary Liberian history and contemporary issues in African politics. The course emphasized theories of democratization, with a focus on three key issues: peace and reconciliation in societies that have experienced serious civil conflict, free and fair elections and the rule of law, and the strategy of decentralization to improve governance and reduce corruption.
The foreign study was based in Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia, but travel to rural areas was included as part on active field research. Students met with national and local government and political party officials, election officials, representatives of the truth and reconciliation commission and non-governmental organizations, academics and peers. Students played a major role in selecting and arranging interviews in Liberia. Field study coincided with the national elections in Liberia, which were held Tuesday, October 11, and included observation of the voting process on that day.
After the trip, students reached out to the Wayne State and metro Detroit community to present their research and to talk about their experiences in a variety of venues. Throughout the course, studentsdocumented and reflected on their experiences through film, blogging and journaling.
For more information about the course, contact Dr. Sharon Lean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESOURCES: Univeristy of Liberia
CIA Factbook for Liberia
Government portal for Liberia
Liberia National Elections Commission
Carter Center: Liberia