October 23 through November 3, 2009, 12 students from Wayne State University visited Maputo, Mozambique accompanied by President Emeritus Irvin D. Reid, Associate Professor Kevin Deegan-Krause and Assistant Professor Juanita Anderson.
The project offered an extraordinary opportunity for 12 students to conduct individual and group research. Less than three hours after touchdown at the airport, the students sat around a conference table for an insightful discussion of Mozambican history and politics with former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano. For the 11 days that followed, the contingent of Wayne State students fanned out across Maputo Province poking every corner of the emerging democracy to dissect and understand it.
Students documented their personal journeys throughout the program via blogs and video, as well as film interviews with a wide spectrum of participants in the fledgling democracy – ranging from Joaquim Chissano to citizens ‘on the street’ – as they gathered first-hand accounts of democracy in action. Stereotypes of chaos and bloodshed gave way to firsthand examples of Mozambique citizenship where, two decades ago, civil war subsided into increasingly peaceful conversations about how to balance conflicting interests with mutual respect. As a corollary to the African Democracy Project: Mozambique, President Chissano will visit Wayne State in October 2010 as the second former head-of-state to deliver the keynote lecture at FOCIS.
This and subsequent installments of the African Democracy Project will inform a wide audience, in an impactful and lasting way, that the lessons learned in Mozambique can be applied to other troubled areas of continuing strife and social upheaval in the world. ADPM is designed to give students a deeper understanding of emerging democracy in Africa through intensive seminar courses focusing on civil conflict, democratization, documentary filmmaking and language, coupled with study abroad experiences in countries such as Mozambique, Botswana, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda or even Liberia