WORTHINGTON — Minnesota West Community & Technical College History Instructor Anita Gaul has been selected as one of 16 community college faculty in the nation to participate in a 2 1/2-week fully-funded Faculty Development Seminar in Senegal, West Africa, in January. The seminar is funded and organized by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) in partnership with the West African Research Center (WARC).

“The theme of the seminar is “Diversity, Religion, and Migration in West Africa.” This seminar, based in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar but also visiting the historic towns of Toubacouta and Saint-Louis, will grapple with the complexities of diversity, religion and migration in contemporary West Africa. As these issues attract greater attention across the globe, it is critical that American educators be able to interpret them for students eager to understand the rapid changes taking place in both the larger world and their own communities.

This two-week seminar geared towards faculty at U.S. community colleges and minority-serving institutions will feature lectures, panels, film screenings and discussions on the history, culture, economy and political life of Senegal, with a special emphasis on the country’s spiritual diversity and inter-religious dialogue and tolerance. In addition, the seminar will explore the region’s growing transnational movements and their impact on society and especially young people.” According to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). To see the full details about this seminar visit https://www.caorc.org/faculty-development-senegal.

“I am thrilled that I was chosen to participate in this seminar," Gaul said. "The opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Senegal and West Africa will improve my courses, particularly those I teach on World History. A broader global perspective will enable me to better understand my students as well. Many students at Minnesota West are first- or second-generation African immigrants.

"This seminar will strengthen my cultural awareness and help me identify ways they can succeed in my classroom," she continued. "An added bonus is that I will be spending two weeks in West Africa, where the weather is around 70 degrees — a nice break from January in Minnesota!”