Monday, March 27, 2006

Checking in, after a long absence

The problem with any sort of sustained break in blogging is that it's then difficult to pick up where you left off. So much happens and you are unsure where to start, and then it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.....

Just got back from the US where I went for work- I am still reeling at the number of highly qualified Nigerian professionals I met on my travelling in different parts of the US, particularly the academics- many of them with not just one, but two PhDs......their opinions and visions on their long term plans varied but most of still had very strong links with Nigeria and were often involved in some sort of collaboration with colleagues in Nigeria ranging from collaborative research to just regularly sending books and funding opportunities. They were all unanimously condemnatory of the proposed third term bids.....but I came across two initiatives which if properly manged could help tap into this resource. One was an advert from the National Universities Commission inviting academics abroad interested in sabbaticals or collaboration with Nigerian universities to apply. Unfortunately the advert is not available on the NUC website http://www.nuc.edu.ng/index.htm ......meanwhile the NUC has apparently ordered that all academics in Nigerian universities who do not have Phds should get one within the next two years or be sacked. The paradox is that because of a lot of systemic problems, it is virtually impossible to complete research for a Master's degree, let alone a PhD in most Nigerian universities within that time.....

The other initiative was an advert from the Central Bank in The Economist magazine which again invited Nigerian economists and finance experts abroad interested in collaborative research to apply....again, I've tried finding the advert on the CBN website http://www.cenbank.org/ with little success...

If these schemes are to work, they need to be communicated to as wide an audience as possible....and not making use of the internet seems a loss of opportunity....

Coming back to London yesterday I was struck by how different the UK is from the US- it is indeed another country. For one thing it was quite difficult from the TV news bulletins on the channels available in the US to get a sense of what was happening internationally- even CNN had a decidedly US centric focus in a way that the BBC for all our criticisms of it does not, PBS which would probably the equivalent is not readily available in most hotels........although it was interesting to watch the hundreds of thousands marching in Los Angeles against the proposed new immigration laws which would make being an illegal immigrant in the US a felony . As one angry and articulate Hispanic American young woman said- This country was built on the blood and sweat of immigrants- wanting to improve your chances in life should not be a crime.....

In spite of my busy schedule, I've managed to keep up with some reading. I've just finished A is for Ancestors, the collection of short stories by the authors on the 2003 Caine Prize shortlist and I enjoyed. It confirmed my belief that there is a lot of African talent out there. I've since realized that there's a whole series of collections of each year's nominees work available on the African Book Centre website http://snipurl.com/ng6t ...I'm going to order myself the rest when I can.....

2 comments:

Candide's Notebooks said...

Interesting, on-point observations about the difference between the US and the UK. Hope you keep writing.pt

Anonymous said...

Always glad to hear others opinions of others on the differences between UK and US. I am in the US and I agree with you. Even with the many 24 hour news channels available, all are displaying the same 5-10 headlines.