Nigerian group hoping to forge exchange program with Goshen College

Reps from the African Foundation for Peace and Love Initiatives met with James Brenneman, the college president. They hope an exchange program with schools in the U.S. and Canada can help prevent violence in their home country.

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 9:07 p.m.

GOSHEN — Leaders from a Nigerian group are nudging to forge a relationship with Goshen College, hopeful it can play a role in fighting violence in the African nation.

A contingent from the African Foundation for Peace and Love Initiatives, or AFPLI, met with Goshen College President James Brenneman on Tuesday, May 27, to promote creation of a student exchange program. It’s part of an ongoing effort to create such ties with 16 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

As is, there typically aren’t enough spaces in Nigerian universities to accommodate demand, AFPLI head Titus Oyeyemi said after meeting with Brenneman. Without access to education, that can lead some down the path to “ethno-political violence,” as typified by the abduction of 200-plus girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group.

"If we give these young people the thing they really need, the tendency to go into violence would be greatly reduced,” Oyeyemi said.

Per the proposal, Nigerian students would be able to attend Goshen College and Goshen College students would be able to study in Nigeria. Oyeyemi is working on follow-up letters to Goshen College as part of the process.

Broadly, AFPLI and a U.S.-based sister organization, African Projects for Peace and Love Initiatives, promote peaceful coexistence among different groups in Africa. "We don’t want to amplify violence but instead, we want to amplify harmony,” said Oyeyemi, who splits time between the United States and Nigeria and was accompanied by his wife, Fehintola.

Also on hand Tuesday were Olufemi Oludimu, active in Oyeyemi’s groups in Nigeria, and his wife, Jumoke. Oludimu is in the United States on a two-week visit.

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack or visit him on Facebook.


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