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Scholarships connect locals to their roots, African students to agriculture

posted by – April 9th, 2012

Fifty students from Equatorial Guinea – a tiny, Spanish-speaking country in West Central Africa – climbed off a plane on the lively Caribbean island Dominican Republic in mid-February, destined for a long-standing agricultural university.

They were there “not for tourism”, said their Ambassador Teresa Efua Asangono, who greeted them at the airport, but to spend four years rigorously studying the latest techniques in agriculture and, eventually, to apply what they had learned in their home country.

The students were the beneficiaries of a pooled half-million dollar scholarship programme meant not only as a development opportunity for Equatorial Guinea, but also to reconnect Dominicans with their African roots.

“The benefit of this programme is to complete the dream of the founders of [Dominican Republic’s High Institute for Agriculture] Universidad ISA…developing human talent without distinction for race, creed, sex, socio-economic status or class,” said Francisco de Leon, admissions director for the private university, which is nearly a half-century old.

He explained that the university had more than 20 years’ experience in working with international students and this was one more opportunity to contribute to international development.

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