Unification News for October 2000

Visit by Prime Minister of Bangladesh

On September 5, the University of Bridgeport welcomed Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. In front of more than a hundred students and guest-visitors, Her Excellency was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Hasina, the daughter of the founder and father of Bangladesh — Sheikh Mujibur — is one of the most prominent figures in world peacekeeping today. She has acted as a mediator during the India-Pakistan nuclear crisis and has been an ambassador of peace in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In her struggle to fight the anti-democratic forces in Bangladesh, she has been persecuted, lived in exile and suffered the murders of several of her family members. She was in the U.S. to attend the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York.

Her Excellency was welcomed by Provost Laurence Conner and by the President of the Student Congress Jee-Eun Lee. "I can’t stress enough how grateful and honored the University’s students are to welcome ‘the Champion of Peace,’ " said Lee, and further commented in Her Excellency’s continual dedication to peace.

Professor Stoyan Ganev, the director of the New England for International and Regional Studies, referred to Bangladesh as one of our most important international partners, and expressed hope that even though there were only two students from Bangladesh in the highly diverse international student body at UB, their number would increase in the coming years.

After the conferring of the Honorary Degree by President Neil Salonen and its presentation by Conner, Hasina thanked everyone for the honor that, according to her, "is a tribute not only to me, but also to all my people."

The New England Center, which was founded five years ago, has been a driving force for international development and an important leading forum for addressing global issues. Last year, the Center awarded honorary degrees to a number of distinguished political figures, among which were Victor Chernomyrdin, the then Russian Prime Minister, Ibrahim Gambari, the Under Secretary General of the United Nations; and Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, the President of the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Its activities have been extended to the recently renamed International College at UB, which offers one of the few modernized programs in International Political Economy and Diplomacy and World Religions, in the nation.

Summer in China

by Abhishek Shrestha

Last summer, eight University of Bridgeport students, along with 16 students from other colleges, left for China under the supervision of mathematics Professor Xinlong Weng. The program was sponsored and administered by Hangzhou University of Commerce in China. UB students who participated were: Alicia Armistead, Andrea Buccino, Jamie Crockett, Andrea Koehler, Lucas McCloud, John Musser, Ola Ogunye, and Ryan Vicino.

The program's aim was to teach English to high school and lower level Chinese students. Also known as the "English Village," it was set up for two weeks at Hong Yu Middle School, in Liu Qiao, approximately 6 hours south of Shanghai. It ran for two, two-week sessions with each class having an average of 25 students. Classes were taught for four hours each day, which included time spent in the classrooms and outside. Although no strict curriculum was followed in the teaching, the program administrators provided an English textbook, which many felt was insufficient. Rather, they opted to teach by sharing their knowledge and experience.

Time outside the classrooms was spent playing basketball with the students, talking to them and local sightseeing.

The goal of the program was to help Chinese students improve their English speaking skills by learning from and interacting with American students. It also provided the American teachers with an opportunity to learn Chinese and experience the culture while intermingling with their students.

"This was more than just a trip," said Professor Weng, who was overwhelmed with the success of the program. "There were two benefits: one for the Chinese students and one for our students. While our students were able to help open the minds and ‘mouths’ of the Chinese students, they themselves underwent a big learning experience.

"They came in contact with ordinary Chinese people. I believe that definitely had an impact on our students and their views," he added.

In China, the teachers also traveled to Shanghai and Beijing, visiting the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall among other sites.

"I am interested in Chinese culture and I went for the experience. But what I really enjoyed was teaching and just meeting people," said Alicia Armistead. She was also amazed at how family-oriented the Chinese were. "They admired our independence and were excited simply because we were foreigners," she added.

After the success of the trip, Prof. Weng is looking forward to organizing it again next year with hopes of expanding the program to include more American students and faculty members.

"Our students need to be administered more closely. I'd also like to have one of our English professors select the teaching material. Then we could have a short training session before leaving," he said.

Prof. Weng has even more plans for the future. He wishes to see UB grow as an international campus and become a "center" for information about China, and eventually for other countries too.

To the students who are interested for next year, Andrea Buccino said, "You should go with lots of ideas, bug-spray and toilet-paper — bring lots of them."

"Doc Rock" Voted Earth Science Teacher of the Year

Dr. John Nicholas, aka "Doc Rock" and professor of geology and chemistry at UB for thirty years, has been elected the 2000 Connecticut Earth Science Teacher of the Year by the Connecticut Earth Science Teacher’s Association (CESTA).

"This is truly one of the great moments of my professional career," said Prof. Nicholas, who was selected out of a group of over 300 of his peers.

In order to be considered for the award, the candidate must be an outstanding earth science educator and must support earth science education through participation in professional development activities above and beyond the normal duties of a classroom teacher.

Dr. Nicholas meets and goes beyond these requirements, according to Lisa Alter, president of the CESTA. In explaining the award, Alter wrote: "In conversations with many other science teachers throughout Connecticut regarding professional development workshops and field trips, his name is constantly brought up as a leader in these activities as impacting tremendously on their curriculum.

"Dr. Nicholas has given much of his time on the weekends to promoting geology and earth science through 10-12 hour field trips with teachers and their students of all ages to the Catskill Mountain region (fossil hunting) as well as many other localities.

"I have personally participated in many professional activities with Dr. Nicholas and his impact on my teaching of earth science has been immense. For many years, Dr. Nicholas has taken my students to the Catskills. These students years later come back to visit me and they still have the fossil specimens collected with ‘Doc Rock’. Dr. Nicholas is truly ‘The 2000 Connecticut Earth Science Teacher of the Year.’ "

 Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Tparents Home