The City of Aurora’s new Sister Cities agreement with Adama, Ethiopia includes a strong educational component, of which Community College of Aurora is playing an integral role.
During a recently completed 10-day tour by the Adama delegation, not only was the partnership between cities officially signed but there were discussions about strengthening the relationship and the tools of collaboration that can be most useful moving forward.
Talks and action around health care, international trade and development, and municipal issues represent some of those future directions. Another area does, too.
“We’ve had some conversations about opportunities, and education is certainly one,” the city’s manager, Skip Noe, told a group of CCA students largely comprised of Cultural Anthropology and International Relations students during a tour stop on the CentreTech campus. “The Community College of Aurora and the education community in Adama can have an exchange, and the good news about Sister City relationships in this era is that you don’t have to travel to be able to have that exchange. You can have all that electronically. And I think that’s something you’re going to see over the next year as we continue to get to know one another.”
Political Science faculty Dr. Bobby Pace, in concert with many of his peers and college administrators, already is trying to make those steps tangible ones.
Educational exchanges often occur through students traveling abroad and immersing themselves in culture. Pace and Co. see technology such as iPads and Android tablets as a means to explore one another’s cultures between Aurora and Adama.
“One of the things that we’ve been playing with as faculty is how we can integrate collaboratively courses that would actually place students from Adama in the same classes as the ones students are taking here in virtual fashion,” Pace said.
“It can be as simple as Adama students exploring their community and videotaping it, places such as government buildings or economic marketplaces, and CCA’s students doing the same to gauge the differences and similarities.”
Students in both countries could get Google Hangout addresses and have one-on-one facial conversations with their peers, or students could work in groups.
“We really want to think of the students in Adama as our students, too, and our students as their students so we can really build those ties,” Pace added.
Taking the immersion one step further: CCA is looking to expand its annual Model United Nations to include a trip to New York to an international event, where the college’s traveling group serves as Ethiopia in U.N.-styled debates. Some funding already has been acquired to make that trip happen, though additional monies are necessary through an indiegogo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-change-the-world-cca-model-un).
Adama Mayor Abreham Adula and Jegalo Guye, director of Adama’s Sister Cities Program, spent four hours at CCA, and before leaving, were given a demonstration on how the two countries could be easily linked via technology.
“I’m very pleased with the fact that Adama was selected as a Sister City with Aurora,” Adula, speaking Amharic, said through a translator. “It will be unique in the sense that no other Ethiopian or even African cities have had that opportunity. It’s a chance for exchange of information and technology, with partnerships in education, health care, and most importantly, people-to-people relationships.”