On September 18, the advisory board of the Lutheran Colleges Consortium for Tanzania (LCCT) met at St. Olaf College. Consisting of Concordia College, Luther College, Pacific Lutheran University, and St. Olaf College, the LCCT runs an exchange program with the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).
Students from these colleges go to study in Tanzania for a semester, and UDSM faculty and administrators spend about four months on LCCT campuses, for research and other professional activities. The program started in the mid-eighties and has involved dozens of Americans and Tanzanians.
For many years, the LCCT program was unique among the American programs linked to the UDSM, because it was based on reciprocity, a feature that was noted and much appreciated by all.
The LCCT board consists of people who have an interest in study abroad programs, an interest in Tanzania or Africa as such. We have done research in Africa, taught or written about Africa, led students on study programs in Africa, hosted or mentored African visitors and students on the LCCT campuses. In various ways, we contribute to African studies.
Each of the LCCT institutions takes turns administering the program. At the September 18 meeting, Luther College handed over the administration of the LCCT to St. Olaf College.
As a Tanzanian, I am pleased that many Tanzanians in academic and leadership positions have benefited from this program. Working on the board is a labour of love. We all value the work we do, knowing how important it is to the education of our students and to the UDSM. I wonder if I am a naive idealist, but I believe programs like the LCCT help build a better world.