Twenty Ghanaians will be visiting Duquesne University for nearly a month in the first exchange of a two-year program between the University of Ghana and Duquesne, supported in part by a $350,000 U.S. Department of State grant.
The young African leaders will be involved with the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement (SLPA) and Center for Environmental Research and Education (CERE) program from Tuesday, June 14, through Friday, July 9. During their visit, the Ghanaians will examine mountaintop coal removal in West Virginia and Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York.
Through the two-year grant, representatives from both countries will share and compare community responses to environmental issues in the Emerging Leaders’ Extraction and Environment Program (E-LEEP).
“At first glance, it seems as if Ghana and the tri-state region would have little in common,” said Dean Dorothy Bassett of SLPA. “However, with the issues surrounding the offshore oil fields recently discovered in Ghana, the mountaintop coal removal methods and Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction actually are similar. Extractive industries such as coal, oil and gas pose very difficult challenges for the regions in which they are located. Leaders need to determine how to manage industry activities and governmental policies in a way that fosters sustained economic benefit, environmental integrity and community wellness.”
The sessions, which will be led by Dr. Stanley J. Kabala, associate director of CERE, will include on-site studies, a symposium of group presentations and a ceremony on Friday, July 9.
“Sharing our area’s experiences and challenges with these leaders from Ghana will provide fresh insights to both groups,” Kabala said. “The focus of the program is to train leaders in public, private and nonprofit groups about environmentally sound approaches for managing the direct and indirect effects of energy extraction.”
Representatives of corporations, government and nonprofits, as well as a limited number of graduate students in environmental and scientific fields, will have the opportunity to participate in the Duquesne-led exchange that will visit Ghana next summer to examine issues of offshore drilling.