By Deborah O’Neil
The introduction of cell phones has opened up a world of possibilities to farmers in rural Africa. Now connected to the Internet, they are learning about crop disease and selling their goods.
The challenges and the potential of this new development in Africa are chronicled in an Oct. 5 New York Times story, In Rural Africa, a Fertile Market for Mobile Phones. Set in Uganda, it’s the sort of story that could open up a new world of perspectives for an FIU student.
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, students, faculty and staff are invited to an open discussion of the story as FIU kicks off the new Tuesday Times Talk series on global current events. The open discussion will be from noon to 1 p.m. in GL 220 and pizza will be served. The series is part the university’s Global Learning for Global Citizenship initiative, which aims to provide global learning experiences for all undergraduates through core classes and extra-curricular activities.
“All of the discussions we are having in the Times Talk series are framed on big, real-world issues,” said Stephanie Doscher, associate director of the Office of Global Learning Initiatives. “The New York Times does a phenomenal job of helping students be abreast of world conditions. By reading and applying what they read, students will start to see the interconnectedness of the world.”
Tuesday’s open discussion will be moderated by FIU journalism professor Fred Blevens, English instructor Ben Lauren and university librarian George Pearson. The trio is also teaching one of the core classes of the Global Learning initiative next fall, “How We Know What We Know.” The article for Tuesday’s discussion touches on important themes related to their class: how information is exchanged around the world and the cultural impacts of global communication.
“We selected a very interesting story about people who are going from nothing to satellite communication,” Blevens said. “There are plenty of questions about the wisdom of this and whether it is going to make their lives better or worse.”
The Tuesday Times Talk Series is also part of the newly enhanced New York Times readership program at FIU. As part of the Student Government funded program, daily New York Times newspapers are available free to students at 14 locations on campus.
Tuesday Times Talk Series
Noon-1 p.m. GL 220
Nov. 3: “Pharmaceutical Research: Medicine or Marketing?”
Moderated by social work professor David Cohen
Nov. 10: “The Arts: I Know What I Like and I Like What I Know”
Moderated by School of Music Director David Dolata
Nov. 17: “Women and Islam: Whose Marriage Is It Anyway?”
Moderated by education professor Aixa Perez-Prado
Nov. 24: “Online Learning: Will Schooling Ever Be the Same?”
Moderated by history professor Brian Peterson