Current Cameroon PCV Earns Fulbright Scholarship

April 30th, 2010 by admin

Gloria Twesigye ’07 to research Uganda’s child soldiers

Gloria Twesigye, a 2007 Ohio Wesleyan University alumna, has earned a Fulbright Scholarship to research efforts in Germany to rehabilitate former child soldiers from the Republic of Uganda in Africa.

Currently, Twesigye is completing her second year of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Cameroon, where she is teaching English to secondary school students. She will complete her Peace Corps service in August and begin her Fulbright-sponsored research in the fall.

Twesigye, who earned a double major in German and international studies and a minor in economics, is the daughter of Ohio Wesleyan faculty member Emmanuel Twesigye, Ph.D., and his wife, Beatrice.

“Five years ago, we took Gloria to visit Uganda,” says Emmanuel Twesigye, who teaches Christian studies courses. “Gloria saw some former child soldiers, and she heard about the socially disruptive 23-year-old war waged by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

“Gloria also heard of how the LRA had committed gross atrocities by raiding schools in Northern Uganda and kidnapping the students,” continues Twesigye, a former resident of Uganda. “The students had been brainwashed and, by force, trained to fight in the LRA as child soldiers. The girls were also given to the LRA officers as sex slaves and wives. Some of these children were later rescued and sent to schools, and some of them have gone into the German educational system through the Germans’ generous scholarship programs and education aid programs.”

In addition to aiding the former child soldiers, Germany also has assisted Uganda’s internally displaced people—those forced into refugee camps beginning in the late 1980s, he says.

“This is the complicated cultural, social, and political context of disruption in which Gloria’s Fulbright Scholarship award and study will take place,” he says.

The Fulbright Scholar Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. international exchange program for students, scholars, and professionals worldwide. The program was established by Congress in 1946. Since that time, Fulbright alumni have been awarded 40 Nobel Prizes and have gone on to become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers.

In January, OWU history professor Michael Flamm, Ph.D., also was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. His award will support his teaching two courses this fall at the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires.

OWU sociology-anthropology professor Mary Howard, Ph.D., served as Gloria Twesigye’s academic adviser while she attended Ohio Wesleyan and advised Twesigye on her Fulbright application.

“What amazed everyone was that the bulk of the work was done from the remote African village where Gloria is stationed with the Peace Corps,” Howard says. “Without a doubt, she is a brilliant student, and I’m sure she will continue to be successful in her pursuits. I’m so excited for her. A Fulbright research award is very prestigious and a real foot in the door at many graduate schools.”

Coincidentally, Howard’s son, Matthew Zalla ’94, also earned a Fulbright research award. Zalla, a sociology-anthropology and international studies major and a philosophy and history minor, went to Bolivia to investigate issues of conservation versus farming in the Amazon area.

Also assisting Gloria Twesigye with her Fulbright application was OWU music professor Tim Roden, Ph.D., the University’s director of post-graduate fellowships.

“It was a pleasure working with Gloria as she prepared her Fulbright application,” Roden says. “It was not an easy process for her. She had to travel several hours from the back country of Cameroon into the city just to gain e-mail access, so there would be a flurry of correspondence over the weekend and then she would work on refining her essays during the week. The campus committee interviewed Gloria over the telephone, which was an interesting experience due to the connection periodically going dead.”

Clearly, this OWU alumna impressed the committee, and it’s easy to see why. While at Ohio Wesleyan, Twesigye was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society, Phi Sigma Iota international foreign language honor society, and Omicron Delta Epsilon international economic honor society. She also graduated magna cum laude.

Her sisters Joy and Peace also are OWU graduates. Joy Twesigye ’98, a nurse practitioner, currently is a health policy student at Johns Hopkins University, and Peace Twesigye ’08 is working toward her master’s degree in music (violin performance) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Youngest sister Grace Twesigye is a 2006 Kenyon College graduate and a lawyer in Massachusetts.

Congratulations to Gloria and the Twesigye family.

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