Since 2009 more than 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes in Nigeria and neighboring countries as a result of the militant uprising by the Islamic separatist group Boko Haram, including some 20,00 people who have been killed. Dr. Margee Ensign heads the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola, the northern Nigerian city to where hundreds of thousands of these refugees have fled. President Ensign will discuss her institution’s decision to take a major role in the refugee relief effort, in her talk “A University and Social Change – Dealing with a Humanitarian Crisis” on Monday, September 19, at 5:30pm in Rockefeller Hall room 300. This event is free and open to the public with sponsorship from the Office of the President and the Vassar Refugee Solidarity Initiative.
Led by Ensign the American University of Nigeria (AUN) has spearheaded the Adamawa Peace Initiative, a local interfaith response to the escalating violence that works with non-governmental organizations on education, empowerment, and community development activities. Together AUN and the Adamawa Peace Initiative have effectively managed the needs of 90 percent of the displaced people in the Yola area, and in the process they have housed and fed over 400,000 refugees.
Margee Ensign became the third president of the American University of Nigeria in 2010, and she is the first woman to lead the institution. Dr. Ensign has worked in and on the African continent for fifteen years and has served as an advisor to the governments of Uganda and Rwanda. She is a widely published scholar whose work focuses primarily on the challenges of international development, as well as on the implications of development assistance. She co-authored Rwanda: History and Hope (2009) in which she documents Rwanda’s rebuilding efforts since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Most recently she co-edited the book Confronting Genocide in Rwanda: Dehumanization, Denial, and Strategies for Prevention (2015). Prior to heading AUN Ensign served as Dean of the School of International Studies and Associate Provost for International Initiatives at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. She has also held teaching and administrative positions at Columbia, Tulane, Georgetown, and American University. Ensign earned her BA from New College in Florida and her PhD in International Political Economy from the University of Maryland.
Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (http://www.vassar.edu). Vassar is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.