Tom Arcaro, professor of sociology and director of Project Pericles, recently returned from a twelve-day visit to the African nation of Namibia, where he met with officials at the U.S. Embassy about a planned summit on HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Arcaro met with Joyce Barr, the U.S. ambassador to Namibia, at the American embassy in the Namibian capital of Windhoek. Barr and her staff have pledged their support for a planned “Future Leaders Summit on HIV/AIDS” in Namibia. Stanley Harsha, cultural affairs officer at the embassy, has committed partial funding for the summit and will serve as co-chair of the organizing committee in Namibia.
Arcaro and the Periclean Scholars Class of 2006 from Elon are planning the summit, scheduled for Jan. 22-24, with student leaders at the University of Namibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia. One important outcome of this summit is that it will teach students how to address the media and compose intelligent positions papers and news releases as they work to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. Arcaro hopes to provide scholarships to the summit for 35 Namibian students, one of whom will be invited to Elon this fall to serve as a Periclean-in-Residence.
Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has been invited to officially open the summit. A documentary filmmaker, sponsored by a Fulbright grant through the U.S. State Department, will document the summit as part of a film that will focus on the HIV/AIDS problem in Africa.
During his visit, Arcaro also met with Peace Corps administrators and volunteers, leading a three-hour session on the impact of HIV/AIDS in Namibia. During this session, “A Measure of Our Humanity” and “You Wake Me Up,” produced by Elon’s Periclean Scholars, were screened. The Peace Corps has purchased these materials and will use them to train future volunteer workers in Namibia.