I spent the last weekend in some bliss which started on Friday with a lunch organized for visiting scholars by my University’s International Programme Office and the International Hospitality Programme. The International Programme Office handles everything that has to do with overseas scholarship and programmes while the International Hospitality Programme is comprised of a group of dedicated Senior Citizens of Edwardsville, some with and some without any academic link to the University, but all with a strong dedication over the years in making international students comfortable. Most of them have been doing it for decades without compensation, and without fail. They provide comfort and succor for students living miles away from home, and give them home away from home. They give counselling, they provide gifts as well as all needed support.
Present at the lunch were new visiting scholars from Albania and Azerbaijan, and a new visitor from the Kenneth Dike Library in Nigeria’s premier University, Francisca Okoroma.
The lunch, and the work of the International Hospitality Programme brings to fore the advantages and need for interdependence and social responsibility. The women and men who parent young students and scholars they’ve never known from parts of the world that they’ve never themselves visited take love, commitment, public service to such a new height. They claim to enjoy the experience, but to the many young ones who have studied in this part of the country over the years and benefited from this group, the dedication of the host parents is nothing short of a blessing. It is one more pleasant advantage of studying in this part of the country.