The Gulu Study and Service Abroad Program (GSSAP) was established in 2011 through a formal Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Gulu University in Gulu, Uganda. The study abroad program consists of an on-site course for participating students in Conflict and Peacebuilding in Northern Uganda, with guest lectures by Ugandan colleagues and community members. Students work in local, community-based organizations to reinforce and apply the knowledge gained from their readings and classes. The program cultivates lasting relationships among GSSAP students and UT faculty and their Ugandan counterparts to facilitate ongoing collaborative projects, including research opportunities for faculty and students in both Tennessee and Uganda. Since 2011, Gulu study abroad has recruited between 9-12 students each trip, and relies on two faculty members and 10-12 instructors from Gulu University and the wider Gulu community.
Community partners in Uganda include Gulu University, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies; Justice and Reconciliation Project; Refugee Law Project; TAKS Art Center; Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative; Girls Kick It; Centre for Reparations and Rehabilitation; Acholi Education Initiative; St Jude’s Orphanage, PACTA alcoholism treatment program; Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach (BOSCO); Gulu District Government; Laroo Pece Women’s Association; Youth Empowerment Program; Gulu Regional Hospital; Hope and Peace for Humanity; Music for Peace; and the Gulu Peace Garden Project. University of Tennessee, Knoxville partners include the College of Arts and Sciences International Service and Culture programs, Department of Religious Studies, Department of Anthropology, Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights program in Anthropology, and the Center for International Education.
Impact on UT
Gulu study abroad offers 6 credits for undergraduate, graduate and non-UT students. The program develops students’ intercultural sensitivity and skills, and cultivates knowledge and critical thinking about contemporary problems such as violent conflict, persistent structural inequality, health, education, and resource disparities on local, regional, national, and international scales. Students are provided with valuable experiences that aid them in their graduate training and career choice decisions.
Impact on Community
The program facilitates ongoing collaborative projects among Ugandan community partners and UT students, alumni, and faculty. The program provides opportunities for Ugandan colleagues and students to access resources, skills, and knowledge through linkages to UT. Alumni of the program have participated in ongoing collaborative projects among Ugandan community partners and students, alumni, and faculty from GSSAP.
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