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UCLA Magazine interviewed Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology and director of the FSPH UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, and one of hundreds of Bruin students, scientists, doctors and administrators who have worked hand in hand with with local colleagues across Africa for a feature on the university's ties to the continent.
By the end of this century, 1 in 4 people in the world could be African, says Thomas Smith, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA, quoting United Nations data. He believes this massive demographic shift will prompt countries to rethink partnerships with Africa, a youth-dominated continent that’s larger than the United States, China, India and most of Europe combined.
And UCLA is ahead of the game, as hundreds of Bruin students, scientists, doctors and administrators work hand in hand with local colleagues across the 54 incredibly varied countries that make up Africa today.
Unlike past “parachute doctors” — who would jump into a crisis, often perform heroically and then go home — UCLA people are deeply embedded in African communities, helping to prevent the next medical, economic or environmental calamity.
In January 2020, Chancellor Gene Block and his team of UCLA administrators attended the Diversity in Higher Education Colloquium in Bloemfontein, South Africa — co-hosted by the University of the Free State in South Africa, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and UCLA — to promote diversity and equality in global education. They met tireless and passionate advocates for change, many of whom work through malaria and deprivations unthinkable to many colleagues.
written by John Harlow