Namibia Nine highlights how the power of collaboration across borders can be an effective tool to fight oppression. It is also about the role that access to education plays in creating a more just world. In the 1980s, two higher education officers connected with Lutheran church bodies in the U.S., Naomi Linnell and Jim Unglaube, felt compelled to join the effort to fight injustice in southern Africa by fostering a dream to bring 100 high school graduates from South West Africa to the U.S. to attend Lutheran colleges and universities in the United States. At that time, South West Africa (later Namibia) was under South African rule and followed the unjust practice of apartheid. The dream of those two Lutheran officers to educate these young Namibians came true... with nine of those 100 students coming to study at Pacific Lutheran University. Today the Namibia Nine are working in nearly all sectors of their new nation from forensics to foreign relations; education to health-care training. Their life stories most harmoniously match PLU's primary mission to educate for lives of service. Namibia Nine also demonstrates how PLU has continued to build on its relationship with Namibia by creating study-away courses in Namibia for current PLU students. The stories of Namibia Nine show how partnerships in education can have a tremendous impact on creating a vibrant, democratic nation-even 20 years after the first Namibian student came to PLU.
- Written by
Joanne M Lisosky, PhD
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