Local News

April 6, 2009

USAO to host public Africa symposium Thursday


Dr. Roger C. Merkel is an assistant professor at Langston University. He leads the international programs of the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research. After receiving his undergraduate degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1982, Merkel spent four years in Thailand as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and later as a trainer. Merkel received his doctoral degree in nutrition from North Carolina State University in 1994. He joined Langston University as a post-doctoral researcher in 1998 and as a faculty member in 2000.

Among many of his research activities, Merkel has written, implemented and administered several grants with two universities in Ethiopia that have focused on human capacity building and enhancing regional food security through the establishment of women’s groups for goat production, collaborated with Oklahoma State University and the UCLA School of Medicine on research about the inclusion of animal-source foods in children’s diets in rural Ethiopia and Kenya. He also has participated in studies about revitalizing the higher education system in Iraq.

Dr. John Mooney teaches courses on early African history, the history of West Africa and the United States before 1865 at the University of Oklahoma. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Virginia in 2007. Mooney is scheduled to examine poverty in Africa by highlighting historical events that have contributed to the poverty phenomenon on this continent.

Dr. Maxwell Kwenda is an assistant professor of sociology at Cameron University. He is scheduled to discuss the “Causes of Poverty in Africa.”

Shan J. Sappleton is a graduate teaching associate in the Political Science Department at the University of Oklahoma. She completed an undergraduate degree in Jamaica, two masters’ degrees in international relations and political science at the University of Oklahoma and is writing a dissertation on Towards Explaining Ethnic Politicization in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Comparative study of Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire for the completion of a doctoral degree in comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Stappleton’s research interests include democratization, ethnic politics and developmental studies. She will discuss the effects of poverty on education in Africa that is based on her research in Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire

Dr. Nikolas Emmanuel is an assistant professor of political science at Oklahoma State University. He joined the faculty at OSU in 2008 after his doctorate program at the University of California, Davis. His doctoral research focused on foreign aid, state collapse and U.S. foreign policy towards Africa.

Contact Stephen Kandeh by phone at (405) 574-1243 or by email at

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