Drury professor to attend Council on Foreign Relations workshop

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 27, 2013 — Drury Political Science Professor Jeff VanDenBerg has been invited to attend the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Educator Workshop on April 11 and 12 in New York City.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “The purpose of the workshop is to convene post-secondary professors teaching in fields related to international affairs and foreign policy to participate in substantive briefings, including a Middle East update and regional and topical discussion groups; learn about the wide variety of CFR resources available for educators; provide feedback that will inform CFR’s work with the academic community; and discuss best practices for bringing international affairs into the classroom.”

Dr. Jeff VanDenBerg

“CFR is one of the premier organizations on foreign policy in the US, with members including diplomats, lawmakers, scholars and activists,” said VanDenBerg. “I look forward to the opportunity to engage with CFR scholars and educators from around the country on key international issues, and bringing these lessons back to the classroom at Drury. Global citizenship is one of the cornerstones of a Drury education, and this experience will enrich my ability to incorporate the most up-to-date approaches and information on international affairs with my students.”

Dr. VanDenBerg teaches courses in international relations, foreign policy, and Middle East politics. He is the coordinator of the Model United Nations Program and the Director of theMiddle East Studies program at Drury. Dr. VanDenBerg’s research interests focus on Arab politics and international relations in the Middle East. In 2012, he was a Fulbright Teaching Fellow at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The cost of attendance to the workshop, travel, meals and lodging is paid for by the Council on Foreign Relations.


Moving across continents and an ocean to attend Drury

It’s over 8,000 miles from Nairobi, Kenya to Springfield but that’s how far Peter Onyango traveled to attend Drury. Now, a permanent resident in the United States, he is set to graduate in December 2012 with a biology degree and then head to medical school.

“I want to help people back in Africa. Help people who don’t have access to healthcare,” said Onyango.

Peter Onyango in Drury's Olin Library. Photo by Jess Heugel.

Why did Onyango move so far to attend college? “In Kenya, there is a long waiting list to get into university. In the United States, you can go straight to college out of high school. There are so many opportunities,” he said.

After visiting his cousin who lived in Springfield, Onyango enrolled in another university but he soon transferred to Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies. He worked during the day and needed to attend classes exclusively at night. “College in the U.S. is so different from Kenya. You can work and go to school because the schedule is so flexible.”

Onyango, 26, is now just months away from a bachelor’s degree that will lead him to his ultimate goal of becoming a doctor, and the support system at Drury has helped him get there. “My instructors have given me advice on what classes to take and how to complete my degree in the shortest amount of time,” Onyango said. “The teacher-to-student ratio has been great, not just in the classroom, but it helps me retain the information, as well.”