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Christa Elise Sanders-Bobtoya Promoting global approach to education.

Summary: As the campus director of Webster University Ghana, Christa Elise Sanders- Bobtoya's vision is clear: produce globally conscious leaders who will make a difference, wherever they may end up in the world.

Christa Elise Sand- ers-Bobtoya has worked in inter- national educa- tion for over 20 years and has been at the helm of US university Webster's Ghana campus since its in-ception in 2014. An undergraduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduate degrees from Columbia University in New York, Sanders-Bob- toya travelled with her professor fa- ther to Ethiopia and Ghana in the late 1990s and, after what she describes as a "life-changing immersion experience", knew she would return to the conti- nent one day in a professional capacity. Ironically, her grandmother attended the University of Pennsylvania in the US with Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, and it is the former Gold Coast where Sanders-Bobtoya came in 2004 to spend the next decade as the associate director of New York Univer- sity (NYU) in Accra until joining Web- ster University in 2014.

She has travelled across five conti- nents, spanning 85 countries, gaining a deep understanding of the impor- tance of a global approach to educa- tion in an ever-changing world.

Sanders-Bobtoya believes that Webster offers all students a unique learning environment. Its students in Ghana can learn in a diverse setting and obtain a US-accredited qualifica- tion, while international students can gain a rich, pan-African experience.

The university's successful exchange programme sees students travel all over the world -- then use that experi- ence to enhance their academic lives and future careers. She maintains that exposing students from other conti- nents to Africa will help to change the global perception of Africa as a whole and teach them "all that this diverse continent has to offer", confident that this two-way exchange is crucial in en- riching experiences on both sides.

"We believe in having an interna- tionally-focused curriculum, exposing students to a global faculty and en- couraging cross-cultural skills, ethical reasoning and critical thinking -- all things that will culminate in global leadership in the 21st century. We have a key responsibility to help develop the next generation of global citizens who are progressive leaders, ready to effect change in an ever-complex world," says Sanders-Bobtoya.

She not only promotes a global ap- proach to education, but a modern vi- sion which will prepare students in an age of rapidly-advancing technology. For example, cyber security is being added to the university's programme.

"Part of our model is to send stu- dentstodifferentcampuseswehave across our international network in Europe, Asia, North America and Afri- ca, spanning nine countries," she says, adding: "We want to send students out and encourage global citizenship and individual excellence but also bring them back with new knowledge sets, more cross-cultural competencies and skills to build capacity here in Ghana, the sub-region and across the African continent. Our focus is on building the next generation of thought leaders and individuals who can make a dif- ference, not only in their immediate communities, but their communities globally."

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Publication:New African Woman
Geographic Code:6GHAN
Date:Nov 30, 2018
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