This was the first week of formal classes for the MPH students – and for me as their teacher. I have ten bright students, and while I can’t speak for them, I enjoyed the first week very much. The students are from diverse backgrounds geographically and professionally. Four different countries are represented. Several students have health profession backgrounds in nursing, lab science, or health education and promotion, but two have been educators primarily, another is a former pastor from Mozambique who is now a psychologist, and one majored in political science with a special interest in international health. We are digging into the fascinating history of public health now, and then we will get into the great challenges we face in health today. I will share some of this with you as we go along.
We also had a high-ranking visitor on campus this week to give a special public lecture. The president of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), based in Geneva, gave an hour-long talk on the growing importance and challenges of intellectual property in this Information Age. It is a much broader issue than I had realized, one with which countries around the world are grappling. The Zimbabwe Minister of Justice, the Executive Director of the Africa Regional IPO office, and the Governor of Manicaland Province were in attendance also. It was enough of a high-powered meeting that a TV crew came 150 miles from Harare to cover it. The reason it was held on the Africa University campus is that this is the first university in Africa to offer a Masters in Intellectual Property, and the world organization wanted to recognize this.