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Whitworth professor to discuss challenges in contemporary Africa

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, religious violence in Nigeria andthe indictment of four high — profile Kenyans for post — election violence will be the topic of the second lecture at Whitworth University's 55th annual Great Decisions Lecture Series on March 8.

Whitworth Assistant Professor of Political Science Megan Hershey will be the speaker. She specializes in African studies and won the Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship, as well as the Carlton T. Hodge Prize in African Studies, for her work on Non-governmental organization addressing HIV/AIDS in Kenya. She is proficient in Swahili, completed her field research in Kenya and has spent time in Tanzania and Sierra Leone.

“I'm excited for Megan's first public presentation of her materials at Whitworth,” said Patrick Van Inwegen, Whitworth associate professor of political science and chair of the department. “Since she has lived and studied in Africa, Megan has an excellent perspective on the future of democracy on the continent.”

Hershey joined the Whitworth faculty in 2011. She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University and her bachelor's degree from Ursinus College. Her areas of academic expertise include comparative politics, African politics, international development, politics of HIV/AIDS, NGOs and foreign aid. The Great Decisions Lecture Seriesfeatures five speakers who focus on current political, cultural and economic subjects of interest to the international community.

The public is invited to attend the lectures free of charge. Hershey's lecture, “Democratic Challenges and Change in Contemporary Africa,” will take place at 7:30 p.m.,Thursday, March 8, at in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University.

Great Decisions 2012 is sponsored by the Whitworth Political Science Department. Additional lectures will take place on March 29, April 12 and April 26. For information on upcoming lectures call (509) 777-4937.

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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