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News Report

International Journalism  Exchange Program Reception

St. Louis, Missouri Hosts International Journalism  Exchange Program Reception

From the left is Sinho Ngobese, from South Africa,  Khin Aung  from Burma, Tim Acquah'hayFord from Ghana and Yakubu Abdullah Yakubu from Nigeria -- far right.

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Regina Dennis Reception Hostess

On Sunday, September 19, 1999, St. Louis hosted a reception for journalists from the developing countries visiting the United States on an exchange program. The reception took place at Regina Dennis' resident who is a very familiar person to African countries and culture. Our guests included Yakubu Abdullah Yakubu of Adamawa Press from Nigeria, Tim Acquah'hayFord the chairman of the National Media Commission from Ghana, Sinho Ngobese, editor of Ilanga Newspaper from South Africa and Khin Aung the editor of Dana Business Magazine from Burma.

The International Visitor Program of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis introduced the guests to the St. Louis community. During press interview, the guests expatiated upon the reasons for the visit.   They explained that their respective visits were sponsored by the United States Information Agency (USIA) who conducts the International Visitation Programs bringing people to the U.S. from other countries for cultural exchange every year. This year however, USIA chose to conduct such visitation exchange for journalists. Here, they will be learning more about American culture and way of life, watch their media counterparts in action and learn more about the daily operation of the U.S. media and the ways things are done.

There were twenty four journalists all together, some were dispatched to other U.S. cities and four came to St. Louis, Missouri giving them opportunities to cover as many American cities as possible. While in the U.S. they will be concentrating more on the print media part of American journalism.

The Sunday reception which took place in St. Louis brought out some Africans, African Americans and White Americans and others interested in African culture to chat with our guests and also provided a good opportunity for a get together party. St. Louis' media was represented by Ishmael Ahmad, the President of the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists, Johnson Lancaster, and Victor 'Yinka Vidal.

Regina Dennis who hosted the reception in her house went out of her way to prepare very elaborate African dishes. The table was filled with so many African food items it was easier to forget we were still in the United States. The African food included the leg of lamb cooked in Senegalese way, fish in Abidjan style, greens in South African style and a common African food called "moyin moyin"  from Nigeria. However the party will not be complete without the music which is always a major part of an African party. We were treated to some African music and it became a very entertaining evening.

I cannot complete this report without a reflection of Regina Dennis who was the hostess of the reception. She can be considered an American who later became an African by her travels, studies and knowledge about African culture.

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Regina who was originally trained as a journalist became a development anthropologist with emphasis on rural development in Africa which includes farming, fishing and Nomadic people. She has made many trips to Africa -- lived in Somalia for two years, Cameroon for six years which included the periods she was in the Peace Corps, three years in Cote-d'ivoire -- Ivory Coast. She has also traveled to many places in Africa including Benin, Chad, Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Nairobi -- she speaks French very fluently.

As a development anthropologist, Regina Dennis is a world of wisdom about African culture and tradition. Although I was born in Nigeria, it is the first time in my life I met an African American who is not only very interested in Africa, but more adept in African culture, has taken part in some of the political processes and knows many places in Africa better than I do.  While I was finishing my interview with Regina Dennis, she was getting ready for a short trip back to Africa.

Pictures and Report by 'Yinka Vidal, OUTCRY Magazine, Lara Pub.

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