Dramatic Stage Production by University of Botswana Will Highlight 2012 Daemen College Academic Festival

Collaborative Partnership Between Daemen, University of Botswana, Links Major Areas of Interest Between Both Institutions 


University of Botswana Students will also Perform at Three Buffalo High Schools

April 3, 2012



Contact:    Mike Andrei

                Director-College Relations

                (716) 839-8472



Information: Daemen Conferences &

                 Events Office

                (716) 839-8253


           Students and faculty from the University of Botswana Department of Visual Arts and Performing Arts will present a dramatic stage production as part of the 2012 Daemen College Academic Festival. The performance, entitled “Gifts From Daddy,” includes a series of vignettes focusing on the AIDS crisis in Africa, an epidemic that has killed millions of people on the continent. The University of Botswana production will take place 7 p.m., April 17, in Wick Center on the Daemen campus, 4380 Main Street in Amherst. It is free and open to the public.  


           The group’s visit to Daemen College and Buffalo, April 16-21, is part of a wide-ranging collaborative partnership between Daemen and the University of Botswana, which includes faculty, student, research, and academic exchanges. The six University of Botswana students, on their first trip to the U.S., will be accompanied by two faculty members.


           The University of Botswana, a public university, was established in 1862 as the first institution of higher education in Botswana. The university has over 15,000 students and four campuses: two in the capital city of Gaborone, one in Francistown, and another in Maun.


           Daemen College has also invited the Buffalo Public Schools to participate in events sponsored by Daemen and the University of Botswana. Students from the University of Botswana will perform for Buffalo Public Schools students at South Park, Lafayette, and Frederick Law Olmsted High Schools. On April 19, three performances will take place at South Park High School: 8:30 a.m.; 10:00 a.m.; and 1:30 p.m. On April 20, additional performances will take place at Lafayette and Frederick Law Olmsted High Schools, at 9:00 a.m., and 12:30 p.m., respectively.


           “The visit to Daemen College by students and faculty from the University of Botswana is highly significant and invaluable to both institutions,” said Daemen President Dr. Edwin Clausen. “Daemen seeks to engage in unique international exchange programs, and performances by members of this group will work to enhance international and cross cultural education.”


           Students and faculty from the University of Botswana will participate in all activities and opportunities on the day of the Daemen College Academic Festival, April 18. On April 19, there will be a special workshop for theater practitioners presented by Dr. David Kerr, of the University of Botswana Department of Visual Arts and Performing Arts, on “The Social Space of Indigenous African Performance and its Transformation for Applied Theater.”  


           The Daemen College Academic Festival centers on student presentations to the community and campus guests, providing a showcase for academic achievement and excellence through student and faculty presentations, exhibitions, and performances. These presentations may reflect work done in a single discipline or be interdisciplinary in nature, and range in form from posters, papers, panel discussions, exhibits, or videos, to artistic, musical, or theatrical performances.   

           Twice the size of Arizona, Botswana is a parliamentary republic of 1.6 million people in southern Africa, bounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Botswana has a strong economic outlook, and is a leader in research into HIV and the AIDS epidemic.


           A recent seminar organized by the University of Botswana Center for the Study of HIV and AIDS noted the devastating effects of the epidemic on countries on the African continent and worldwide. Some of the effects included:


Life Expectancy: In many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS has erased decades of progress made in extending life expectancy.


Households: The effect of the AIDS epidemic on households can be very severe, especially when families lose their income earners. In other cases, people have to provide home based care for sick relatives, reducing their capacity to earn money for their family. Many of those dying from AIDS have surviving partners who are themselves infected and in need of care. They leave behind orphans, who are often cared for by members of the extended family.


Healthcare: In all affected countries, the epidemic is putting strain on the health sector. As the epidemic develops, the demand for care for those living with HIV rises, as does the number of health care workers affected.


Economic Growth and Development: The HIV and AIDS epidemic has already significantly affected Africa's economic development, and in turn, has affected Africa's ability to cope with the epidemic.


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