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Service to Nation: Dr. Alusine Jalloh

By  | 23 August 2016 at 01:49 | 3519 views

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated.

Today we are launching a new column called Service to Nation in which we will recognize Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad who have been selflessly serving their country without expecting or receiving anything in return. People who have been working to change things for the better in Sierra Leone purely out of love for their country.

The main objective of the series is to serve as encouragement and inspiration for Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad to find ways to help or give back to their country. It’s almost a cliché to say nobody can truly develop or make Sierra Leone a better place except Sierra Leoneans themselves.

We kick off the series with a profile of Dr. Alusine Jalloh (left in photo) an Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas in Arlington, USA.

What we have done and what will be doing for all future profiles is to ask people who have known or worked with the people we select to send us their comments to build up a profile of the person. But before we present what others have said about Dr. Jalloh, here is a brief bio of the man:

Dr. Alusine Jalloh was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone; the son of a Fula father (Alhaji Malal Jalloh) and a Temne mother (Madam Adama Jalloh). He attended the Holy Trinity Infant and Primary School and St. Edward’s primary school on Fort Street, central Freetown in Freetown and later the St. Edward’s secondary school west of the city from where he graduated in 1982. He was a Senior Prefect and was one of the best History students in that school at the time.

After his high school education at the St. Edward’s secondary school Dr. Jalloh proceeded to Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone, a natural destination for graduating high school students living in Freetown. FBC is located at Mount Aureol, in the centre of Freetown.

At Fourah Bay College Jalloh continued his brilliant academic career, graduating in 1986 with a BA Honours degree in Modern History. He was on the Dean’s Honour Roll.

After Fourah Bay College Dr. Alusine Jalloh journeyed to Howard University in the United States of America to study for a Masters degree in History, graduating in 1989. He was President of the History Graduate Students’ Association at Howard University.

Before that Dr. Jalloh was a Peace Corps language and cultural instructor in Sierra Leone (1986). He later received a scholarship from Howard University to pursue graduate studies in History.

He went on to read for and obtained a PhD degree at the same university in 1993. His PhD dissertation was titled: In Search of Profits: "Muslim Fula Merchants in Freetown, 1930-1978." He later became an Associate Professor of History and founding Director of the Africa Program at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).

Dr. Jalloh has a well-established record of community service in Texas and Sierra Leone, where he taught undergraduates at FBC and Master of Business Administration (MBA) students at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), University of Sierra Leone, as well as donated hundreds of thousands of US Dollars worth of teaching and learning materials to educational institutions from primary through higher education over the past two decades.

He has worked as a Fulbright scholar at his alma mater (FBC) where he also donated several consignments of books over the years.

Dr. Jalloh has published extensively, including four books and a monograph titled, African Entrepreneurship: Muslim Fula Merchants in Sierra Leone (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1999). He is currently completing a study, Muslim Fula Business Elites and Politics in Sierra Leone.

Jalloh has, for several years, supervised several Masters and PhD students at UTA and served as a History External Examiner at Howard university

Dr. Alusine Jalloh has received many awards from organizations in Texas and Sierra Leone. In Texas the University of Texas, Arlington has honoured him several times; so did the Sisters of Sierra Leone and the non-governmental organization, Restore Hope Sierra Leone, which Dr. Jalloh co-founded, Indiana University’s African Students Association, he was the founder of the Social Work Department at FBC, the Office of the President of Sierra Leone honoured him with National Service Award for his role in the Presidential Transition Team (2007) and many others.

Now here is what some people in Texas and Sierra Leone have written about Dr. Jalloh :

By Dr. Patrick Alie Koroma,Secretary-General, Association of Sierra Leonean Organisations in Texas (ASLOT).

I met Dr Jalloh in 1998 during the Sierra Leone Independence celebration organized by members of the Sierra Leonean community at UTA. I have worked with him organizing the Sierra Leone Independence day fundraising dance at UTA where money raised was sent to an Orphanage in Freetown. Dr. Jalloh has worked tirelessly to bring the Sierra Leonean community in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex together to work on projects benefiting Sierra Leone. He was able to secure books worth thousands of dollars and with the help of different organizations secure the funds necessary to ship the books to Sierra Leone.

Every summer Dr. Jalloh takes students to African countries on a study abroad program. His office is always open to all Sierra Leoneans. He spearheaded the opening of the Social Work Department at Fourah Bay College.

Currently he is working on a setting up a foundation for the University of Sierra Leone. He worked in securing a venue at UTA and two speakers from the University of Texas at Arlington to speak at the very first Sierra Leonean Community Graduation ceremony organized by the Association of Sierra Leonean Organizations in Texas (ASLOT). Dr Jalloh is always looking for ways to help promote education in Sierra Leone and to help the Sierra Leonean Diaspora.

His love for the fatherland and dedication to service is beyond reproach. Every time you talk to him he overwhelms you with positive ideas on how to bring the community together. I will be doing a disservice to him if I try to enumerate the countless projects that he had involved in over the years to promote and assist the Sierra Leonean diaspora and Sierra Leone. His major focus is in improving the educational sector and he is always trying to recruit talents to go back to Sierra Leone and provide services on a short term basis. People like Dr Jalloh are what Sierra Leone needs to develop and lead us into the future.

By Reuben Ndomahina, Community Leader & President, ASLOT, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A and former President, TEGLOMA, Texas.

A Personal Reflection on Dr Alusine Jalloh

Dr. Alusine Jalloh is an individual of resounding academic acumen, fine character, and compassion. Being an Associate Professor of History and Founding Director of The Africa Program at the University of Texas, Arlington (UT Arlington), Dr. Jalloh has used his good office to accomplish a lot for the Sierra Leonean community in the Diaspora, the people of Sierra Leone, and for himself. His services measurably, have been extremely invaluable to not only the world of academia, but also to the community of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora. As a colleague and friend, I can speak to Dr. Alusine Jalloh’s insight and compassion as community activist. Indeed he is unquestionably a mentor, an asset to the Sierra Leonean community of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolis.

My very first personal encounter with Dr. Alusine Jalloh was in April of 2000, 16 years ago, when he championed the Sierra Leone Independence Day Observance; a collaborative effort by the Sierra Leonean community in Texas and Oklahoma, and The Africa Program at the University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington). This program drew a crowd across both aisles, Sierra Leonean and non-Sierra Leonean alike at the university campus, highlighted educational exhibits on profile of Sierra Leone, works on Sierra Leone by Sierra Leonean authors, paramount chieftaincy in Sierra Leone, major figures in Sierra Leonean history, Sierra Leone and the African Diaspora, and video documentaries on Sierra Leone. This very successful event left a message of patriotism that manifested the compelling need for a collective spirit of sacrifice, love and unity among Sierra Leoneans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, while at the same time, leaving a unique sense of experience in the minds of our non-Sierra Leonean friends.

Dr. Alusine Jalloh has also offered his talents and gifts to a variety of organizational boards and committees within and without the community of Sierra Leoneans in the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolis. Such organizations and committees are not limited to the Sisters of Sierra Leone of North Texas, the committee of Dallas-Fort Worth (D-FW) community of Sierra Leoneans, in organizing interfaith prayers, independence anniversary celebrations, panel discussion, and other notable works and activities. In his inexorable effort to continue making a difference in the lives of the people of Sierra Leone, Dr. Jalloh started an exploratory meeting in March of 2009 conveyed at his UT Arlington office. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a way forward that Sierra Leonean organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis can work amicably to serve their own needs and their communities in Texas.  Moreover, the meeting was a platform for the organizations to discuss about potential opportunities to help develop Sierra Leone in sustainable ways, by focusing on education, healthcare and social issues. Dr Jalloh’s idea was to bring Sierra Leoneans together and work for common goals. He also fostered the idea of Sierra Leoneans in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area to challenge themselves in committed ways, in establishing an umbrella organization that would serve important needs of Sierra Leoneans in Texas, while at the same time, build a workable bridge with non-Sierra Leoneans to help address matters of national interest to the people of Sierra Leone.

As part of our country, Sierra Leone’s golden jubilee celebration in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis in April 2011, Dr Jalloh had worked tirelessly with Sierra Leonean community volunteers and organizations to organize a panel discussion in collaboration with The Africa Program at the University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington).

As community chair of that program, I had a first hand opportunity to work closely with Dr. Jalloh’s uniqueness, commitment, and thoroughness. The theme for the panel discussion: Sierra Leone: Past, Present, and Future,laid the groundwork for an authentic and healthy objective discussion in various areas including history, politics, the economy, education, and healthcare, and with a showcase of Sierra Leone cultural flavor.

As the moderator of the event, Dr Alusine Jalloh created the climate conducive to a gender and ethnic balanced panel that was safe to engage healthily and professionally with the audience on all topics. Out of the 50th Independence Anniversary celebration, fostered a loving and united climate, where Sierra Leoneans in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis would endeavor to address subsequent matters of national interest.

During the Sierra Leone 50th Independence Anniversary celebration in Dallas-Fort Worth also, Dr. Jalloh’s commitment to the people of Sierra Leone was again quite evident. To be a co-pioneer in establishing a new Social Work Department at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone in 2009, was not a be-all and end-all. Instead, Dr. Jalloh continued diligently to raise funds within the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area to help support the new Social Work program at Fourah Bay College. The Dallas-Fort Worth 50th Independence celebration of Sierra Leone captured a moment of his relentlessness and compassion, where proceeds from the event was channeled to the Department of Social Work at Fourah Bay College, and a Sierra Leone based orphanage.

In December 2013, as the ebola virus started to ravage its way across the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Dr. Alusine Jalloh again became one of the key players within the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area to facilitate fundraising drives. Out of this collaborative effort and many others by other groups and organizations, Sierra Leoneans and non-Sierra Leonean friends and organizations were able to deliver container shipments of medical supplies, protective gear, water purification and equipment, and meals for the vulnerable population in Sierra Leone in the fight against the deadly ebola disease. As one of the guest speakers at an ebola fundraising conference sponsored by Sankofa Infrastural, a Dallas-Fort Worth based Sierra Leonean organization, Dr. Jalloh’s resilience for a united Sierra Leonean umbrella organization in the Dallas-Fort Worth did not come by surprise. He re-echoed the need for Sierra Leoneans to continue in the right path to work together with a clear sense and conscience of collective and common purpose agenda in addressing, especially unprecedented issues of national interest.

Dr. Alusine Jalloh continues to be a vital partner in reaching out and empowering academia and professionalism among Sierra Leoneans. Most recently in June of this year, his Department, The Africa Program at the University of Texas, Arlington (UT Arlington), in collaboration with the Association of Sierra Leonean organizations in Texas (ASLOT) hosted the first Dallas-Fort Worth (D-FW) metropolitan area Sierra Leonean community graduation event at the university campus. ASLOT is a non-political, non-tribal, non-religious, and non-regional organization with the primary focus of bringing Sierra Leoneans and organizations together, to work in love and unity, so that they can leverage their individual resources to support meaningful projects that would benefit the Sierra Leonean community in the Dallas Fort Worth (D-FW) area and the people of Sierra Leone. The graduation event was just another highlight of that model, for Sierra Leoneans in the spirit of love and oneness of purpose to recognize and celebrate the hard work and outstanding accomplishment of their high school and college graduates. This very successful occasion, which set the stage for future Sierra Leonean community graduation celebrations in the Dallas-Fort Worth, was also graced with very effective and powerful messages and learning experiences from speakers from varying disciplines including education and career development, healthcare, and the diverse need for networking and connection to country of origin.

Today, when there are still needed role models who value education, commitment to hard work, and collective effort, it is a remarkable joy to have a fellow Sierra Leonean in the Diaspora who is willing to work as intense as Dr. Alusine Jalloh. He demonstrates his enriched creative academic ability to enable potential leaders to think, develop and utilize their reasonable abilities to serve. “Dr. Alusine Jalloh, we were lucky to have you in our community.” “Thank you.”

By Florence Coker-Campbell, President of St. Joseph’s Secondary School Old Girls Association, Texas and former President Sisters of Sierra Leone, Texas.

How does one celebrate an erudite and selfless humanitarian who is not for accolades?

I have had the pleasure of interacting with Dr. Alusine Jalloh in myriad capacities and one thing that remained constant is his passion for the development and advancement of the next generation through sustainable academic disciplines. This is evident in his dedication and commitment to bridge the chasm created by global socio-political challenges and his Africa Program is the perfect vehicle that drives innovation among those who might not have the opportunity to explore their talents. This program organizes annual engaging symposiums at the University of Texas, Arlington.

Dr. Jalloh never hesitates to respond to the call for service with any organization that works concertedly for the development of the under privileged in the continent of Africa, especially his home country, Sierra Leone. When he was approached by the Sisters of Sierra Leone, North Texas to serve as a Board Member, his prompt response and continued support remain invaluable gifts to the organization.

His mild mannered demeanor is an endearing quality, which can be interpreted in countless ways; as such, it was illuminating to see his tenacity when he called on Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone to promote a counter narrative to the EBOLA stigmatization of Sierra Leonean children who were being ostracized by their classmates. This is one of many notable examples that highlight his commitment to positively showcase Africans.

Incidentally, it was the EBOLA crisis that served as the impetus for Dr. Jalloh to lead the charge in organizing all Sierra Leonean groups in Texas to work under a unified umbrella group, the Association of Sierra Leoneans Of Texas (ASLOT)

He is well-published and through his extensive travels, he has engaged dignitaries and luminaries on the continent of Africa – suffice to say, empowerment through education is the main topic of discussion.

Dr. Jalloh is worthy of all recognition of his ongoing progressive and positive contributions to Sierra Leone, her people and the continent of Africa. It would be almost redundant to enumerate all of his accomplishments but one would be remiss, if we do not take time out to extend appreciation to one who embodies and exhibits the spirit of humanity.

By Honourable Patrick Jackson, Honorary Consul of Sierra Leone, Dallas, Texas.

I first met Dr. Alusine Jalloh about 15 years at a church service in Dallas. He is a good man, with a love for his country and his people..

One thing I absolutely remember about him is his selfless and energetic efforts to bring together Sierra Leoneans in the Dallas-Forth Worth area and his constant contributions to progressive developments back home. We really need people like him in and out of Sierra Leone.

By Miriam Conteh-Morgan, Chief Librarian, Institute of Public Management and Administration (IPAM), Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Kudos for doing this human interest story. Agreed, the notice is short but that’s moot. I can’t write anything really substantial as I don’t know Alusine that well. We met from time to time on the African Studies conference circuit and I have liaised with him on his donation to IPAM.

But I know he has a genuine desire to raise the standards in research, teaching and learning in Sierra Leone which is what informs his book donations. His most recent to us includes Statistics materials that brought much glee to the lecturers.

By Chernor Jalloh, Founding Member, Fullah Progressive Union, Texas.

Dr. Alusine Jalloh is a mentor and adviser to many people here in Texas; Sierra Leoneans and non-Sierra Leoneans alike. His door is always open and he always has time for everybody.

He is very much interested in issues affecting the various African communities here and he has been very helpful to the Fullah Progressive Union; in fact he helped us a lot to establish it.

By Cindy Wiles, Executive Director GCPN Global Connection Partnership Network/Restore Hope Network

Dr. Alusine Jalloh: A Man with a Heart for His Nation

It’s interesting that God seems to bring together people of like heart. I met Dr. Alusine Jalloh on an elevator in an office building where my new office would be located upon my arrival in Arlington, Texas in August 2001. I had been working in West Africa for four years and I immediately recognized Dr. Jalloh as a West African Fula. I introduced myself as an advocate for West Africa and he introduced himself as the Director of the Africa Program for the University of Texas at Arlington – the second largest university in the UT System. Our offices were “coincidentally” on the same floor and we became friends immediately.

Dr. Jalloh’s home nation of Sierra Leone was nearing the end of a terrible 11-year war – and as soon as the doors of the nation opened for collaborative partners to join in the recovery process, Dr. Jalloh began visiting with me and my husband, Dr. Dennis Wiles, about the role we could play in catalyzing the faith community and organizational partners in Sierra Leone. Dr. Jalloh had already begun providing opportunities for business students and faculty at the university to visit West Africa in order to inspire them toward business investment in Sierra Leone and beyond.

His persistence and passion for his home country moved us toward action. I am the director of a network of 140 churches and my husband is the pastor of a large church in Arlington. In 2008, Dr. Jalloh led a scout team to research the ways U.S. Christian organizations could be engaged in the continued recovery process in Sierra Leone. He arranged meetings for our team with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Fourah Bay College and with numerous church and civic leaders in Sierra Leone. Together we identified eight strategies to address needs voiced by Sierra Leonean leaders. With his assistance we established an INGO in Sierra Leone in 2009 to implement those strategies.

One of the major gaps in university education was in the area of social sciences. Working with faculty and administration at University of Texas at Arlington, Dr. Jalloh facilitated the development of the School of Social Work at Fourah Bay College. That school has produced its first class of graduates to address the social work needs of the nation.

In addition to the School of Social Work, Dr. Jalloh has been instrumental in helping to develop collaborative partners to address needs in orphan care, dentistry, youth at risk ministries and education. Through Project Restore Hope, we have established three interim care homes for orphans, provided sponsorship to more than 300 orphans, established a dental clinic and community center in Jui, built schools, implemented skills training programs, provided scholarships, mobilized medical care into under-served communities, engaged in agricultural development projects, provided water resourcing to communities and built capacity into the lives of thousands of people He has worked tirelessly in the US to develop a network of partners to address Sierra Leonean issues and considered a wise counselor and consultant to organizations working in the Sierra Leonean context. Because of his networking capacity, more than 25 organizations came together to provide relief during the Ebola crisis.

Dr. Jalloh is committed to collaborative efforts that bring lasting change. He has inspired many to make a difference.