Salone News

Vanguard Features Editor Bags Prestigious Scholarship

23 April 2007 at 01:59 | 419 views

By Abdulai Bayraytay in Toronto, Canada.

The Features Editor of the Vancouver-based Sierra Leone News Portal, The Patriotic Vanguard, Zubairu Wai (simply called Zuba by his peers) has been awarded the Canadian province of Ontario’s prestigious scholarship, the Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) for the 2007/2008 academic years.

This information was disclosed in a letter dated April 5th, 2007 in which Dr. P. Van Lieshout, the chairman of OGS’ Selection Board congratulated Zuba for having won such a prestigious award.

In congratulating Zuba(photo) on his achievement, a leading Professor of Political Science, Dr. Ananya Mukherjee Reed, who is the supervisor of Zuba’s doctoral dissertation, reportedly stated that she was not surprised that her supervisee won the award given Zuba’s outstanding academic achievements: “It would have been a real surprise for me should you not get this scholarship”, the unassuming scholar was quoted to have said to Zuba.

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship competition is open mostly to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada pursuing studies leading to the award of master’s and doctorate degrees. Out of the two thousand (2,000) scholarships awarded annually, only an infinitesimal sixty (60) were awarded to international students thereby making the competition for the hundreds of international students that apply very difficult. It is for this reason that respective graduate departments at Ontario’s universities usually screen the applications to ensure that only those applicants with an enviable and superior academic standing and with a strong chance of winning are submitted to the OGS committee for consideration.

This is not the first time Zuba has been awarded this kind of meritorious scholarship and award in the course of his academic career. To read for his Master’s degree in International Relations at the International University of Japan (IUJ), Zuba was awarded an IUJ Type A Scholarship, which fully covered both tuition and living expenses for two years (2002-2004).

While pursuing his Master’s degree, Zuba demonstrated why he deserved the scholarship. He was awarded the prestigious Dean’s Certificate of Academic Merit for superior academic achievement. In fact, he was the first student ever in the history of the university, since its foundation in the early 1980s, to earn a Grade of High Distinction for his master’s thesis titled, “The Logic of Indigenous Regionalism in West Africa”. Not surprising, Zuba was unanimously appointed valedictorian by the university’s academic faculty for graduating top of the class of 2004 in the Graduate School of International Relations (GSIR) at the University of Japan.

In the same year, Zuba defied the academic rigors and challenges that come with graduate studies and found time to socialize. In recognition of that, he also covetously bagged the President’s Certification for Distinguished Services to the Graduate Students’ Organization (GSO) for what the president of the university, Professor Ippei Yamazawa referred to as “enhancing student life at the University of Japan”.

In a telephone interview with Zuba this morning on his selection as a recipient of Ontario’s prestigious Graduate Scholarship, the unassuming and modest scholar cum journalist expressed delight that at least there are people out there recognizing his efforts and contribution to academia.

“This is very encouraging and should be a message to young academics, especially those from Africa (specifically Sierra Leone), that they should do all they can for somebody is definitely taking notice”, he said. The young scholar however confirmed his modesty by dedicating his award to two members of his supervising committee, Professors Ananya Mukherjee Reed and Anna M. Agathangelou at the department of Political Science, York University.

“These two have so far given me their tremendous support and encouragement, and as such, I think they deserve this recognition for whatever academic achievement I accomplish”, Zuba concluded.

Zuba is a Sierra Leonean presently in the third year of his doctoral studies in political science at York University in Toronto, Canada. His doctoral thesis is looking at challenging western discourses of the understanding of African conflicts using the Sierra Leone’s civil war as a moment of proposing alternative interpretations.

He graduated from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in History in 1996. He is presently the head of the Graduate Political Science Students’ Association (GPSSA) at York University. He has participated in and presented academic papers at various international conferences. These included a United Nations University for Peace, Expert Forum on “Capacity Building for Peace and Development: Roles of Diaspora;” held in Toronto in 2006, for which he served as one of the Conference Rapporteurs; presented a paper titled: “Elections as a Strategy for Conflict Transformation and Democratisation in Sierra Leone: A Critique of the Liberal Peace Agenda” organized by The Nordic African Institute, held in Accra in May 2006, presented paper titled: “Whither African Development: A Preparatory for An African Alternative Reformulation of the Concept of Development” at the CODESRIA 11th General Assembly on the theme “Rethinking African Development: Beyond Impasse, Towards Alternatives”, held in Maputo, Mozambique in December 2005.

He also presented a paper during the Globalisation Study Network Second International Conference on Globalisation: “Globalisation: Overcoming Exclusion, Strengthening Inclusion,” held in Dakar, Senegal, in August 2005 titled: “Globalisation and Social Reproduction in West Africa: Hierarchies of Inclusion and Exclusion”, among several others. He has also written extensively on various issues in the Patriotic Vanguard.

Editor’s Note: On behalf of the Patriotic Vanguard team, I would like to use this opportunity to formally congratulate Zubairu for his admirable achievement. Keep it up, brother.